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Sedgwick notes workers comp trends to watch in 2018

Posted On: Jan. 10, 2018 2:55 PM CST

Finding alternatives for pain management, expanding autonomous claims processes and controlling the opioid prescription drug crisis are among the workers compensation issues and trends that employers should watch for in 2018, according to a report from Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc.

Pain management will remain at the forefront of workers compensation industry discussions, and experts say they anticipate that there will be more collaboration between employers, physicians, pharmacists, claims specialists and patients as they move away from long-term drug therapy and test alternatives. These may include physical therapy, pharmacy management, physician-patient opioid contracts, pain coaching partnerships, behavioral health networks or alternative therapies, Sedgwick said in its Navigating 2018 report, released Tuesday.

The claims process will continue to become more autonomous, meaning on-demand claims adjusting services and “smart interfaces that push low-touch claims through the process more efficiently and effectively,” according to the report.

As a response to potential opioid dangers, structure is being built around the use of drugs within a workers comp claim through legislation, drug formularies and first-fill limitations, the report said.

Additionally, diversity and inclusion with claims management will be a key issue. With different populations and generations, the industry will need to adapt to address the needs of everyone, according to the report.