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Rule targets greater opioid controls for workplace injuries

Rule targets greater opioid controls for workplace injuries

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation has proposed a rule that, among other things, defines the best medical practices for the use of opioids to treat workplace injuries and illnesses.

Proposed during the bureau's Board of Directors Medical Services and Safety Committee's most recent meeting, the rule would limit reimbursement for opioid prescriptions to claims that follow best medical practices, such as the development of an individualized treatment plan and risk assessment, the bureau's acting Administrator and CEO Sarah Morrison said in a Thursday statement.

“The goal is to ensure best practices are followed at the onset of an injury, and throughout the course of treatment so injured workers receive care that ultimately improves their condition,” the statement says.

The rule also allows the bureau to treat opioid dependence caused by medications it covers through psychological counseling, for example, according to the statement.

In addition, a peer-review process would address a prescriber's failure to comply with best practices, the statement says.

“While opioid prescriptions are often an appropriate part of treatment for workplace injuries and illnesses, we know that long-term use can actually hinder recovery and a timely return to work,” Ms. Morrison said in the statement. “Ohio's injured workers deserve the best possible treatment that addresses their medical needs without facing the life-changing consequences of opioid dependence or addiction.”

The Board of Directors is expected to vote on the proposal, which would become effective Oct. 1, during its May 26 meeting.

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