Tufts Health Freedom Plan Working to Improve Access and Quality of Addiction Treatment

The company has joined the growing national movement to adopt eight “Nati​onal Principles of Care” 

May 23, 2019  

Tufts Health Freedom Plan has joined the growing national movement to adopt eight “Nati​onal Principles of Care” for the treatment of addiction that will improve outcomes and save lives. Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation addiction causes families, is spearheading the initiative.

“New Hampshire is among the top five states with the highest rate of opioid-involved deaths, and we must find new ways to combat this crisis,” said Gerri Vaughn, president of Tufts Health Freedom Plan. “Although New Hampshire has made important strides over the past few years, the opioid crisis continues to take a tragic toll. That’s why it was so important for us to build this collaboration with Shatterproof and join this national effort to improve substance abuse treatment and care. The Principles are just another way that Tufts Freedom Health Plan is doing all it can to ensure our members are receiving the best and highest quality care.”

The National Principles of Care were derived from the Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health and are backed by three decades of research. Aligning care with these evidence-based Principles will significantly improve the quality of treatment for the 21 million Americans with substance use disorders. Tufts Health Plan will work to identify and promote substance use disorder treatment that aligns with the Principles, which are expected to improve results and save lives. The Principles include:

  • Universal screening for substance use disorders across medical care settings
  • Personalized diagnosis, assessment and treatment planning
  • Rapid access to appropriate substance use disorder care
  • Engagement in continuing long-term outpatient care with monitoring and adjustments to treatment
  • Concurrent, coordinated care for physical and mental illness
  • Access to fully trained and accredited behavioral professionals
  • Access to FDA-approved medications
  • Access to non-medical recovery support services

Tufts Health Freedom Plan is one of several health plans, representing 250 million lives nationally, who have signed on to the initiative. As part of the commitment, Tufts Health Freedom Plan will also serve on the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Task Force, launched in April 2017 by Gary Mendell, founder and CEO of Shatterproof, and Dr. Thomas McLellan, founder and chairman of the Treatment Research Institute and former Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Obama. The Taskforce will develop metrics to measure progress on this initiative and will publish regularly.

Tufts Health Freedom Plan and the Opioid Epidemic

As the opioid epidemic continues to devastate families, Tufts Health Freedom Plan is playing a critical role in its early identification and intervention with initiatives and health benefits designed to treat substance use disorder. Several of the health plan’s initiatives include:

  • Integrated Approach: Tufts Health Freedom Plan works closely with local community-based organizations who are working to fight the opioid crisis. This includes a collaboration with the Zero Left Campaign, which aims to stop substance use before it starts. As part of that collaboration, Tufts Health Freedom Plan provided funding to reduce excess prescription opioids, install drug takeback boxes throughout the state, provide destruction packets for safe in-home opioid disposal, and further education on appropriate prescribing for local physicians.
  • Education: Tufts Health Freedom Plan and Northeast Delta Dental are collaborating to improve safe prescribing practices and to promote alternative treatments, through messaging to all dentists.
  • Medication Training: Tufts Health Freedom Plan encourages behavioral health and primary care providers to prescribe Suboxone as a medication-assisted treatment by offering providers partial reimbursement for the federally-mandated training. The goal of this program is to increase access to a critical treatment.
  • Locally-based Treatment: Unlike costly, out-of-state treatment alternatives, Tufts Health Freedom Plan advocates for local treatment, allowing for recovery in a familiar environment. This means individuals learn to cope with triggers, rather than avoid them. Local treatment also provides an easier transition back to the community including a return to the member's professional and personal life.
  • Substance Use Navigator: Complementing the work of our care management program, the substance use disorder navigator helps members and their families understand treatment options, benefits and coverage; make decisions about next steps; find resources available to them and find solutions that fit their situation on a case-by-case basis. This personalized attention allows members to capitalize on the spectrum of treatment options.

About Shatterproof
Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation the disease of addiction causes families. Shatterproof works to end the stigma and foster a community of support, providing evidence-based resources to support prevention, treatment, and recovery. Shatterproof advocates for changes in federal and state policy and supports the development and implementation of evidence-based solutions for substance use disorders.