Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recently appointed Dr. Rosa Rodriguez-Monguio, associate professor of health policy & management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as the health economist for the newly created Opioid Special Commission to Examine the Feasibility of Establishing a Pain Management Access Program. The commission is one of three created under legislation signed by Governor Baker in March to address the opioid crisis in the state.
[Dr. Rosa Rodriguez-Monguio]
According to the Springfield Republican, Governor Baker said “this is pretty close to an all hands on deck issue,” after swearing in several commission members in his office. A May report by the state Department of Public Health supports Baker’s remarks, noting the number of confirmed opioid overdose deaths in the state has increased by 51 percent during just the years of 2013-2015.
“It’s a crisis,” Governor Baker continued. “The more we can do to create a smarter and better and more sophisticated prescriber community and a smarter and better and more informed patient population, the better off we’ll be at dealing with this and bending the trend,” he added.
“The special commission is tasked with reviewing a comprehensive spectrum of pain management interventions,” explains Dr. Rodriguez-Monguio. “We’ll also be assessing the feasibility of providing coverage of these interventions through commercial and public insurance health plans,” she adds.
Dr. Rodriguez-Monguio’s areas of expertise include economic evaluation methods of health care services and pharmaceuticals as well as outcomes research. She studies the health and economic impact of preventable adverse drug effects, drug safety and pharmaceutical utilization patterns and cost. Her recent research has examined interchangeability and safety of opioids and other nervous system drugs used in pain management.
The commission is co-chaired by state Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael Collins. An initial report of the commission recommendations and drafts of proposed legislation or regulations is due November 1 and a final report is expected one year later, on November 1, 2017.
“It is a great honor to serve on this important special commission,” says Dr. Rodriguez-Monguio.
“I am proud that the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences is part of the state efforts to tackle the opioid epidemic. Prescription drug misuse and abuse, and related adverse patient outcomes remains a worldwide public health concern. Thus, it is critically important to design and implement cost-effective prevention, treatment and recovery strategies while ensuring access to safe and effective opioid prescription drugs when needed,” she adds.