The US Department of Labor’s Division of Federal Employee Compensation has issued new guidelines for the use of opioids to treat injured federal employees. There has been significant nationwide concern over the growing opioid addiction epidemic across America and we should expect more changes to come, at the state levels as well.
Here is the gist of the new opioid guidelines.
- Implementation is set for August 2017
- Opioids can be prescribed for an initial 60 days. However, the prescription must be broken down to two 30 prescriptions each.
- After the initial 60 day prescription, then to extend opioids, the treating physician must complete a Letter of Medical Neccessity (LMN). A LMN must be completed for any subsequent prescriptions.
- Compound medications containing opioids must alway be prescribed with a LMN. This guidelines goes into effect as of June 26, 2017.
The use of narcotic painkillers has been steadily increasing, and with that rise in use has come addiction, abuse and resulting deaths. Many estimates put opioid use three times higher this decade than previous decades. Unfortunately, patients with long-term injuries are readily prescribed narcotic pain medications and that use has created significant dependency issues for many users, especially those suffering from arthritis and back injury. In many instances, insurance companies simply find it much cheaper to pay for opioid prescriptions than other treatments, including surgical procedures, that could provide much more effective long-term relief.
I suspect we will start to see similar measures rolled out in state Workers’ Compensation programs.
If you are an injured Federal Government employee, or you have suffered any work injury in the private sector and live in Pennsylvania or Maryland, contact Mooney & Associates today for a FREE consultation. Don’t risk it going alone. You have too much to lose. You can call us at 717-200-HURT.