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VA, Cigna New Partnership Aims at Preventing Opioid Misuse Among Veterans With Chronic Pain

According to a recent press release, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has partnered with Cigna in a new public-private partnership. Together, the two agencies hope to improve the safety and quality of care for veterans with chronic pain who are also at risk for opioid misuse.

“This partnership is in line with VA’s priorities of transforming our business systems and supporting more robust partnerships with state and local communities,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a press release. “By partnering with Cigna, we have extended our reach to help improve the way health care providers approach opioid use and we demonstrate our commitment to place veterans’ safety and well-being above all.” 

Together with Cigna, the VA will promote existing supportive resources. Additionally, they will:

  • Educate veterans and their families, as well as public health care providers about safe opioid use;
  • Improve provider and patient interactions related to opioid use; and,
  • Improve both delivery of care and health outcomes for veterans.

According to the VA, the agency has reduced the number of veterans prescribed an opioid by more than half over the past 6 years. These reductions were made possible because health care providers were not starting patients on long-term opioid therapies. Health care providers in the VA were managing pain more effectively by using multiple strategies and alternative therapies including yoga, meditation, and acupuncture. Further, health care providers within the VA also participate in state prescription-drug monitoring programs and trainings to help manage the opioid crisis.  

“Public-private partnerships are critical to address the opioid epidemic in the U.S.,” David M Cordani, president and CEO of Cigna, said in a statement. “It’s an honor and a privilege to partner with VA to support the brave men and women who served in the United States armed forces. We look forward to sharing our resources and best practices to benefit veterans and the communities that support them.” 

This partnership was formalized on March 7, 2019. —Julie Gould  

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