Tufts Health Plan Announces Donation to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Naloxone Fund

Tufts Health Plan has committed $50,000  to the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchase Trust Fund

April 18, 2018  

Watertown, MA – Tufts Health Plan has committed $50,000 to the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchase Trust Fund, set up in July 2015 and administrated by the Department of Public Health and the Attorney General’s office. The Fund allows municipalities to purchase naloxone for use by first responders at a discounted rate.

“We all have a friend, family member or colleague who has been touched in some way by the opioid epidemic,” said Tom Croswell, Tufts Health Plan president & CEO. “We hope our contribution can help – in some way - to prevent future overdoses, which have been devastating to families across the region.”

Naloxone (commonly known by the brand name Narcan) is a life-saving medication that reverses opioid overdoses. According to the Department of Public Health, first responders administered more than 20,000 doses of Naloxone across Massachusetts in 2016. In 2015, after reaching a $325,000 settlement with one of the manufacturers of Naloxone, Attorney General Maura Healey partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Legislature to create the Fund, to help police and fire departments, who rely heavily on this medication.

Tufts Health Plan and the Opioid Epidemic

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

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.

Locally-based Treatment: Unlike costly, out-of-state treatment alternatives, Tufts Health 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.

Medication and Training: Tufts Health Plan has created a unique program to encourage behavioral health and primary care providers to prescribe Suboxone as a medication-assisted treatment by offering providers reimbursement for the federally-mandated training. The goal of this program is to increase access to a critical treatment.

Education: Tufts Health Plan and Delta Dental of Massachusetts are collaborating to improve safe prescribing practices and to promote alternative treatments, through messaging to all dentists. This is critical because, as a 2011 study in the Journal of the American Dental Association indicated, dentists are responsible for 12 percent of prescriptions for fast-acting opioid pain relievers.