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Comp industry could see push for pain management, tech improvements

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A push to reduce opioid addiction through alternative pain management and potential changes in federal laws and regulations are among the issues that employers should watch for in 2017, according to a report from Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc.

Pain management will remain at the forefront of workers compensation industry discussions due to the legalization of medical marijuana and the opioid epidemic, Sedgwick said in its "Insights for 2017," released on Tuesday.

A "consumer-centric" model of claims management could also take the forefront this year, including using technology to provide faster communication with injured or ill workers, the third-party administrator said in the report.

“In the past, it was enough to provide claim and case details through push technology, seamless payment processing and direct bank deposits. Now, the gold standard is to provide a consumer-focused experience where access to resources and data are a click away,” Sedgwick said.

On the regulation side, employers will continue to manage compliance-related issues responding to ongoing changes in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act, Sedgwick said. Newly elected officials in California, New York, and Florida could also impact workers comp and health care compliance for employers.