October/November 2021  Volume 19, Number 5        

This Just In ...

A new study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) examines the effectiveness of statewide electronic databases that track controlled substance prescriptions.

The databases are referred to as “must-access prescription drug monitoring programs” (PDMPs). The study also examines the impact of recent regulations limiting the duration of initial opioid prescriptions for workers with work-related injuries.

The following are among the study’s findings:

  • Must-access PDMPs reduced the amount of opioids prescribed by 12 percent in the first year.
  • Regulations limiting duration of initial opioid prescriptions resulted in a 19 percent decrease in the amount of opioids among claims with opioids.
  • For most injuries, there was little evidence that workers increased the use of other types of care due to must-access PDMPs. However, for neurologic spine pain cases, the policies resulted in an increase in the number of non-opioid pain medications and an increase in whether workers had interventional pain management services.
  • Must-access PDMPs and limits on initial prescriptions had little impact on the duration of temporary disability benefits captured within 12 months after an injury.

The study, “Effects of Opioid-Related Policies on Opioid Utilization, Nature of Medical Care, and Duration of Disability,” estimates the effects of state-level opioid policies by comparing outcomes in states that adopted the policies relative to states that did not, while accounting for other factors that could have influenced changes in opioid utilization and the other outcomes studied.

The authors of this study are David Neumark and Bogdan Savych. To learn more about this study or to download a copy, visit https://tinyurl.com/yfdfk766

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In this issue:

This Just In...

OSHA Urges Employers to Require Vaccinations

Updates on “Long Haul COVID” Claims

Mental Health Recognized as Significant Workplace Issue

Workers Comp Basics: Disability Apportionment



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