Many individuals and families in the United States are adversely affected by the opioid crisis, often from misuse of prescription opioids. While the epidemic of opioid misuse, overdose, and death is a multifaceted crisis, changing the management of pain towards non-opioid options prevents people from becoming addicted in the first place, potentially changing the demand for opioids. Physicians and other health professionals can help prevent many individuals from becoming addicted to opioids or overdosing by improving pain management practices.

Opioid prescribing rates vary greatly state to state, even county to county, and states in the Great Plains QIN region are no exception. Recent analysis of CMS Medicare Part D data (2017Q4 through 2018Q3) provided maps for each state showing the percentage of dispensed Medicare part D claims (first prescription filling) written for an opioid. Data is displayed at a county level with different colors signifying those within, below or above a standard deviation of the state average.

By showing county level rates, these maps can assist communities with the assessment of pain management treatment in their area. They can be combined with knowledge of available services within the community to identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.

Great Plains QIN continues to collaborate with community partners throughout our region to reduce the over-use of opioids in our states and the nation as a whole. Click here to learn more.