As a provider and administrator of employee health benefits, Optum has a clear stake in making sure the thousands of people working for its client companies can get the help they need in a location near their home. The company applies data analytics tools to monitor demand for opioid-addiction treatment, and then uses geo-mapping to find and work with health care providers in areas where growing demand threatens to outstrip supply.
Optum advocates medication-assisted treatment (MAT), where patients take drugs like methadone and naltrexone to gradually get off opioids, while also receiving individual counseling. The Federal Office of National Drug Control Policy calls MAT “the recognized standard of care.” Studies have shown it to work 50% better at helping patients stay drug-free than traditional detox or counseling alone.
To help spread MAT’s availability, Optum encourages doctors and nurse practitioners to get trained in delivering the treatment. The number of health care facilities in Optum’s network that offer MAT has risen by 75% since 2013, and 90% of employees in Optum’s client companies now live within 20 miles of a MAT provider.