This has been a busy few months for legislators attempting to deal with the opioid crisis in all areas of health care – including workers comp. Many states have enacted stricter guidelines for providers. While specific requirements vary by state, the message is clear – opioids should not be over-prescribed or considered the standard of care for pain management. Here’s a snapshot of the most recent:
FLORIDA: Governor Scott signed HB21 (effective July 1) requiring a maximum of a three day
supply for opioids (with some exceptions).
NEW JERSEY: Governor Murphy recently approved the state Department of Health
suggestions to approve the use of medical marijuana for the following conditions: Anxiety,
migraines, Tourette’s Syndrome, chronic pain from musculoskeletal disorders and chronic visceral pain). In a recent case, a NJ workers comp judge ruled that the use of medical marijuana was appropriate for an injured worker following several years of being prescribed opioids for pain management.
NORTH CAROLINA: Effective in May, opioids may only be prescribed for a 5 day supply and
7 days post-surgery.
PENNSYLVANIA: Governor Tom Wolf introduced opioid prescription guidelines for workers
comp and urged providers to conduct a full medical evaluation to include urine screen and
In a letter to the FDA, ACOEM stated the use of opioids for long term treatment of pain is only appropriate if patient is experiencing improvement in function (for example walking, exercising and other everyday activities). They requested that the FDA add a health record indicator for physicians to record patient functioning program.
In our next article we will discuss the use of drug formularies in workers comp- going beyond just opioids and chronic pain medications.
Karin Maynard, V. P., Marketing