Doctors prescribing fewer opioids for workers’ compensation patients in Michigan.
A new article published by Insurance Journal reports a noticeable drop in opioid prescriptions for patients on workers’ compensation. This is based upon a WCRI study that looked at twenty-five different states over a two year period. Michigan saw a 31% decrease from 2012 through 2014.
We have blogged about opioid prescriptions on many different occasions. It remains a hot topic this election season as experts agree that overuse leads to addiction. Many communities are fighting heroin addiction and point to opioids as the gateway drug.
Opioids have been a concern in workers’ compensation for many years. New administrative rules were published by the Michigan Workers Compensation Agency in 2014 prohibiting reimbursement beyond 90 days unless detailed physician reporting requirements and other processes are met.
Cost of medical treatment has also been a concern for employers and insurers. It has been reported by the New York Times that a typical claim balloons from $13,000 to $39,000 when a short-acting opioid is prescribed. This number grows to $117,000 when a long-acting opioid is used.
Our 2 cents on opioid abuse
Many of our clients suffer from chronic pain and need some relief. We believe that a one-size-fits-all approach never works in medicine. Doctors should be given deference in how they treat each patient. While guidelines are helpful, more bureaucracy is not.
Patients who become addicted to opioids are still covered under Michigan workers’ compensation. The insurance company is responsible for any medical treatment that helps break the addiction. This includes other prescription medications and inpatient treatment facilities. Wage loss benefits continue while the individual is recovering and remains disabled.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by .v1ctor Casale..