Cardinal Health Foundation awarded nearly $1 million in grants to impact the opioid epidemic across five states. The Foundation’s new Optimal Prescribing in Pain Management (OPPM) initiative engages state pharmacy associations and schools of pharmacy in partnerships that will facilitate efforts by pharmacists to collaborate with other healthcare providers and patients to support optimal medication use in pain management.

The initiative supports five grantees over two years. Grantees’ impact will be assessed based on two measures from the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) Opioid Core Measure Set:

  • Reducing the prescribing of high-dose opioids for non-cancer, adult patients for periods of 90 days or more.
  • Reducing the concurrent prescribing of opioids and benzodiazepines for 30 days or more for adult patients. (Benzodiazepines are classified as Central Nervous System [CNS] depressants, and are often used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Like opioids, they can depress the respiratory system, and, when used in combination with opioids, they can lead to adverse events and even death.)

AIMM, whose expertise is convening and coaching healthcare organizations to improve outcomes and reduce costs, will support the grantees through a learning collaborative designed to produce action, measurement and increase impact.  Along with AIMM, the Cardinal Health Foundation is partnering with the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) to coordinate the initiative.

Five grant recipients and partners were selected based on their proposed project and projected impact on prescribing, based on the PQA measures.

  1. Maryland Pharmacists Association Foundation/ Maryland Pharmacists Association and partners: University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, University of Maryland Eastern Shore School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Notre Dame of Maryland School of Pharmacy
  2. Missouri Pharmacy Foundation/Missouri Pharmacists Association and partners: St. Louis College of Pharmacy, University of Missouri-Kansas city School of Pharmacy
  3. North Carolina Pharmaceutical Association Endowment Fund /North Carolina Association of Pharmacist and Partners: Campbell University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, High Point University School of Pharmacy, Wingate University School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy
  4. Ohio Northern University and partner: The Ohio Pharmacists Association
  5. Wisconsin Pharmacy Foundation/Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin and partner: University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy

AIMM facilitated a kick-off, live learning event to launch the learning collaborative experience for the recipients on July 31, 2019, along with sponsoring partners. The focus of the event was to identify strategies to convene communities and generate action and determine effective measurement strategies for the course of each grant initiative.  Attendees left the event with next steps to be in immediate action to accelerate the development and implementation of their convening and measurement strategy.  Through the AIMM learning collaborative, recipients will meet once a month virtually to pace their progress, discuss emerging topics and identify barriers and brainstorm solutions with their peer group.  AIMM also provides each grant recipient with one-on-one program development coaching to guide recipients through a quality improvement process and offer expertise in designing and testing throughout the grant initiative.