On Friday, May 4th, 2018, UnitedHealthcare’s National Medicaid CEO, Heather Cianfrocco, and Allison Davenport, UnitedHealthcare’s Pennsylvania Medicaid Plan CEO, and Optum Behavioral Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Martin Rosenzweig were joined by Governor Tom Wolf to announce the UnitedHealth Group’s donation of 10,000 opioid disposal kits to the York, Pennsylvania community (available here). The disposal kits offer people a way to remove unused opioids from their homes and prevent their misuse or diversion. The Byrnes Health Education Center – a non-profit that educates adults and children about healthy choices – and Family First Health – a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) were on hand to accept the donation.
Governor Wolf said, “We celebrate UnitedHealthcare’s commitment to fighting back against the heroin and opioid epidemic that has been incredibly damaging to Pennsylvania’s communities….These drug disposal kits donated today will help us get rid of even more opioids and prescription pills and potentially help stop opioid use disorder before it starts.”
The disposal kit donation was made in conjunction with UnitedHealthcare’s National Opioid Community Partnership – a collaborative effort to drive market-specific initiatives to make rapid, measurable gains against opioid misuse. The Partnership works with providers to increase adherence to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prescribing guidelines for opioids, encourage utilization of alternative methods of treatment for pain management, and connects patients to evidenced-based treatment.
The opioid epidemic affects thousands of Pennsylvanians every day. Often the struggle of addiction can begin after the misuse of unused opioid medications from friends or family. UnitedHealthcare’s announcement to donate 10,000 opioid disposal kits to local health providers in York County will make it significantly easier to safely dispose of unused household opioids. The kits include activated carbon, that once water is added, work to deactivate the opioid medications, making them safe to throw away in the household garbage. UnitedHealthcare has launched their Opioid Community Partnership in cities across the country, including the city of York, Pennsylvania, that are highly impacted by the opioid epidemic to help create specific initiatives to advance the fight against opioid misuse.
In full disclosure, Pugliese Associates represents UnitedHealth Group (UHG), a distinctively diversified health and well-being company, headquartered in the United States, and a world leader in helping people live healthier lives. UnitedHealthcare is UHG’s healthcare benefits company that provides coverage for millions of people and Optum, also a part of UHG, provides information and technology-enabled health services and solutions as well as pharmacy care services. In addition, OptumHealth provides behavioral health services, ambulatory surgical care, and urgent care.
Read more about the disposal kit donation in York County here: https://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/2018/05/05/10-000-opioid-disposal-kits-donated-york-effort-curb-epidemic/582321002/
If you’d like to read more about other areas of Pennsylvania that are acutely affected by the opioid epidemic, you can read our last blog here: https://puglieseassociates.com/pennsylvanias-opioid-epidemic-rural-areas-suffering/