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Health care organizations partner to address opioid crisis

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Three leading state health care organizations have joined forces to form the Opioid Risk Prevention Partnership, an initiative addressing alternatives to opioids in pain management.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, the S.C. Hospital Association and the S.C. Medical Association have entered into the 18-month agreement, which will initially focus on changing the conversation around pain management with a goal of reducing the number of opioid prescriptions written each year in the state.

The agreement comes in response to the state’s Opioid Emergency Response Plan outlined by Gov. Henry McMaster in June.

“Our organizations share a common endpoint,” said Matthew Bartels, vice president and chief medical officer of BlueCross BlueShield, in a news release. “This is an issue that touches the entire community, and in many cases, affected patients are our members. BlueCross believes that as leaders in the health care community, our respective organizations each have an important role to play in communicating forthrightly about the appropriate use of opioids, the very real risk they pose with prolonged use and the alternatives available for pain management.”

The organizations will work with JBS International, a company with more than 30 years of experience working with federal, state and local agencies to address substance abuse and the opioid crisis.

“Physicians play a critical role in the effort to decrease opioid misuse,” S.C. Medical Association president March Seabrook said. “The South Carolina Medical Association has educated over 12,000 physicians and other health care professionals on the approved procedures for prescribing and monitoring controlled substances.  Through this new partnership, we will continue to expand our efforts to address this major public health crisis.”


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