More than 30% of Medicare beneficiaries and 40% of patients dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid use opioids. With an estimated 8%-12% of patients developing an opioid use disorder (OUD) after initiating opioids, opioid misuse is a significant public health challenge, especially among high-risk Medicare populations. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications for the treatment of OUD and to prevent relapse to opioid use. MAT is the most effective treatment for OUD. There are a variety of barriers to MAT therapy that may delay access to treatment.
Orthopedic surgery can be performed in hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), as well as in traditional inpatient venues. Patients who undergo orthopedic surgery may be prescribed opioids for the management of postsurgical pain. However, the association between surgery venue, postsurgical opioid use, and health care costs remains unclear.
Where We Stand: Managed care pharmacists have a responsibility to work with patients and other health care professionals to ensure the appropriate use of opioids and to ensure that prescriptions are dispensed and utilized for legitimate medical needs.
Obesity has become a major public health crisis in the United States. Research to date has consistently demonstrated a correlation between obesity and higher medical costs for a variety of U.S. subpopulations and specific categories of care. However, by examining associations rather than causal effects, previous studies likely underestimated the effect of obesity on medical expenditures.