Cigna launches anti-opioid prescribing initiative

Dive Brief:

  • Cigna is asking providers to partner in a pledge to reduce opioid prescribing by 25% in three years.

  • The initiative shares the same goals as government programs, such as the U.S. Surgeon General's Turn the Tide initiative, aimed at reducing opioid dependence.

  • Opioid diagnoses increased 3,203% from 2007 to 2014, health insurance claims data recently revealed.

Dive Insight:

Cigna is calling on providers to sign a pledge to reduce opioid use while improving pain management and substance use treatment when appropriate. The 160 medical groups in Cigna Collaborative Care organizations will also be asked to take specific action.

As part of the effort to reduce opioid prescribing, Cigna will use claims data and analytics to identify and alert providers who aren’t prescribing opioids in a manner consistent with CDC guidelines.

Cigna is not the first private organization to launch such an initiative, following the government’s lead in taking steps to decrease opioid prescribing. athenahealth is using its recently launched daily news hub to draw on data from more than 80,000 healthcare providers​ and 81 million de-identified patients and report on opioid prescribing trends. New information from the Surgeon General's first report on substance use could help shape these strategies as it shows addiction should it be treated as a chronic neurological disorder.

Opioid abuse has become a huge problem in the U.S. Prescription opioid sales have increased 300% since 1999 and providers wrote 259 million opioid prescriptions in 2012, enough for every American adult to have a bottle.

Filed Under: Payer Practice Management
Top image credit: Cigna