The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an interactive online mapping tool, which shows geographic comparisons at the state, county and ZIP code levels of de-identified Medicare Part D opioid prescription claims – prescriptions written and then submitted to be filled – within the United States. This new mapping tool allows the user to see both the number and percentage of opioid claims at the local level and better understand how this critical issue impacts communities nationwide.
“The opioid epidemic impacts every state, county and municipality. To address this epidemic, while ensuring that individuals with pain receive effective treatment, we need accurate, timely information about where the problems are and to what extent they exist,” said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. “This new mapping tool gives providers, local health officials, and others the data to become knowledgeable about their community’s Medicare opioid prescription rate.”
Data from the North Carolina Division of Public Health reveal more than 1,000 people in our state die of prescription drug abuse annually. Nationally, in 2013, overdose from prescription opioid pain relievers claimed more than 16,000 lives, with more than 145,000 people dying from these overdoses in the last decade. The resulting health, social, and economic consequences for communities across the country are enormous.
“The opioid abuse and overdose epidemic continues to devastate American families,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “This mapping tool will help doctors, nurses, and other health care providers assess opioid-prescribing habits while continuing to ensure patients have access to the most effective pain treatment. Informing prescribers can help reduce opioid use disorder among patients.”
The data set, which is privacy-protected, contains information from over one million distinct providers who collectively prescribed approximately $103 billion in prescription drugs and supplies paid under the Part D program.
CMS and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) believe that this level of transparency will inform community awareness among providers and local public health officials.
As part of this initiative, HHS is working through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop opioid prescribing guidelines and supporting training and tools for providers to make informed prescribing decisions. For more information on CMS’ efforts to address the growing problem of abuse of opioids in the Part D program, read the Part D Overutilization Monitoring System Summary.