Ohio Creates Better Monitoring System for Prescription Drug Abuse in Workers Comp Cases
The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation has created a system to better monitor prescription drugs, especially pain and anti-anxiety medications, to help prevent drug abuse.
Starting in January 2014, the state-run workers comp insurance provider said it will no longer cover prescriptions for injured workers unless the provider enrolls in an automated reporting system, so the workers comp company can monitor potential abuse of opiate medications.
According to workers comp statistics, the bureau paid $38.2 million for 357,970 prescriptions for opiate pain killers to 39,028 claimants. While the workers comp bureau has not said specifically that they believe workers comp claimants are lying, growing national concern over prescription drug abuse has led the bureau to enact this monitoring system and try to stop drug abuse.
“Very much like other insurers or workers’ comp carriers, we had not paid a lot of attention to our drug utilization prior that time,” agency pharmacy director John Hanna said. “That’s why you see some of the dramatic changes. All we’ve done is introduce tools and introduce policies that should have been in place all along. So, we are playing catch up in a lot of aspects.”
The workers comp bureau did little to track opiate drugs until 2011, and since monitoring policies have been put into place, prescriptions for opiate drugs have dropped 28%, and muscle relaxant prescriptions dropped 73%, in 2013 compared to 2010.
The Ohio workers comp plan comes at a time when, nationwide, lawmakers are becoming more concerned over the steep rise in prescription drug addiction and overdose deaths. In January of this year, the FDA convened an advisory committee to hear evidence related to hydrocodone and related prescription painkillers, which voted in favor of reclassifying those prescription painkillers as Schedule II. The DEA has also pushed for this change for years. The FDA later agreed to back the recommendation.
“Rescheduling the products to Schedule II would create significant hardships for all — leading to delayed access for vulnerable patients with legitimate chronic pain,” said the National Community Pharmacists Association, in a statement.
If You Suffer On-the-Job Injury, Workers Comp Should Cover Your Medicine and Treatment
You are entitled to all necessary medical treatment that is likely to lessen your disability. Workers’ compensation generally pays for surgery, hospitalization, medical supplies, prosthetic devices, and prescriptions. Keep in mind that in order to receive these benefits you must go to the doctor chosen by your employer or its insurance representative.
You are entitled to compensation at the rate of 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage based on the four quarters prior to your injury, but no more than the maximum average weekly wage determined each year by the South Carolina Employment Security Commission. If you were working two or more jobs at the time of accident, those wages may be included as part of the average weekly wage and compensation rate.
If the insurance carrier stops your compensation, and if you disagree, complete Section III of the Form 15 and send it to the Commission’s Judicial Department.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Workers Comp Claims in South Carolina
The workers comp lawyers at The Strom Law Firm, LLC proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local county, city, and state government. We are licensed to practice throughout South Carolina, as well as Georgia and New York. If you are confused about worker’s comp laws, or have had your worker’s comp claim denied, contact us. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case.803.252.4800.