When a worker is injured on the job, those involved - the worker, the employer, the insurance company and medical professionals - have one goal in common: to get the employee back to work as quickly as possible. While this may be based on good intentions, sometimes the rush to get back to work can cause more problems than the original injury. Some of those involve the treatment options prescribed for recovery.
One of the biggest problems in treating pain from injury is prescribing drugs that are highly addictive. Even as the worker heals and pain subsides, the need to continue taking the drug may increase. Opiods are one of the main categories that create these addictions. California has recently passed a bill with a goal to better regulate those drugs and how they are prescribed to injured workers.
Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill which will establish a formulary for drugs prescribed for workers' compensation purposes. Other states have already created this system and others are currently considering it. The formulary's goal is to change the focus from dangerous addictive drugs to treat chronic pain to more appropriate medications including those that are recently approved by the FDA. Another advantage of the formulary that has been seen in other states is a significant reduction in pharmacy costs in the workers' compensation system.
The formulary will have a list of approved drugs that control the drugs that can be prescribed as well controlling the prices of the drugs. These uniform standards prevent rouge prescriptions that may not be in the best interest of the patient. One state had a ten percent reduction in prescription of opiods during the first year.
With or without a formulary, the workers' compensation process can be difficult to navigate. Even if the formulary system cuts costs, other factions of the workers' compensation system will still want to save money by denying benefits or cost-cutting as much as possible. Having representation with a workers' compensation attorney can help guide you through this process and get you the benefits you deserve.
Source: Claims Journal, "More States Look to Workers' Comp Drug Formularies," Denise Johnson, Oct. 19, 2015
Secondary Source: Business Insurance, "California closed formulary for workers comp prescriptions approved," Stephanie Goldberg, Oct. 7,2015