After failing to approve model language developed by many volunteers working many hours over many months, the IAIABC’s Executive Committee came out with a press release discussing their decision.
First, kudos to the EC for the release. This is a very contentious and highly visible issue, so the release helps explain the decision. However, the explanation itself has done little to tamp down the furor over the non-decision.
Second, the entire workers comp world had this as a no-brainer; of COURSE the IAIABC would approve model language; opioids are widely recognized as one of if not the biggest problems in workers’ compensation, the model language development process had been going on for over a year, and there was no real indication from the EC that they had significant problems with the language. As the trade group for WC regulators, the IAIABC absolutely would be out front on this.
The guidelines were going to be discussed in a session at Operation Unite’s National Rx Drug Abuse Summit in April, a session that has been cancelled. They were also going to be reviewed in another session at the same conference; obviously that’s not going to happen either.
The press release did say the EC wants the language re-done;
“adopting model legislation and regulation on opioid use could be interpreted as too narrow and restrictive for jurisdictions. The Executive Committee was concerned the models could unintentionally create conflict in jurisdictions that may be already taking steps to initiate regulations for appropriate guidelines. However, they contain valuable information, and as such the Executive Committee is asking that the issues addressed in the drafts be re-framed to offer policy considerations rather than a single policy response.”
Michael Gavin, who worked long and hard on the guidelines wrote at PRIUM’s Evidence-based blog that the EC’s failure to approve the model language:
is absolute nonsense and an abject failure on the part of this organization.
I cannot understand how “model” legislation would in any way harm a jurisdiction. Can the elected leaders in any one of our great states not resist the vast power and influence of the IAIABC? Is there no way that a suggested regulatory framework could be changed to the suit the needs of a specific jurisdiction? Does the IAIABC hold such incredible sway over state legislatures throughout the land that the mere mention of controlling opioid abuse through model laws would cause political, cultural, and clinical mayhem?
Normally a reserved and diplomatic individual, Michael is saying what many others are thinking. I’m guessing some members of the EC may have been surprised by the reaction to their decision. IF they were, they shouldn’t have been. This was, and still is, an opportunity for the IAIABC to lead from the front, to use its considerable influence to begin to stop the dying, the ruining of individual lives and families, the outrageous expense, the societal damage.
If the IAIABC moves quickly to publish comprehensive, specific, and definitive language, the damage – to the organization and its reputation – will be minimized. Call it model language, an example, a guideline, a framework; whatever. If the process is extended and the result in any way nebulous, ambiguous, vague, or equivocal the damage done will be extensive and lasting.
The IAIABC has done much good work over its long history. The people who work at their offices in Madison, Wisconsin are dedicated, positive, very knowledgeable, and committed. I’ve met and worked with several members of the EC and been impressed; these are individuals who’ve spent their professional lives working in a highly politicized environment yet succeeding more often than not in making progress on key issues.
To the EC members who blocked approval, I beg of you – get this done, and get it done now.