Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda

Oct
28

Big doings in the world of opioid management…

While we’ve been marveling at the truckloads shiploads of dollars investors are pouring into work comp service companies, there’s been a lot more activity of much greater import out in the real world.

Here’s a quick update on the latest news in opioids, and opioid management.

Barry Meier continues to do the best national reporting on opioids; his piece this morning on moving Vicodin(r) et al to the Schedule II list is great reporting indeed.

Why is this necessary?  Mike Whitely’s eye-opener in WorkCompCentral summarizes a report from the Trust for America’s Health on stopping the prescription drug abuse epidemic. Couple of most distressing items:

  • more than one of every ten teens reported “non-medical” use of prescription drugs
  • Drug overdose deaths doubled in 29 states over ten years
  • Drug overdoses now kill more 25-64 year olds than motor vehicle accidents

A big part of the solution is instituting real prescription drug monitoring programs; Kudos to the Pennsylvania House for passing (191 – 7!!) legislation addressing prescription drug monitoring; a new bill is in progress that would require docs and dispensers to report controlled substance scripts within 72 hours, with the directive that a “real-time” reporting requirement should be implemented as soon as possible.  (hat tip to work comp central).

TPA Broadspire is doing good work on opioids; they report encouraging results as almost three-quarters of claimants in their pain management program reported a significant decrease in drug usage (mostly opioids). These were mostly long-term claimants, with an average claim duration of 8.1 years.

And we’re about to wrap up the work on our Survey of Opioid Management in Workers’ Comp; a webinar is scheduled for November 12 at 2 pm; I’ll get sign-up info out tomorrow.

Thanks to CID Management for sponsoring the Survey.


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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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