Measure Aims to Reduce Unnecessary Opioid Prescriptions

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Employers and insurers in California are enthusiastic about the prospects of legislation that aims to reduce the chances of injured workers getting hooked on opioids when they are recovering from workplace injuries. Senate Bill 482, which is sailing the through the Legislature, would require doctors to first check the state’s prescription drug monitoring system before writing a prescription for opioids. The bill is moving through the state Legislature after a new study found that doctors have been seriously curtailing the amount of opioid prescriptions they write to injured workers. The study found that stronger laws on prescription drug monitoring were…
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Cumulative Trauma Claims Rising Fast

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A new and costly trend is affecting workers’ compensation as more cases involve what’s known as “cumulative trauma” – or injuries that develop over an extended period of time from repetitive or continuous motions. Often these injuries are due to excessive wear and tear on tendons, muscles and sensitive nerve tissue that can leave a worker unable to perform their job due to pain. They can arise in any profession where a worker performs the same motion over and over again. Interestingly though, many of the new cases are being filed after employees are fired and they are primarily being…
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Identifying Problem Workers’ Comp Claims, Fraud with Predictive Modeling

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With decades of information in their databases, many insurers have started using those statistics to their advantage to intervene earlier in problem claims and to identify potential fraud. With years of data to rely on, insurers have identified certain triggers that can indicate that a claim may require additional intervention and more hands-on management. The predictive modeling program will alert a claims adjuster when it identifies certain parameters or events. This early identification of problem claims is helping employers and insurers achieve better outcomes for injured workers, as well as save money and time. As the trend continues, it should…
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Workers’ Comp Medical Costs Fall in Wake of Reforms

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The workers’ comp reforms in 2013 have generated surprising cost savings in treating injured workers in California, with overall medical costs per claim falling 8% over a three-year period. That’s in contrast to the years of inflation before the reforms, when the average medical costs per claim were increasing by an average of 6.5% a year. The new study by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California dissected claims costs between July 2012 and June 2015, finding the medical cost savings were greater than originally anticipated. SB 863 increased benefits effective January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2014 and…
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Drug Testing in Workers’ Comp Skyrockets

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Drug testing of injured workers by treating doctors has skyrocketed over the past seven years as painkiller abuse continues and physicians want to monitor their patients for staying with their prescribed drug regimen. The use of urine drug testing on injured workers in California increased 2,431% between 2007 and 2014, according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI). During that period, urine drug tests grew from 10% to 59% of all California workers’ compensation laboratory services, while drug testing reimbursements increased from 23% to 77% of all lab payments in the system. The rapid increase reflects the growing concern among…
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