Columbia Star

South Carolina Health Care community leaders partner to address opioid crisis

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, “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.

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.

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 t raining medical providers, health systems reform, public health data exchanges, public health, behavioral health, social science research, and information technology services.

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