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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

What Role Do Insurance Companies Play In The Opioid Crisis?

Prescription Drug Takeback Day
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Whether its limiting the number of pills in a prescription or accessing treatment and therapy, insurance providers play a central role in the opioid crisis.

The stories of America's opioid crisis are sadly familiar: stories of addiction, overdose, and suffering. But what role do insurance companies play in this struggle? 

What are health insurance companies in Vermont doing to keep people from becoming addicted to these powerful painkillers? How easy is it for Vermonters to access medications and therapies as alternatives to opioids? And how are insurance companies meeting the changing needs of those battling addiction?

Joining the discussion is Dr. Scott Strenio, the Medicaid Medical Director at Vermont's Department of Health Access, which oversees more than 162,000 Vermonters enrolled in Medicaid and thousands more who receive partial Medicaid benefits.

Also joining the show is Dr. Josh Plavin, a doctor with more than 20 years of practice in Vermont who now serves as the Chief Medical Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield Vermont, insuring roughly 80 percent of the insured Vermonters, and Dr. Judith Feld, the vice president of behavioral health at MVP Health Care.

And Peter Albert, a licensed clinical social worker and senior vice president at the Brattleboro Retreat, joins the show to discuss the continuum of care addressing opioid addiction, and how insurance companies are meeting the evolving needs of patients.

Broadcast on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
Originally from Delaware, Matt moved to Alaska in 2010 for his first job in radio. He spent five years working as a radio and television reporter, radio producer, talk show host, and news director. His reporting received awards from the Alaska Press Club and the Alaska Broadcasters Association. Relocating to southwest Florida, he was a producer for television news and NPR member station WGCU for their daily radio show, Gulf Coast Live. He joined Vermont Public in October 2017 as producer of Vermont Edition.
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