The prescription of opioid painkillers has become a disturbingly common part of workers' compensation benefits, especially here in California. A new report from California Workers' Compensation Institute has found that, while opioid prescriptions remain a prominent part of California's workers' comp system, the number of prescriptions overall is decreasing.
As Business Insurance reports, opioid prescriptions make up more than a quarter of all prescriptions involved with California workers' compensation cases. While that number (from 2014) is fairly high, it is an improvement over the opioid prescription rate of 2009, which peaked at nearly 32%.
Experts and advocates have been warning against the widespread prescription of opioid painkillers for some time. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "there is a serious and worsening epidemic of overuse of prescription pain medications in the United States." Opioids, in particular, are considered "extremely addictive" and have led to arise in dependence and overdoses in patients.
Hope for the Formulary
Lawmakers and advocates are hoping to reduce the opioid prescriptions even further by taking new measures to oversee workers' compensation prescriptions and implement drug monitoring programs. Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 1124, a bill that will establish a statewide drug formulary in 2017. A formulary will help establish statewide criteria for medication and prevent unnecessary prescriptions to habit-forming medications like opioids.
"A.B. 1124 will provide effective and evidence-based treatment for injured workers while reducing delays and medical disputes," said CA Chamber of Commerce policy advocate Jeremy Merz last year. "This legislation furthers the goal of a balanced workers' compensation system that provides timely benefits to injured workers and minimizes friction in the system."
If you have been seriously hurt at work, then you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits—benefits that both your employer and your insurance provider may be hesitant to relinquish. At the Law Offices of Wax & Wax, our knowledgeable and experienced Glendale workers' compensation attorneys have more than 100 in combined legal experience in securing the benefits and relief injured workers deserve.
Start exploring your workers' compensation options with us today. Call 818.946.0608 now.