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axialHealthcare Announces New Initiative to Help Solve Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

Leveraging intelligence from its network of more than 100 million patient lives, axialHealthcare has created a new initiative in response to the public health crisis and need for earlier intervention for women at risk of delivering babies addicted to opioids

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- axialHealthcare, a national leader in pain management and medication solutions, today at HLTH announced the launch of a new initiative aimed at solving one of the nation’s most devastating and costly public health crises — babies born suffering from opioid withdrawal, a condition called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

The rate of U.S. infants diagnosed with opioid withdrawal symptoms increased 433 percent from 2004 to 2014, according to a study in the American Academy of Pediatrics, and states across the nation are seeking innovative solutions for this issue that is straining communities financially and emotionally. The same research shows that hospital stays for Medicaid-covered infants without NAS average around $3,700, but hospital stays for infants born with NAS range from $19,340, when adjusted for hospital inflation, to as high as $66,700. These costs fall to the state Medicaid programs, which cover an estimated 82% of NAS births.

“The launch of this NAS enhancement further demonstrates our commitment to developing innovative and timely solutions that improve clinical outcomes for those impacted by the opioid crisis,” said John J. Donahue, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at axialHealthcare. “By leveraging predictive analytics and machine learning, this enhancement is unique in that it focuses on early identification and intervention. Current market solutions focus on the care coordination a newborn needs once suffering from NAS, but our goal is to prevent NAS from occurring in the first place.”

Built on the company’s extensive repository of claims data and peer-reviewed evidence, axialHealthcare’s technology can now identify women who are pregnant or of childbearing age and using opioids, and allows physicians to intervene with focused speed, accuracy and treatment. Specifically, the company’s advanced analytical models for early identification of at-risk patients optimizes a physician’s window for intervention and improves outcomes for the smallest victims of the opioids crisis, infants born with NAS. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is the first to embrace the NAS technology.

“Alabama providers wrote 5.8 million prescriptions for opioids in 2015, ranking us as the highest prescribing state in the nation. Adding to the devastation of this epidemic is the distinct rise in NAS cases, with a baby born suffering from NAS every 15 minutes,” said Dr. Anne Schmidt, Medical Director for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. “We’ve seen the direct impact of NAS within our state and are excited to be the first to implement axialHealthcare’s NAS enhancement to further demonstrate our dedication to member safety and efforts that focus on abating opioid misuse.”

The NAS offering is integrated into the company’s existing operating platform, axialINSIGHT, which directs the company’s suite of products: axialPRACTICE, axialPATIENT and axialNETWORK.

  • Targeted to practitioners, axialPRACTICE offers support tools and personalized treatment plans, as well as clinical consultation for pain and opioid care with the company’s clinical care team, Clinical Consult Services (CCS), which is comprised of licensed pharmacists, engagement specialists and behavioral health coaches. In addition to new evidence-based care pathways that address chronic pain, opioid use, and opioid use disorder in pregnancy, the NAS enhancement includes real-time patient alerts for providers to ensure they’re informed about their patients identified as at-risk for NAS births.
  • axialPATIENT extends a provider’s reach by supporting and engaging high-risk pain and opioid use disorder (OUD) patients through a chat functionality with CCS and educational articles via Empower, the company’s mobile app. With the enhancement, providers can now invite patients with NAS risk to download the app directly, similar to the targeted intervention developed for at-risk pain and OUD patients. The app also includes new articles addressing chronic pain, opioid use, and opioid use disorder during pregnancy.
  • In addition to identifying the highest quality and appropriate cost pain and opioid care facilities for provider referral support when patient care requires escalation, the axialNETWORK solution also provides detailed network assessments for health plan partners. With the NAS enhancement, axialNETWORK will identify and assess providers offering high quality care coordination between OB-GYN, behavioral health, and medication-assisted treatment providers to serve as a referral network for patients identified as at-risk for NAS births.

“As a practicing physician, I’ve witnessed the positive impact that early identification can have on a provider’s treatment decisions and ultimately the clinical outcomes for their patients,” said Jason Yong, Medical Director of the Pain Management Center at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital and Chair of axialHealthcare’s Scientific Advisory Board. “Having been highly involved in the development of this enhancement, I’m confident in the product’s solid clinical foundation and look forward to successful interventions on behalf of the company’s health plan clients and their members.”

About axialHealthcare
axialHealthcare is the leading healthcare technology and care solutions company focused on pain medication and pain care solutions, and partners with health insurers and states nationwide. axialHealthcare’s pain management solutions engage providers, clinics, and patients with coordinated care by applying advanced analytical insight, proven clinical evidence and highly effective consumer support. axialHealthcare’s solutions optimize pain care outcomes, reduce opioid misuse and materially improve financial performance for health benefit providers. For more information, visit

Lori Kelly

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