CMS adds Medicaid and rural data to Opioid Prescribing Mapping Tool

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has broadened the scope of the Opioid Prescribing Mapping Tool, which was first launched three years ago to give insights into Medicare Part D prescribing rates.

This update hopes to help combat the crisis by better informing local prevention and treatment efforts, especially in rural communities hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.

For the first time, the tool has data for Medicaid prescribing, according to CMS, and enables geographic comparisons of Medicare Part D opioid prescribing for urban and rural communities.

This newest version of the mapping tool offers a more expansive view of opioid prescribing rates over time and across regions, officials say, enabling providers and public health researchers to more accurately measure and make comparisons to help make smarter decisions based on local trends.

This update hopes to help combat the crisis by better informing local prevention and treatment efforts, especially in underserved and rural communities hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.

The Medicaid Mapping Tool allows users to review Medicaid opioid prescribing rates at the state level and compare prescribing rates in fee-for-service and managed care.

The Medicare Part D Opioid Prescribing Mapping Tool has been updated with additional maps that allow users to quickly compare Part D opioid prescribing rates in urban and rural areas at the state, county and ZIP code levels.

With Part D, for example, prescribing rates at the state level in 2016 ranged from 2.9 percent to 7.4 percent compared to the national average opioid prescribing rate of 5.3 percent.

There are 14 states, according to CMS data, that have higher opioid prescribing rates in rural areas compared to urban areas and there are 34 states that have slightly higher opioid prescribing rates in urban locations compared to rural.

The Roadmap to Address the Opioid Crisis published by CMS this past year forefronted the value of data in helping with prevention and treatment of opioid abuse. The agency says granular tracking of prescribing patterns will help with the development of better population health policies and enable the tracking of key indicators. Based on that data, for instance, CMS notified some 24,000 Medicare providers that their opioid prescribing rates were higher than their peers.

Beyond public policy, other groups are working to improve the way opioid information is made available to physicians. This past week, for example, we showed how the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association has developed recommendations for the ideal minimum data set that should appear in EHRs to help prescribers have the insights they need for safer prescribing.

It just one of many recent efforts nationwide to better leverage information and technology for fighting the opioid crisis on all possible fronts.

“Leveraging data is one of CMS’s key strategies to help target our prevention and treatment efforts to combat the opioid crisis, especially in rural communities,” said CMS Principal Deputy Administration for Operations Kimberly Brandt in a statement about the agency’s updated mapping tool.

“Fighting this epidemic and its impact in every state, county and municipality is a priority of the Trump Administration, and this mapping tool gives our state and local partners the data they need to build on their own targeted solutions,” she said.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

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