The Opioid Crisis’ Effect on Your Business

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that opioid prescriptions nearly quadrupled between 1999 and 2013. Prescription opioids include medicines such as Vicodin, morphine and methadone. Opioid addiction is a tragedy for individuals and their families, but it is also having a profound impact on businesses and organizations. Consider: An economist at Goldman Sachs reported in July 2017 that addiction to opioids is partly responsible for the failure of many prime working-age men to rejoin the workforce since the end of the Great Recession. The National Safety Council has reported that 39% of employers have experienced absenteeism…
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Drug Use Skyrockets among American Workers

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Drug use is rapidly increasing among American workers, as more states liberalize marijuana laws, cocaine makes a resurgence and more people abuse amphetamines and heroin. A new study by Quest Diagnostics Inc., a workplace drug-testing lab, found that the number of workers testing positive for illicit drugs is higher than at any time in the last 12 years. That puts employers in a tricky predicament, particularly if employees are using at work, which could reduce productivity and also make them more susceptible to workplace injuries since they may not be as focused as they should be on their work. In…
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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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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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New Legislation Aims to Cut Workers’ Comp Drug Costs

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Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign recently passed legislation that could further reduce workers’ comp claims costs in California. The Legislature in September passed AB 1124, which would establish a new drug formulary that would limit the types of medications that can be used to treat injured workers. The law is seen as vital to controlling costs as the cost of some medications – particularly off-label, compound medications and specialty drugs – continues to rise at a quickening pace. Also, because California’s workers’ comp system lacks a drug formulary, payers have often complained of price-gouging for certain pharmaceuticals, like…
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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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Court Lets Injured Workers Sue for Their Opioid Addictions

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A new state supreme court decision allowing patients to sue doctors and pharmacies for contributing to their opioids addiction could spill over to the workers’ comp arena, legal experts say. Workers’ comp experts told the trade publication Business Insurance that insurers and employers should put measures in place to reduce the chances of overprescribing of the highly addictive and potent painkillers to injured workers. In the case at hand, 28 people filed eight lawsuits in West Virginia, alleging that medical centers and doctors had prescribed and dispensed drugs that led them to abuse and become addicted to opioids, according to…
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