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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




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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