axialHealthcare today announced a new recovery program with Highmark Inc. to offer care navigation and peer support services for members seeking treatment for substance use in Pennsylvania. This is a new addition to Highmark’s efforts to address substance use disorders and the opioid epidemic in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. and PITTSBURGH, Pa. axialHealthcare today announced a new recovery program with Highmark Inc. to offer care navigation and peer support services for members seeking treatment for substance use in Pennsylvania. This is a new addition to Highmark’s efforts to address substance use disorders and the opioid epidemic in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This has been an extremely difficult year for individuals and families at all stages of recovery,” said Dr. Caesar DeLeo, vice president and executive medical director of strategic initiatives for Highmark. “COVID-19 has increased social isolation, stress and economic problems, while presenting additional hurdles in staying connected to or accessing treatment. Telemedicine expansion has been a great innovation and now we are adding to that peer support counselors through an expanded partnership with axialHealthcare. Our members can now be guided by individuals with lived experience in the recovery space, have a simplified care navigation experience, and access resources to remove non-clinical barriers to care.”
The recovery program deploys personalized services, using Pennsylvania-based clinicians and peer support from individuals in recovery to help members find and stay in treatment. Providing each member in need with a dedicated team, the program works with treatment providers to help coordinate care during critical transitions, connects members to social resources, and ultimately provides the dedicated, long-term support essential to sustained recovery.
“axialHealthcare is excited to expand our partnership with Highmark to help members and their families navigate a highly complex addiction treatment system,” said Dr. Dirk Wales, chief medical officer at axialHealthcare. “Our goal is to ensure members not only receive quality, coordinated care, but are also connected with any additional resources needed to stay in treatment and achieve recovery. We look forward to partnering with the treatment and recovery community to support safe, effective care for those most in need.”
The recovery program is an expansion of a multiyear partnership focused on ensuring evidence-based care for members in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Since 2018, Highmark and axialHealthcare have tackled patient safety concerns related to substance use, spanning from decreased opioid overprescribing and polydrug use to increased naloxone prescribing and screening for SUD. These efforts have helped mitigate safety concerns, including decreasing the number of patients receiving opioids from multiple providers by 15.0%, reducing risky co-prescribing of benzodiazepines and opioids by 15.1% and increasing naloxone prescribing by 100% in two years.
Highmark strives to combat opioid addiction with a comprehensive approach that focuses on primary prevention, safe prescribing, high-quality treatment, community supports and combating stigma. Through these efforts, Highmark has reduced by 22.7% the number of commercial risk, Medicare Advantage and Affordable Care Act members in Pennsylvania who are prescribed opioids, while reducing opioid-related overdoses to a rate that is approximately half of the national average. Highmark has also provided more than $3 million to community organizations and programs fighting the opioid epidemic in its core markets of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware.
The recovery program is launching this month alongside select treatment providers in Pennsylvania. The program applies to Highmark’s commercial risk, Medicare Advantage and Affordable Care Act members who are being discharged from select inpatient treatment facilities in the commonwealth. For more information, contact axialHealthcare at accessrecoveryPA@axialHealthcare.com.
axialHealthcare connects patients, providers, and health plans with an end-to-end platform that covers the entire substance use spectrum. Leveraging services grounded in analytics, our risk to recovery platform identifies patients at risk, prevents escalation in their condition, and supports appropriate treatment enrollment and adherence. This high-tech, high-touch approach delivers measurable clinical and financial outcomes by effectively managing cost of care while supporting sustained recovery for patients with substance use disorder.
About Highmark Inc.
One of America’s leading health insurance organizations and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Highmark Inc. (the Health Plan) and its affiliated health plans (collectively, the Health Plans) work passionately to deliver high-quality, accessible, understandable, and affordable experiences, outcomes, and solutions to customers. As the fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates proudly cover the insurance needs of more than 5.6 million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance and other related businesses. For more information, visit http://www.highmark.com.