Shift Shapers Podcast

14 Jun 2021

Ep #362: COVID Fades. Opioids Remain. – With Mike Vasquez

David Saltzman 0 Comments

This week’s episode features a conversation with Mike Vasquez, CEO and Founder at Opioid Clinical Management. The opioid crisis has been largely ignored for the past 15 months but this doesn’t mean it has gone away. Novel withdrawal symptom indicators help advisors and employers identify the differences in addiction and withdrawal patterns. This allows employers to intervene with the providers to reduce their spend while safeguarding the health of members.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • 02:08 Opioid deaths reached an all-time high in 2020
  • 07:49 The direct and indirect costs of opioid addiction
  • 10:37 How employers can identify withdrawal symptoms of opioid addiction
  • 13:53 Withdrawal symptom indicators are the primary cost drivers
  • 15:46 Educating advisors and employers on the scope of the problem
  • 18:10 Intervening the providers instead of the members who are suffering


09:32 “We found 4 key indicators as we looked at and those were indicators inside of orthopedics, indicators inside of general surgery, indicators inside of injury itself, and in chronic pain management.”

10:02 “We find that we can reduce about 75% of the health plan spend which can correlate to as much as 10% of the total medical spend tied to just directly to opioids.”

11:38 “This is not an abuse pattern, this is not an addiction pattern, this is an intentional overprescribing indicator of a provider. These are the unintentional indicators that are happening just in everyday opioid usage.”

14:06 “The cost drivers are these unseen, unidentified health care side effects. So some people are aware of drug side effects, some people are aware of drug interactions, and what the doctors aren’t aware of the withdrawal symptoms. We call these withdrawal symptom indicators.”

18:35 “We are able to identify the provider who’s creating these costs as opposed to the member who’s experiencing them.”

Listen to the Full Interview:

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