Opioid Risk Prevention Partnership Formed

COLUMBIA, S.C.—BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, South Carolina Hospital Association and South Carolina Medical Association have joined to form the Opioid Risk Prevention Partnership (ORPP), which is designed to advance the conversation among and between hospitals, physicians and other providers, patients and the general public around the issues of pain and the appropriate use of alternatives to opioids in pain management.
This 18-month initiative supports and augments Gov. Henry McMaster’s convening of the Opioid Emergency Response Team (OERT) in December to address the burgeoning opioid epidemic in South Carolina. The partnership will focus initially on changing the conversation around pain management and is working toward the goal of reducing the number of opioid prescriptions written annually by South Carolina physicians and other clinicians.
According to Matthew Bartels, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer of BlueCross, the partnership came together because of a desire among the three organizations to collaborate on efforts to support physicians and other medical staff in their conversations with patients, raise awareness and create a common language and contribute to public discussion around pain and pain management.
He said, “Our organizations share a common endpoint: This is an issue that touches the entire community, and in many cases, affected patients are our members.
“BlueCross believes that as leaders in the health care community, our respective organizations each have an important role to play in communicating forthrightly about the appropriate use of opioids, the very real risk they pose with prolonged use and the alternatives available for pain management.
“Now, working in partnership, we have the opportunity to align and amplify our messaging. Moreover, we are pleased to join with the work of OERT and ensure that our collective messages to the public are consistent and helpful.”
Thornton Kirby, SCHA president and chief executive officer, said, “We are proud to partner with the provider and physician community to educate South Carolinians on the dangers of opioids and connect them to alternative pain treatments. This alignment of the state’s health care community with the Governor’s Opioid Emergency Response Team signifies the collaborative efforts underway in South Carolina to improve public health and battle the opioid crisis that is negatively impacting our patients and communities.”
According to South Carolina Medical Association President March E. Seabrook, M.D., this collective effort highlights the value of physician education and its important role in the conversation about pain management.
He said “As the leader of the health care delivery team, physicians play a critical role in the effort to decrease opioid misuse. The South Carolina Medical Association has educated over 12,000 physicians and other health care professionals on the approved procedures for prescribing and monitoring controlled substances. Through this new partnership we will continue to expand our efforts to address this major public health crisis.”
ORPP will work closely with JBS International (JBS) to support the initiative. JBS is a company with more than 30-years of experience working with federal agencies, states and local communities as well as medical professionals and their organizations to address substance use, and specifically, the opioid crisis. JBS works in collaboration with organizations to focus on emerging trends in training medical providers, health systems reform, public health data exchanges, public health, behavioral health, social science research and information technology services.

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