News Release, US Department of Veteran Affairs

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Cigna, a global health service company, recently announced a new public private partnership to improve safety and quality of care for Veterans with chronic pain, who are at risk for opioid misuse.

The partnership, which was formalized March 7, will educate Veterans and their families, the public and health care providers about the following:safe opioid use; improving provider and patient interactions related to opioid use; and helping to improve delivery of care and health outcomes for Veterans.

“This partnership is in line with VA’s priorities of transforming our business systems and supporting more robust partnerships with state and local communities,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “By partnering with Cigna, we have extended our reach to help improve the way health care providers approach opioid use and we demonstrate our commitment to place Veterans’ safety and well-being above all.”

David M. Cordani, president and CEO of Cigna, agreed.

“Public-private partnerships are critical to address the opioid epidemic in the U.S.,” Cordani said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to partner with VA to support the brave men and women who served in the United States armed forces. We look forward to sharing our resources and best practices to benefit Veterans and the communities that support them.”

VA’s Opioid Safety Initiativehas reduced the number of Veterans prescribed an opioid by more than 50% over the past six years. With more than 75% of this reduction attributed to not starting patients newly on long-term opioid therapy, VA is managing pain more effectively by using multiple strategies and alternative therapies, such as yoga, meditation and acupuncture. VA health care providers also participate in state prescription-drug monitoring programs and training to manage the opioid crisis.

Through the partnership, VA and Cigna will also promote existing supportive resources, such as theVeterans Crisis Lineat 800-273-8255 and Cigna’sVeterans Support Lineat 855-244-6211.

For more information, visitVA Pain Management and Opioid Safetyand Cigna’sFinding Consensus on Opioid Misuse is Critical to Overcoming It.

For more information on partnering with VA, visitVA Health Partnerships.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...