November 10, 2017
The American Health Policy Institute (AHPI) held a conference call this week for AHPI Governors to provide insight on the tax bill and explain its implications for employer-sponsored health benefits. Going forward, AHPI will host AHPI Governor conference calls every two months to examine policy and practice areas of interest to CHROs and their teams. In addition to policy experts from AHPI and HR Policy, future calls will also feature CHROs and outside experts on specific issues. Also discussed was a possible repeal of the individual mandate, the expected nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, and President Trump's announcement declaring the opioid epidemic a "public health emergency." Meanwhile, AHPI released a paper on CHROs' response to escalating drug use in the U.S., "The Opioid Crisis: Thoughts from the CHRO Suite," by AHPI Senior Fellow, Henry C. Eickelberg. The paper makes the point that coping with the opioid epidemic will require solutions from both the public and the private sectors. Given this need for private sector solutions to go along with public policy efforts, HR Policy President & CEO Dan Yager reached out to CHROs and benefits professionals to get their feedback on perceptions of the opioid crisis and its effect on their organizations, employees, and dependents. In the paper, Eickelberg distills some of the concerns they expressed about the epidemic, and their efforts to address it. Most large employers already use pre-employment drug screening in the hiring process to identify potential opioid abuse. Employers are also engaging with the health care provider community to advocate for prescription quantity control. Among other new ideas, CHROs discussed taking steps to end the stigma associated with opioid dependency so that employees could feel more comfortable seeking help. In addition, health plan administrators and Pharmacy Benefit Managers are working closely together to identify and reach out to those who have been prescribed opioids for more than a given timeframe.