Meridian, AmeriHealth Partner on Pain Management Program

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Meridian HealthCare and AmeriHealth Caritas Ohio are teaming up to provide innovative chronic pain management solutions to Medicaid enrollees in the Youngstown area. 

The pilot program, which will begin this summer at Meridian’s Youngstown and Warren locations, will focus on behavioral health and medication-free treatment for chronic, noncancer pain in primary care settings for AmeriHealth Caritas Ohio members age 18 and older.

“This new relationship aims to improve the quality of life for those with chronic pain, which can be debilitating,” said Larry Moliterno, president and CEO of Meridian HealthCare. “We’re eager to collaborate with AmeriHealth Caritas Ohio on this exciting, much-needed initiative designed to help people receive comprehensive care tailored to their needs so they can live their best life.”

AmeriHealth will initially identify patients for the program. Individuals who have been diagnosed with any of the following may be eligible: back pain, neck and shoulder pain, radiculopathy, fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, myalgia/myositis, joint pain, arthritis, sciatic nerve pain or arthralgia.

The program will be offered in two formats: pain self-management education and acceptance and commitment therapy. Both will be available virtually and in person.

The pain self-management education format will be held in four 90-minute group sessions or in four 45-minute individual sessions. The acceptance and commitment therapy format will be held in eight 90-minute group sessions or eight to 12 60-minute individual sessions. Both programs will be available at no cost to eligible AmeriHealth members.

“We are excited to work with Meridian clinicians and together empower AmeriHealth Caritas Ohio members living with pain to learn new ways to improve their functioning and quality of life,” said Dr. Laurie Greco, AmeriHealth’s medical director of behavioral health. “The program concept started with listening sessions, where we met with providers across the state to learn more about the barriers and opportunities for integrating behavioral health clinicians into primary care settings. These conversations were so valuable. They helped us identify chronic pain as a priority area for primary care-behavioral health integration.”

The program is taking a value-based approach to paying providers for the type of work they are doing.

“We found that AmeriHealth Caritas Ohio and Meridian had shared priorities related to integrated care, evidence-based treatments and innovative payment models,” said Mark Grippi, AmeriHealth’s CEO and market president. “This program changes the model by supporting quality over quantity and rewarding behavioral health outcomes over activities.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.