CMS Online Drug Mapping Tool Details Opioid Prescribing Patterns

Nov. 20, 2015
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently unveiled an interactive online mapping tool which shows geographic comparisons at the state, county and ZIP code levels of de-identified Medicare Part D opioid prescription claims data.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently unveiled an interactive online mapping tool which shows geographic comparisons at the state, county and ZIP code levels of de-identified Medicare Part D opioid prescription claims data. The mapping tool allows healthcare providers, and the public, to search 2013 Medicare Part D prescription drug claims to better understand their community’s Medicare opioid prescription rate.

“The opioid epidemic impacts every state, county and municipality. To address this epidemic, while ensuring that individuals with pain receive effective treatment, we need accurate, timely information about where the problems are and to what extent they exist,” CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said in a statement. “This new mapping tool gives providers, local health officials, and others the data to become knowledgeable about their community’s Medicare opioid prescription rate.”

According to DMS, deaths from drug overdose have risen steadily over the past two decades, and in 2013, overdose from prescription opioid pain relievers claimed more than 16,000 lives. More than 145,000 people have died from these overdoses in the last decade, CMS stated in a press release announcing the online mapping tool. Heroin deaths have also been climbing sharply, more than doubling between 2010 and 2013.

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Director Tom Frieden, M.D.,  said the mapping tool will help healthcare providers assess opioid-prescribing habits “while continuing to ensure patients have access to the most effective pain treatment.”

According to CMS, the data set, which is privacy-protected and does not reveal beneficiary details, contains information from over one million distinct providers who collectively prescribed approximately $103 billion in prescription drugs and supplies paid under the Part D program. The data characterizes the individual prescribing patterns of healthcare providers that participate in Medicare Part D for over 3,000 distinct drug products.  Of the 1.4 billion total Part D claims per year, there were approximately 80.7 million opioid claims for 116 distinct opioid products contributing to $3.7 billion of the total Part D prescription drug costs.  

 The tool includes interactive maps that allow users to mouse over an area and see its data. The data for each geographic region includes percentage of opioid claims, state average, national average, total providers, total opioid claims and total claims.

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