Highmark Expands Opioid Treatments

Highmark https://www.highmark.com has announced that their ACA and MA members in Pennsylvania and Delaware now have access to a comprehensive technology-enabled “Opioid Use Disorder” (OUD) program. The program first rolled out to Highmark’s West Virginia members in January of 2020, and now provides access to treatment and promote recovery during COVID-19 pandemic but will be available in the future.

“In the communities that we serve and across the country, patients face extremely limited access to OUD treatment and Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) therapy. The COVID-19 crisis has created even more treatment access challenges, while also fueling feelings of isolation and despair. By expanding this program, we’re harnessing technology to support our members on their path to recovery”, reports Dr. Caesar DeLeo, Vice President and Executive Medical Director for Strategic Initiatives for Highmark.

The OUD treatment program is offered with Bright Heart Health https://brighthearthealth.com, an organization offering nationally recognized tele-addiction services. More than 90 percent of the patients test negative for opioids within 90 days after beginning treatment and more than 85 percent are negative for other stimulants and sedatives. Health related costs are reduced by $20,000 annually when opioid dependent patients are on MAT.

Highmark members can access services and meet on demand with medical staff and counselors through a smart phone, tablet, or computer. Members may access Bright Heart Health services via self-referral or through a warm hand-off, which is a process for transitioning a patient with a SUD from an intercept point like an emergency department to a treatment provider once the patient is stable.

Following an initial intake and assessment process, members are connected to a multidisciplinary care team that includes a physician, therapist, case manager, care manager, and a wellness coach. The program offers individualized treatment plans and MAT allows individuals to stop abusing opioids without experiencing powerful drug cravings or severe withdrawal symptoms.

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