ANS recently attended the 2016 WCRI Annual Issues & Research Conference. The independent, not-for-profit institute studies and delivers objective information pertaining to public policy issues involving the workers’ comp system.



Conference Panel Highlights:

  • Opioid Prescribing in Workers’ Comp
    • Overview:
      Opioids are a societal problem – not just a workers’ comp issue, and it will take a decade to dig ourselves out. Guidelines are necessary to combat the growing trend.
    • Positive Trends:
      Prescription frequency varies widely by state, leading to revised prescribing guidelines in medical/workers’ comp communities. Retail pharmacies are no longer simply filling, but verifying diagnosis/necessity. The DEA/FDA are also reclassifying some medications to reflect abuse potential, and activist groups supporting change are emerging.
    • Negative Trends:
      A major problem in the workers’ comp arena, the need for early intervention/monitoring is being overlooked by employers, and subsequently programs. Conflicting guidelines also cause confusion. Additionally, use of heroin, the cheaper alternative to prescription opioids, is on the rise.
    • Goals:
      Curtail chronic opioid use and ensure appropriate prescribing of opioids to injured workers and avoid unintended results by boosting awareness of the issue.
  • Opioid Dispensing and Use
    • Overview:
      Yet-to-be published studies reveal the impact of pricing reforms for opioid dispensing physicians.
    • Physician Dispensing:
      Following reforms, prices decreased in most states, with fewer prescriptions dispensed. In IL and FL prices substantially increased – because physicians switched to formulations not covered in fee schedules. Price/amounts of pharmacy-dispensed products remained constant.
    • Variations in Use:
      Three-of-four injured workers nationwide receive opioids for pain. LA, NY, and PA dispense significantly higher amounts; NY and PA higher dosages. Patients who received opioids also received benzodiazepines in WI, MI, CT and MA. Per claim amounts decreased from 2012-2014, and frequency of drug testing increased significantly.

As an industry leader in large loss workers compensation claim management, ANS is setting the pace for drug utilization review with our proprietary Pharmacotherapy Review, helping fight the trend of the over-prescription of narcotics. Contact today.