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Horizon joins national task force on addiction

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Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New Jersey has joined a national coalition of 16 health insurance companies that are seeking to adopt eight principals of care for the treatment of addiction.

The National Principles of Care are based on a report from the U.S. Surgeon General’s office on Alcohol, Drugs and Health, which in turn was backed by 30 years of federal research. The principals are:

  • Universal screening for substance use disorders (SUDs) across medical care settings;
  • Personalized diagnosis, assessment and treatment planning;
  • Rapid access to appropriate SUD care;
  • Engagement in continuing long-term outpatient care with monitoring and adjustments to treatment;
  • Concurrent, coordinated care for physical and mental illness;
  • Access to fully trained and accredited behavioral health professionals;
  • Access to FDA-approved medications; and
  • Access to non-medical recovery support services.

Mary Ann Christopher, Horizon BCBSNJ’s vice president of clinical operations and transformation said in a press release that the principles will be adopted to help New Jersey, which has been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic, and that the state already has been at the forefront of addiction treatment.

“We understand New Jersey because we are New Jersey – we know our members, our providers and our communities – and have built our approach to the opioid crisis around the idea that health care solutions have to exist in the communities where our members live, work and play,” said Christopher.

“These National Principles of Care are furthering the goal of putting substance use disorders on the same plane as other chronic illness. They will also enable Horizon to advance our goal of marrying evidence-based diagnosis and treatment models with personalized solutions reflecting the uniqueness of every person and the distinctive characteristics of care in their community.”

This initiative is part of Horizon BCBSNJ’s work as a member of the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Task Force, a nonprofit organization launched in April 2017 by Gary Mendell, CEO of Shatterproof, and Dr. Thomas McLellan, chairman of the Treatment Research Institute and former Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Obama. Shatterproof, founded in 2011, is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation the disease of addiction causes families. 

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Vince Calio

Vince Calio


Vince Calio covers health care and manufacturing for NJBIZ. You can contact him at vcalio@njbiz.com.

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