Cigna will partner with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to promote safer opioid use among veterans by applying practices the insurer's used to reduce opioid use among its own members.
"Public-private partnerships are critical to address the opioid epidemic in the U.S.," said David Cordani, president and CEO of Cigna in a written statement. "We look forward to sharing our resources and best practices to benefit Veterans and the communities that support them."
A Cigna spokeswoman said the partnership will focus on sharing best practices involving risk stratification and treatment protocols around opioids.
In 2013, the VA launched its Opioid Safety Initiative in response to the rising number of veterans using opioids. The VA claimed the program has helped to reduce prescriptions by 50% over the past six years.
The partnership with Cigna will help further those efforts, according to the spokeswoman. Last year the insurer announced it had reduced prescription opioid use by 25% among its members by educating more than 100,000 clinicians on better prescribing practices and providing more than 85,000 prescribers annual alerts to identify concerning patterns among patients.
An estimated 68,000 veterans had an opioid use disorder in 2015, according to a 2018 Pew Charitable Trust article, and were twice as likely as non-veterans to die from a drug overdose.