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Seven strategies that could help curb opioid addiction among Medicaid beneficiaries

by Susan Levine, specialist leader, strategy and operations at Deloitte Consulting LLP

Opioid addiction has deep roots in the United States. During the Civil War, the Union Army issued nearly 10 million opium pills and nearly 3 million ounces of opium powder.1 Injured soldiers who were given opium for the pain sometimes returned home as addicts. The current opioid epidemic has similar origins—liberal opioid prescribing for pain has led to an epidemic of addiction.

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The good, the bad, and the ugly of opioids: For large employers, the epidemic can stretch far beyond medical claims

by George Van Antwerp, Managing Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP

First the good news. While we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, large employers have seen prescription rates fall significantly since peaking in 2009. That year, 17.3 percent of covered employees or dependents had at least one opioid prescription. People who work for large employers are now using fewer prescription opioids.1 This is likely due to an increased focus—among health plans and clinicians—on limiting opioid prescriptions among patients who might be at risk for opioid dependence.

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Blockchain could help improve physician directories, but trust among health plans likely must come first

by Bobby Vaitla, Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP

The health care industry spends an estimated $2.1 billion a year to maintain physician data.1 Despite this substantial annual investment, physician directories are often inaccurate.

Some health plans are exploring blockchain as a possible technology that could solve this problem. While I agree that blockchain holds tremendous potential to improve the accuracy of directory data,

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Do health-management programs work? Health plan execs might have no idea

by David Veroff, Specialist Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Health plans have been investing in care management, wellness, and population health programs for decades. While the size and scope of health-management programs vary by company, many face the same challenge: The ability to accurately determine a return on investment (ROI).

The definition of health management is broad. It can include everything that helps a member effectively manage a chronic condition.

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Want to build healthier communities? Start with evidence and data

by Andreea Balan-Cohen, Senior Manager, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, Deloitte Services LP, Deloitte Services LP

Data and evidence were front and center at Academy Health’s recent National Health Policy Conference (NHPC). The event included a wide range of perspectives from the 700 attendees. Despite the diversity in the audience of health policymakers, legislators, practitioners, and academics, a common theme was that data and evidence should inform policy debates and decisions.

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