Stoddard Davenport MPH'19 and Colleagues Are Bringing Public Health into Private Consulting
As a healthcare management consultant at Milliman, the world’s largest employer of health actuaries, Stoddard Davenport helps behavioral healthcare payers and provider organizations understand and manage their financial risks. While Milliman has thousands of employees in offices worldwide, each office is owned and managed by their principals, allowing them to determine their own focus and areas of expertise. Davenport and his colleagues at Milliman’s Denver Health Practice are using their skills as consultants and researchers to help their colleagues across the insurance industry gain a deeper understanding of the opioid epidemic as a public health crisis.
“While my colleagues and I don't spend time face-to-face with individual patients, we are always working to understand and manage population-level risks,” Davenport says. “For health actuaries, this has traditionally focused on financial risks, but as we transition to value-based care, health risks are becoming just as important to manage and understand. There's a lot that we can do to apply our skills and resources to public health problems, and the current opioid epidemic provides a good case study.”
To help spread awareness and understanding of some of the key issues surrounding the opioid epidemic, Davenport and his colleagues have researched and published white papers focused on understanding the scale of the epidemic within the insurance industry and on prescribing patterns. In the second paper, they found that many patients with opioid use disorder were still prescribed high quantities of opioids for significant amounts of time. Despite the finding, Davenport says one of the key aims of the group’s work is to promote the development of thoughtful, patient-centered responses, rather than knee-jerk reactions.
“Some chronic pain patients can feel criminalized by overly austere prescribing rules and feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under them,” he says. “We need to look at the larger context that opioid use disorders develop within and make sure that we're developing policies and responses that focus on supporting patients, including both those that experience pain, and those that are recovering from substance use disorders.”
Davenport says the group’s upcoming papers will cover issues related to co-prescribing of benzodiazepines, the impact of opioid use disorder on maternal and neonatal outcomes, and variation in the use of medication-assisted treatment for patients in recovery. They also plan to continue to raise awareness by speaking at conferences and industry events, such as the Society of Actuaries annual health meeting.
“My hope is that we can provide data that will help policymakers and other healthcare stakeholders target resources more effectively and better support patients in recovery,” he says.
POSTED 2/18/2019 AT 02:38 PM IN #practicum
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