Your ANSwer for Workers' Compensation Medical Cost Containment

Is Regulation the Answer to Rising Pharma Costs?

National pressure has been building for government regulation on pharmaceutical costs.  A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 72% of Americans think drug costs are unreasonable and demand more transparency from drug companies, especially when it comes to how they set prices.(1) In the face of this discourse, the accountability of pharmaceutical companies has grown as a key focus of recent state and federal regulations.

In the state of Vermont, expensive prescriptions drugs distributed by manufacturers must now justify their exorbitant costs, according to a newly […]

By |August 30th, 2016|Medical Cost Containment, Pharmaceutical Cost Containment, Workers Compensation Payers|Comments Off on Is Regulation the Answer to Rising Pharma Costs?
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    The Importance of a Multifaceted Approach to Medical Cost Containment

The Importance of a Multifaceted Approach to Medical Cost Containment

The biggest hurdle in workers’ compensation medical cost containment is that the injured worker is not getting better. Even though WC claims have steadily declined over the last decade, medical costs keep rising as do the sub-par outcomes for the patient and the payer. What we are seeing is that the inter-connectivity of many factors is hindering the end goal of optimized outcomes. A multidimensional approach is crucial not only for combatting pharma costs, but also for ensuring optimal outcomes for injured workers.

At the end of the […]

By |August 15th, 2016|Medical Cost Containment, Pharmacotherapy Review, Workers Compensation Payers|Comments Off on The Importance of a Multifaceted Approach to Medical Cost Containment

Examining the Effects of Price-Focused Reform

Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) recently conducted a series of studies aimed at examining the effects that federal and state regulations are having on the reduction of pharma spend. What the industry is seeing is an emerging trend in physician prescription reimbursement that begs the question, is price-focused reform effective?

One particular regulation, enacted to cap prices paid by tying the maximum reimbursement to average whole price (AWP) has left physicians in certain states dispensing new drug strengths and formulations […]

By |July 28th, 2016|Pharmaceutical Cost Containment, Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on Examining the Effects of Price-Focused Reform

How Common is Illegal Drug Use Among Pain Patients?

At the American Pain Society’s 35th Annual Scientific Meeting in Austin, findings were released on the use of illicit substances among chronic pain patients. Of 450,081 patients included in a study by Baltimore-based pain medication monitoring firm Ameritox, 10.4% of urine samples tested positive for the use of at least one illicit substance.

How Many of Those Identified Were Workers Comp Patients?
Workers compensation was the primary payer for 22,525 of the 450,081 patients in the study, conducted between January 2013 and July 2015, which showed the use of illicit substances […]

Opioids Still the Top Prescribed Drug in California

Using data derived from the 10.8 million workers comp prescriptions dispensed between January 2005 and December 2014, a recently released report by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute identified opioids as the number one prescribed drug in California’s workers’ compensation system.

Report findings indicate that opioid prescriptions accounted for 27.2% of total prescribed pharmaceuticals. In addition, the average cost of opioid prescriptions rose by 85% from $61 to $113. In comparison, other prescription drugs within the same time frame experienced only a 39% increase, from $94 to $131. The report also […]

By |June 28th, 2016|Opioid Abuse, Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on Opioids Still the Top Prescribed Drug in California

Putting the Injured Worker First

In the workman’s comp industry, significant effort is put toward breaking the pharmaceutical cost cycle for Payers. As the industry fights for savings, however, injured workers often get lost in the shuffle. The nameless and faceless many among worker’s comp injury statistics are quite removed from the system they rely upon.

Bottom Line Statistics Means Poor Outcomes for Injured Workers

As political pundits fight for special interests, benefit caps are set with no relation to each state’s average weekly wage, ignoring improved wage data and analytical methods that could mend take-home […]

By |June 15th, 2016|Drug Utilization Review, Medical Cost Containment, Workers Compensation Payers|Comments Off on Putting the Injured Worker First
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    CDC Opioid Guidelines Sheds Light on Conflicting Expert Opinions

CDC Opioid Guidelines Sheds Light on Conflicting Expert Opinions

The CDCs latest opioid prescribing guidelines, released this March, were created with the goal of achieving balance between the analgesic and addictive properties of opioid analgesics, to uphold the safety as well as meet the pain management needs of the public at large. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding these guidelines points to a detrimental issue at the crux of their implementation: A fractured field – two expert, yet conflicting, schools of thought on the current opioid policy.

  • Treating chronic pain with a wider range of treatments, as opposed to relying mainly […]
By |May 31st, 2016|Pharmaceutical Industry, Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on CDC Opioid Guidelines Sheds Light on Conflicting Expert Opinions

Key Takeaways from a Recent National Safety Council Survey

Subsequent to the CDC’s new guidelines regarding the treatment of chronic pain, The National Safety Council (NSC) released its latest survey regarding doctor prescribing practices. Summarized below, the statistics

CDC Guidelines: Use non-opioid therapies first.
NSC Stats: 74% of doctors erroneously believe opioids (morphine, oxycodone) are the most effective way to treat pain.
The Missing Link: Research shows OTC pain meds (ibuprofen, acetaminophen) offer the most effective relief for acute pain.

CDC Guidelines: Do not use opioids for the routine treatment of chronic pain.
NSC Stats: 67% of doctors base there prescribing […]

By |May 15th, 2016|Drug Utilization Review, Medical Cost Containment, Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on Key Takeaways from a Recent National Safety Council Survey

Prescription Drug Abuse Knows No Bounds

Earlier this month, the American public was shocked by the untimely death of iconic pop legend Prince. Though autopsy results remain unreported, media coverage alleges that Prince was struggling with a prescription pill addiction to Percocet, receiving treatment for an opioid overdose just days before his death.

This post is not to re-hash celebrity news from various gossip reports but rather to point out the depth and breadth of the prescription drug epidemic. In the past decade, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson were […]

By |April 25th, 2016|Workers Compensation Payers|Comments Off on Prescription Drug Abuse Knows No Bounds
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    Effective Pharma Management Can Help Offset Increases in Prescription Costs

Effective Pharma Management Can Help Offset Increases in Prescription Costs

2015 saw rising drug prices contributing to the growth in pharmacy spending for American workers’ compensation payers. Meanwhile, opioid and compound drug cost management continues to be an Achilles heel. An effective pharma cost management program can offset these costs by aiming to improve pain treatment regimens for injured workers.

Pharmacotherapy Review Can Reduce Opioid Spend

Opioids continue to be the costliest class of medications for occupational injuries. To combat the rise in opioid utilization in chronic pain treatment of injured workers, ANS introduced a face-to-face and highly proactive approach to […]

By |April 1st, 2016|Drug Utilization Review, Medical Cost Containment, Pharmaceutical Cost Containment, Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on Effective Pharma Management Can Help Offset Increases in Prescription Costs