The Opioid Epidemic: Impact to Workers’ Compensation

Featured

Opioids, powerful painkillers that can be highly addictive, are causing a national health crisis that is also wreaking havoc in Arizona.

Arizona opioid-related deaths have reached alarming heights, prompting Gov. Doug Ducey to declare a public health emergency. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) reported more than 790 deaths, or two people every day, died from an opioid overdose in 2016. The trend shows a startling increase of 74 percent over the Continue reading

Law Curbs Over-prescription of Opioids for Work Comp Patients

Last week Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed SB1283, designed to curb the over-prescription of opioids and benzodiazepines (commonly called tranquilizers) by healthcare providers. The new law requires providers to get patient utilization reports from the state’s prescription monitoring program database before writing a new script for treatment. It also requires provider to make a quarterly check to make sure prescriptions are appropriate for the patient’s use.

Arizona joins 10 other states, including Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee in requiring medical providers to use databases before prescribing narcotics.

However, state law grants healthcare providers a one-year waiver from adhering to the new requirement if the provider says meeting the mandate cannot be done because of technological limitations beyond their control or exceptional circumstances.

Workers comp professionals had pushed for the new law as a way to reduce overuse and patient addiction. The law covers prescriptions for Schedule II, III and IV controlled substances.