All Eyes on Data at Opioid Committee Meeting

The Joint Committee on Behavioral Health and Opioid Use Disorders was briefed Wednesday by state agencies on the progress of programs targeting substance abuse.

Reporting agencies included the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP), the Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPSCS).

Glenn Fueston, Executive Director of GOCCP joined DHMH Secretary Mitchell to provide an update on the Governors Inter-Agency Heroin and Opioid Coordinating Council. The pair emphasized the Council’s focus on collaboration and data as it continues to implement the recommendations from Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force. In regards to data and information sharing they noted that the council is supporting the Predictive Risk Model Project. Under this collaborative initiative, scientific methodology is used to identify people at higher risk for experiencing overdoses or other adverse events and the data collected is used to inform monitoring, outreach, treatment, and education activities.

Additional presentations from DHMH staff included a report on Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Analytics as required under the law that was passed last session implementing changes to the PDMP, and on the Opioid Treatment Program Quality Improvement Work plan. The former report focused on the efforts to build the capacity for PDMP data analysis and the ways the data can be used to understand patterns in opioid use and treatment plans, detecting high-risk behavior, and sharing information between necessary entities. The latter included an updated on the progress towards reaching two goals: (1) creating an integrated state and local process for approval of new programs and re-certification of existing programs; and (2) improving the quality of care in opioid treatment programs.

Secretary Moyer, DPSCS and DHMH staff briefed the committee on the removal of suboxone film from the Medicaid Preferred Drug List. The presentation included an explanation of how the Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee’s came to their decision to recommend removing the suboxone film from the preferred drug list and adding Zubsolv sublingual tables instead. As suboxone film is still available via prior authorization data was provided on the prior authorization experience and rates of denial. Secretary Moyer and Superintendent of Anne Arundel County Department of Detention Facilities Terry Kokolis spoke of the concerns and impacts of contraband subxone film in the state prisons and local jails.

Last but not least, the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) briefed the committee on the work of the Behavioral Health Task Force and their recently released report analyzing Maryland’s behavioral health care needs in hospital settings.