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Keep An Eye On Workers' Compensation Legislation

An accident suffered at work can be career ending and life changing. Victims of work-related accidents must deal with the immediate and long-term effects of serious injuries. For many, the damage done goes beyond physical damage. The use of oxycodone, codeine and other prescribed drugs can lead to serious and potentially deadly addictions.

The problem is not contained within a handful of states. Prescription drug abuse by injured workers is a nationwide problem that requires immediate solutions.

While the goal of ending addiction is admirable, implementation of formularies must be tailored to the needs of injured workers in the state.

This issue is particularlly relevant being that a growing number of state legislatures are considering laws to address opiod addiction connected with pain medication prescribed to injured workers. Tennessee and California have guidelines starting in August 2016 and July 2017 respectively. Those states join Texas, Oklahoma, Washington and Ohio with evidence-based drug formularies for Schedule II, III, IV and V controlled substances.

A formulary provides procedures at the prescription level. It determines drugs appropriate for treatment of work injuries and eliminates the inappropriate medication.

Required prior authorization for drugs in and recommended by the formulary would be removed. A framework for preauthorization would be created for controlled substances not included in the formulary, but recommended.

Concerns exist over putting an immediate end to the use of opiods by injured workers. Instead, other options provide remediation periods to gradually reduce the use of drugs prescribed as part of a regimen.

Any type of denial of workers' compensation benefits mandates the help of an experienced attorney with knowledge of the current laws and proposed changes.

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