Anthem flags members with high risk of opioid abuse

In effort to reduce the risk of opioid addiction and abuse of other prescription drugs, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has launched a program where high-risk members select a "home pharmacy" to fill all their medications to cut down on the prevalence of members using multiple prescribers or pharmacies to get their medication.

The Pharmacy Home Program, launched April 1, is centered on a "small but extremely high-risk segment of members," according to Anthem. Such members include those who, within 90 days, have filled five or more controlled substance prescriptions, or 20 or more prescriptions of non-controlled substances, visited at least three healthcare providers for controlled substance prescriptions or at least 10 providers for non-controlled substance prescriptions, and filled controlled substance at three or more pharmacies an non-controlled substances at 10 or more pharmacies.

Anthem will notify the prescribers of members deemed high-risk of the members' enrollment in the program, along with a three-month prescription history and tools to educate the members on the advantages of choosing a single pharmacy.

If the member's prescription filling activity doesn't change within 60 days of the prescriber being notified, the member will be requested to select a single pharmacy location to fill all medications.

"Health insurers are uniquely positioned to help improve prescription drug safety and healthcare quality as we have real-time access to information on medication use to determine if members are using multiple prescribers or several pharmacies to obtain their medications, which often correlates with addictive behavior," said Mike Ramseier, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Colorado, in a statement. "Because many medical information systems are not integrated, prescribers may not be aware that a member has overdosed or that a member is getting several prescriptions for the same drug or many, many other drugs from multiple doctors."

More articles on opioids:

Med schools redesign training to fight opioid abuse 
Alabama physician indicted for prescribing 'massive amounts' of opioids 
Study says give patients overdose antidote with opioid painkillers 

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