Insurer partners with the Yale School of Medicine for new program designed to better treat injured workers, curb the ongoing U.S. opioid crisis
The Hartford, a leading workers’ compensation and disability insurer, announced a new partnership with the Yale Program in Addiction Medicine (Yale-PAM) to develop a training program focused on addiction, pain management, and stigma for Connecticut medical providers who treat injured workers. The pilot launch follows a record-breaking number of deadly opioid-related overdoses in Connecticut and in the nation last year.1
“The loss and suffering caused by the ongoing opioid crisis is heartbreaking, and now more than ever, it’s important that we all take action to dispel addiction stigma and engage with empathy,” said The Hartford’s Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift. “We know from our decades of experience that front-line clinicians play a critical role in preventing substance misuse and fostering treatment. That’s why we are honored to partner with an internationally-recognized innovator in addiction treatment on this new training, which will lead to better care for those in need.”
Led by David Fiellin, M.D., and Jeanette Tetrault, MD, FACP, FASAM, the Yale-PAM will develop the training that will help clinicians identify and treat acute pain, chronic pain, substance misuse, and substance and opioid use disorders among Connecticut workers. The training will be geared toward the use of person-centered and non-stigmatizing approaches to addressing pain and addiction and will focus on improved function, as well as a safe return to work.
Phase one of the pilot, which is underway now, includes developing the training modules and a compendium of clinically relevant resources. In phase two, slated for January to June 2022, the training will be delivered to a preliminary cohort of 50 to 100 Connecticut medical professionals, who treat workers with acute pain, living with chronic pain and/or a substance use disorder. In the final phase of the pilot, the modules will be updated based on the medical providers’ feedback, which is anticipated for the third quarter of 2022.
“We are grateful for The Hartford’s commitment to sustaining evidence-based treatment and the education of professionals who care for injured workers,” Fiellin said. “We hope this pilot will produce a national educational resource that helps millions of individuals return to active, productive lives – without stigma or untreated addiction.”
“I applaud The Hartford and the Yale School of Medicine for leading the way in providing internationally-recognized innovative training to help curb the opioid epidemic, which has a corrosive grip on communities here in Connecticut and across the country,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “Compounded by the loss of loved ones and isolation caused by the COVID crisis, the heartbreaking numbers of people lost to substance use disorder continues to soar. It’s long past time we remove the stigma from this illness and implement more widely appropriate medical and evidence-based treatments.”
The Yale collaboration is the latest initiative to curb the ongoing opioid crisis by The Hartford, which also partners with Shatterproof and the National Alliance on Mental Illness – two leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to dispelling stigma in the workplace.
A newly released survey confirms the need for continued education about addiction and pain management, particularly among health care workers. The national study on addiction stigma, produced by Shatterproof, in collaboration with The Hartford, found that health care workers demonstrated a high level of stigma towards individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). For example, 65% of health care workers reported SUD is not a chronic medical illness.
In addition to education and research, The Hartford sponsored a virtual convening of public policymakers and experts from Yale, NAMI, and Shatterproof who discussed public-private solutions to address mental health and substance use conditions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In states across the country, The Hartford has been advocating for reforms proven to work, such as the adoption of robust medication formularies, mandatory physician and provider education, restrictions on unneeded opioid prescriptions, and improved drug monitoring programs.
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