Opioid Abuse Reduction Initiative

Innovation is our specialty. When the community and country at large are in the throes of an opioid epidemic, we created a solution: The Medicaid Accelerated eXchange (MAX) Series Program. This solution brings results.

Addiction is a disease. We have reduced the need for opioids and pain medications with new ideas and strategies. Through the MAX Series Program, we developed and implemented a new Emergency Department program that focuses on managing chronic pain, specifically for a group of patients identified as Super Utilizers. Our goal is to reduce their need for pain medications and reduce avoidable hospital admissions and ED visits.

Our focus is on narrowing the wide variation in treatment for patients with chronic pain and to establish practice patterns with a consistent message that emphasizes alternative treatment options and resources to manage chronic pain. When someone with chronic pain visits the Emergency Department, care management services provide a warm hand-off to a Care Navigator at the Family Health Center of Ellenville, a Federally Qualified Health Center on our campus. The Care Navigator effectively links these chronic pain patients to a primary care provider or a pain management specialist, as well as to ancillary services to address underlying substance abuse/mental health issues and quality of life issues.

The MAX Series Program brings solutions, and these solutions bring impactful results. As a result of the Opioid Abuse Reduction Initiative, there was a dramatic reduction in ED visits (-48.7%) by the cohort of Super Utilizers as well as a significant decrease in the administration of opioids (-73.8%) to these patients in the ED over the course of a year. This initiative has received both statewide and national recognition!

We followed 64 patients (Super Utilizers) and tracked their results. One of our great success stories involves a 68-year-old female. She presented to the Emergency Department with complaints of chronic pain. Her chronic pain was frequently treated with opioids. This patient lacked family support and transportation. So it was convenient and comforting for her to use our Emergency Department. During the 6 months prior to the program start, she had 37 ED visits. The Care Navigator engaged her on 3/16/16. She was also engaged by a care team who identified mental health, housing, transportation and food service needs. The care team then facilitated Health Home enrollment and connected this patient with mental and primary care, transportation, respite stay, and local food pantry services. Her Emergency Department visits dropped to 7 visits in the 6 months of post-intervention and 4 of those visits were medically justified.

The Opioid Abuse Reduction Initiative is just one example of an innovative program created and developed by our leadership team. Won’t you join us in supporting our creative solutions focused on changing the face of healthcare?