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Prestige Health Choice Participates in Learning Collaborative to Lower Risk for Substance Use Disorder Among Adolescents

Prestige is the only Florida-based health plan to take part in nationwide effort.

Prestige Health Choice, a Medicaid managed care plan serving 55 of Florida’s 67 counties and a joint venture between AmeriHealth Caritas and Florida Blue, is participating in a three-year learning collaborative to increase the identification of youth who are at risk for substance use disorder. Through the collaborative, Prestige Health Choice is launching a provider training program aimed at raising awareness of substance use disorder.

Prestige Health Choice’s evidence-based program is called “SBIRT: Raise the TopicSM.” The program uses the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) approach to support early intervention and treatment for people with substance use disorder and those at risk of developing this disorder. Screenings afford primary care providers an opportunity to quickly assess the severity of substance use in their patients and to identify the appropriate level of treatment needed.

Prestige is the only Florida-based health plan, and one of only seven health plans nationwide, participating in this collaborative. It is coordinated by the Center for Health Care Strategies in partnership with the Association for Community Affiliated Plans and funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Although it is currently only offered to select Prestige Health Choice providers, "SBIRT: Raise the Topic" will be made available to additional providers in 2018.

“By providing doctors in our network with the training, tools and support necessary to identify and assist at-risk youth, we can guide our adolescent members on a path toward a healthy lifestyle,” said Prestige Health Choice Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sandra Schwemmer. “The SBIRT program prepares doctors to educate adolescents on the facts and risks associated with substance use, discourage substance use, and provide clear next steps when greater intervention is required.”

Health care costs associated with a sharp rise in substance use in Florida have been alarming. According to the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner, the state witnessed a 509 percent increase in fatal overdoses as a result of opioid use between 2012 and 2016. In 2015, a review of Agency for Health Care Administration data showed inpatient medical care costs resulting from alcohol and drug use equaled nearly $43 million.1

“Experimenting with drugs and alcohol during the important developmental years can lead to brain damage and an increased likelihood of future substance use disorder. That is why we are taking this important step to help prevent and stop substance use disorder in adolescents as early as possible,” said Prestige Health Choice President Dwight Chenette.

Prestige Health Choice has dedicated the SBIRT initiative to Dr. Erik Stumpf, who served as market chief medical officer from 2016 until his passing this past April. “Dr. Stumpf was passionate about finding new and more effective ways to address adolescent health risks and was a major contributor to the development of ‘SBIRT: Raise the Topic.’ He championed the program and its goals of increasing awareness of substance use disorder in adolescents and focusing on earlier identification and treatment,” Chenette added.

About Prestige Health Choice

Prestige Health Choice is a Medicaid managed care plan serving members in 55 of Florida’s 67 counties. Prestige’s strength is founded on its longstanding provider partnerships, particularly with federally qualified health centers and other safety-net providers. A Florida-based company, Prestige is owned and operated by Florida True Health, a joint venture of AmeriHealth Caritas and Florida Blue.

About AmeriHealth Caritas

AmeriHealth Caritas is part of the Independence Health Group in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. AmeriHealth Caritas is one of the nation’s leaders in health care solutions for those most in need. Operating in 16 states and the District of Columbia, AmeriHealth Caritas serves more than 5.6 million Medicaid, Medicare and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) members through its integrated managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management and specialty pharmacy services, behavioral health services, and other administrative services. Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth Caritas is a mission-driven organization with more than 30 years of experience serving low-income and chronically ill populations.

About Florida Blue

Florida Blue is a leader in Florida’s health care industry. Driven by its mission to help people and communities achieve better health, Florida Blue has 5 million health care members, with nearly 18 million people in 12 states, two U.S. territories and the District of Columbia served through its affiliated companies. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., it is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

1. Palm Beach County’s Approach to the Opioid Crisis 2/20/2017: Opioid Crisis Palm Beach County’s Response. The Ronik-Radlauer Group Inc.