"The research is clear that inappropriate opioid use is a critically important topic for the workers' compensation community to address," the guide states. "The epidemic is damaging lives and driving up costs."
Reducing Inappropriate Opioid Use in Treatment of Injured Workers: A Policy Guide was developed with a "diverse coalition of policy makers, agency administrators, medical practitioners, industry leaders, and other experts," the association said.
The guide discusses policy options related to a variety of issues such as:
- Treatment guidelines.
- Monitoring patients.
- Physician documentation.
- Continuing education requirements.
- Prescription drug monitoring programs.
It also includes an index of existing statutes and policies related to opioids by jurisdiction, as well as a listing of state and industry resources.
"The guide stresses the complex nature of this challenge and recognizes that each jurisdiction will have different legal constraints and political realities that must be considered," the guide says. "The IAIABC encourages jurisdictions to evaluate each of the elements of this guide and to use them in crafting a response that will be successful within their legislative and regulatory system."
The guide offers discussions and recommendations on topics such as agency coordination. It suggests all relevant agencies review a jurisdiction's existing statutes, rules, and relevant policies of nongovernmental agencies that address opioid prescriptions. "Only in this way can agencies learn what new legal authority is needed to address specific issues in that jurisdiction," according to the guide.
A section on continuing education requirements suggests they be carefully coordinated with licensing/certification bodies within a jurisdiction rather than adopted by the workers' comp agency. Another section suggests the mandatory use of prescription drug monitoring programs be considered only after "the database is fully operational, the data accuracy is validated, and it is easy to use for medical providers."
"The development of this publication required countless hours of discussion, research, and review by many. The IAIABC is proud of the consensus reached by the Medical Issues Committee and the Executive Committee," said Christine Baker, president of the IAIABC and director of the California Department of Industrial Relations. "Jurisdictional leaders will find the content informative, balanced, and practical."
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
November 4, 2013
Copyright 2013© LRP Publications