Novus Medical Detox Acclaims 5-Day Opioid Limit Set by Independence Blue Cross

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With drug overdoses claiming more than 900 lives in Philadelphia last year, the region’s largest health insurer has imposed new limits on prescription opioids. Novus Medical Detox Center calls for insurance firms nationwide to do the same.

Philadelphia medical examiners recorded 907 drug overdose deaths in 2016, and opioids were present in more than 80% of those cases.(1) In an effort to prevent opioid use disorders and diversion, Independence Blue Cross—the largest health insurer in southeast Pennsylvania—has implemented a five-day limit on new opioid prescriptions.(2) Novus Medical Detox, a leading Florida-based drug treatment facility, applauds Independence’s latest initiative and ongoing efforts, and encourages other health insurance companies to enact similar measures.

Drug overdose deaths claimed the lives of 4,642 Pennsylvanians in 2016—a 37% increase over the previous year—with Philadelphia alone accounting for nearly 20% of those deaths.(3) Furthermore, 2016 marked the second consecutive year that Philadelphia hospitals experienced more than 6,400 emergency department visits for overdose-related complaints.(1) To address these issues, Independence has consistently promoted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prescribing guidelines. After sending more than 1,250 of its network doctors a list of patients who were prescribed more than the CDC-recommended dosages of opioids, the insurer reports that nearly 60% of those physicians halted their inappropriate prescribing.(2)

“Reversing America’s opioid epidemic will require the concerted efforts of federal and state officials, prescribers, dispensaries and insurers,” asserted Bryn Wesch, CFO of Novus Medical Detox Center. “Independence Blue Cross has taken that responsibility to heart, and we commend the company for actively working to educate physicians, protect patients and adhere to CDC recommendations. I believe these efforts will improve regional health outcomes; and if other insurers follow suit, the U.S. may finally see a decrease in opioid-related deaths and hospitalizations.”

Wesch notes that Independence has already achieved positive results. In 2015, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation awarded grants to 44 non-profit community health centers in southeast Pennsylvania; and last summer, the Foundation launched its Supporting Treatment and Overdose Prevention (STOP) initiative to aid those struggling to overcome opioid use disorders.(4) Since 2014, the insurer has reduced inappropriate opioid use among its members by nearly 30%.(2)

“Independence has set the bar for other health insurance companies and created an effective blueprint for them to follow,” said Wesch. “The five-day prescription opioid limit should help minimize diversion to unintended users and reduce the risk of patients developing opioid use disorders, while the STOP initiative ensures those currently battling substance use disorders can obtain the necessary treatment.”

Wesch advocates for medically supervised treatment plans that are individually customized for each patient, including detox programs that help them manage the challenges and discomfort of opioid withdrawal. She maintains that with proper care and ongoing support, such as drug rehab and/or outpatient counseling, patients can progress from detox to successful long-term recovery.

For more information on Novus Medical Detox Center and its medically supervised opioid treatment programs, visit https://novusdetox.com.

About Novus Medical Detox Center:
Novus Medical Detox Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation as an inpatient medical detox facility. Licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Novus provides safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs that are based on proven medical protocols and designed to minimize the discomfort of withdrawal. The facility is located on 3.25 acres in New Port Richey, Florida, in a tranquil, spa-like setting bordering protected conservation land. Intent on proving that detox doesn’t have to be painful or degrading, Novus set out to transform the industry by bringing humanity into medical detox with individually customized treatment programs and 24/7 access to nursing care and withdrawal specialists. Today, Novus is renowned as a champion of industry standardization and a staunch advocate of patients fighting to overcome substance use disorders. Frequently recognized for its contributions to the industry and local community, Novus has become a regular source to media publications such as The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and has ranked in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Fast 50, the Florida Business Journal’s Top 500 and the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies. For more information on Novus’ medically supervised detox programs visit https://novusdetox.com.

1.    Philadephia Department of Public Health. “2016 Overdoses From Opioids in Philadelphia”; CHART; April 2017. phila.gov/health/pdfs/chart%20v2e7.pdf

2.    Independence Blue Cross. “Independence Limits New Opioid Prescriptions to Five Days”; news brief published June 27, 2017. news.ibx.com/independence-limits-new-opioid-prescriptions-five-days/

3.    Wood, Sam and Don Sapatkin. “DEA: Fatal ODs Rose 37% Across Pa. in 2016”; The Philadelphia Inquirer; June 8, 2017. philly.com/philly/health/addiction/dea-fatal-ods-rose-37-across-pa-in-2016-20170608.html

4.    Independence Blue Cross Foundation. “Independence Blue Cross Foundation Launches STOP Initiative To Address Growing Opioid Crisis”; press release published August 16, 2016. infocus.ibxfoundation.org/independence-blue-cross-foundation-launches-stop-initiative-to-address-growing-opioid-crisis/

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