The model legislation is "intended to ensure that prescription drugs used for the management of pain from a compensable occupational injury are administered safely within accepted medical standards and do not interfere with return to full function," according to a draft version. The document was under discussion at the IAIABC's recent annual convention in Newport, R.I.
Committee members noted that the draft model is not aimed at allowing insurers to control medical decisions. Instead, it seeks to authorize them to intervene via professional medical advisors to evaluate and control situations that appear to be outside of acceptable treatment guidelines.
Included in the draft model law is a management section that suggests rules be adopted for physicians to advise patients on the risks of long-term use of opioids and other procedures to avoid addiction. A separate draft model rule includes the following elements of management:
- An opioid agreement signed by the patient and physician. It should describe the limitations of opioid use in controlling for the specific pain, potential side effects of long-term use, risks of dependency, and the importance of therapy and other activities to relieve the symptoms. It also should include the physician's obligation to document improvements in pain and function and the patient's responsibilities such as disclosure of any substances being taken.
- Urine drug testing should be done randomly at least once per year and more often if there is evidence of misuse.
- The payer should receive various reports from the physician such as documentation of pain intensity and physical function using validated instruments, the daily dose of all opioids prescribed, and any prescriptions for opioids and other Schedule II drugs found by accessing a state's prescription drug monitoring program, where applicable.
In cases where opioid treatment continues for 90 days, the model rule requires the physician to submit to the paying party a report that includes information such as a treatment plan with time-limited goals for eliminating opioid use if there is not meaningful improvement in pain and function.
IAIABC officials said they expect to revise the draft to reflect discussions during the annual meeting.
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October 29, 2012
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