Addressing Opioid Misuse and Pain: A 6-Month Employer Journey

From November, 2019 to April, 2020 a cohort of employers collaborated to take a deep dive into how they can support their employees and business in the prevention, treatment, and recovery from opioid misuse and disorder, and the diagnosis, treatment, and management of acute and chronic pain. Through a series of in person and virtual meetings, these employers learned from experts and one another on how to optimize their healthcare benefits, data analytics, and workplace policies to accomplish this mission.

The Cohort Represented:


of Kentuckians


of Kentucky


of Kentuckians with
employer sponsored insurance

The Problem

With an unprecedented rise in opioid misuse and opioid-related overdoses in the United States and Kentucky, employers are experiencing challenges related to productivity, absenteeism, hiring, retention, healthcare costs, workplace culture, and employee health.

Our Purpose

Collectively prepare employers throughout Kentucky to leverage their positions as healthcare purchasers and employee support systems to improve access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery services for opioid use disorder and to maintain a healthy, loyal, and productive workforce.

The best practices presented in the  Kentuckiana Health Collaborative’s Opioids and the Workplace employer toolkit served as the framework for this series. By exploring the challenges, successes, and opportunities surrounding these best practices, employers were able to collectively learn how they may implement them in their own business. Chronicled here at the materials and virtual learning opportunities that guided employers through this series.

Are you an employer interested in discussing how you can take next steps in your own journey to support the prevention, treatment, and recovery of opioid misuse and opioid use disorder? Contact Natalie Middaugh, Community Health Program Manager, at



    IBM Watson Health will join the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative to present their recent findings of opioid use and substance use disorder treatment in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. First, we will review how IBM Watson Health is working across the industry, in commercial payer, provider, and government markets, to combat the opioid crisis, discussing our latest projects and findings. Then we will review the State of Kentucky’s specific results and how it compares to national benchmarks. Metrics we will review include prescribing rates across various demographics, product types, and conditions, evaluations of prescribing quality and risks, overdose and rescue naloxone utilization, and substance abuse treatment patterns. We hope the review of this study will help you better understand how members in the Commonwealth of Kentucky differ in their opioid use, risks, and abuse treatments. Join us for a webinar on November 21 for the release of this data, and a discussion about what this data means for employers.
    November 21, 2019 10:30am-11:30am | View Recording
    The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 , also known as the Federal Parity Law, changed the landscape in terms of how health plans are offering mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits.  Many states continue to adopt similar parity regulations, and the federal government continues to publish sub-regulatory guidance.  This webinar features two national experts, Garry Carneal, JD, President and CEO of Schooner Strategies and Advisor to The Kennedy Forum, and Michael Gomes, CEO of ClearHealth Quality Institute (CHQI). The session covers will help viewers understand how parity regulations are impacting health plan operations, employers and others, learn how regulators and the courts are coming up with new ways to enforce the Federal Parity Law and applicable state laws, and identify best practices for setting up parity compliance strategies.
    December 12, 2019 12:00pm-12:45pm | View Recording
    For people with substance use disorders and their loved ones who seek care, it is difficult to identify quality addiction treatment using the information currently available. To rectify this, Shatterproof, a national nonprofit dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in the U.S., is launching ATLAS®—a free web-based platform that will allow individuals searching for addiction treatment to locate and compare facilities using standardized quality data from facility surveys, insurance claims, and crowd sourced patient feedback. ATLAS is based upon the Shatterproof National Principles of Care©–evidence-based best practices that are shown by rigorous research across multiple patient populations to improve outcomes when treating substance use disorders. This webinar features Leah Kaufman, Assistant Director of State Engagement at Shatterproof and Shannon Biello, Program Manager for National Treatment Quality Initiatives at Shatterproof.  Viewers will learn current information gaps in addiction treatment and why these gaps exist, the the elements of high-quality addiction treatment described in the Shatterproof National Principles of Care, and how ATLAS, a quality measurement system for addiction treatment, encourages the selection of high-quality addiction treatment by patients and loved ones while also engaging providers, industry leaders, and others in data-driven quality improvement efforts.
    January 29, 2020 12:00-1:00 PM | View Recording