CMS updates opioid prescribing mapping tool with granular data

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has expanded its opioid mapping tool with interactive features.

The federal agency is making the move to enable healthcare professionals to better assess the impact of the crisis at the state and local level.

Launched in 2015, the mapping tool enables users to visualize both the number and percentage of opioid prescriptions in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

However, for the first time, the tool includes data for opioid prescribing in the Medicaid program, according to CMS. In addition, users are now able to make geographic comparisons of Medicare Part D opioid prescribing rates over time for urban and rural communities.

“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,” says Kimberly Brandt, CMS principal deputy administration for operations. “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.”

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Opioid prescribing rates at the state level in 2016 ranged from 2.9 percent to 9.4 percent in the Medicaid program (compared with the national average opioid prescribing rate of 5.4 percent), and from 2.9 percent to 7.4 percent in Medicare Part D (compared with the national average opioid prescribing rate of 5.3 percent).

In addition to providing opioid prescribing rates at the state level, the mapping tool enables users to compare prescribing rates in fee-for-service and managed care. Opioid prescribing in Medicaid is slightly higher in managed care (5.4 percent) vs. fee-for-service (5.3 percent).

When it comes to Medicare, the mapping tool has been updated with more maps that enable users to quickly compare Part D opioid prescribing rates in urban and rural areas at the state, county and ZIP code levels. In Medicare Part D, the opioid prescribing is slightly higher in rural areas (5.5 percent) than in urban areas (5.3 percent).

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