By Tyler Patchen
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is partnering with axialHealthcare, a national health care company that specializes in pain management and pain management solutions in an effort to collaborate with Alabama physicians and curb the current opioid epidemic.
“The health and safety of our members is our top priority, and opioid misuse has been pervasive in the state of Alabama,” said Dr. Anne Schmidt, medical director for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. “By working in conjunction with our physicians and axialHealthcare, Blue Cross intends to reduce opioid misuse by giving our physicians resources and tools that encourage appropriate prescribing protocols.”
The new pain management quality improvement program aims to support Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama providers by giving more of a comprehensive view of a patient’s medical history, providing ongoing consultation with axial’s term of licensed pharmacists, increasing awareness of prescribing behaviors as well as providing the latest evidence-based guidelines and sharing resources and educational tools to support prescribing protocols.
“We are pleased to partner with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and begin offering our unique pain care capabilities to support physicians and patients while reducing opioid misuse. Blue Cross and axialHealthcare are committed to providing safe and effective pain care for patients throughout Alabama,” said axial Chairman and CEO John J. Donahue.
Alabama has ranked first in the nation in the number of opioid prescriptions per capita. The recent Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s Health of America Report on the opioid epidemic showed that over 26 percent of its commercial members in Alabama filed at least one opioid prescription in 2015 and 16 per 1,000 members were diagnosed with opioid use disorder in 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that between 2000 and 2015, more than half a million people across the U.S. died from drug overdoses.