Leading the Way in Reducing Opioid Prescriptions

Written by on 9/27/2017 3:20 AM in , , , , . It has 0 Comments.

The workers comp arena is outperforming traditional healthcare settings in reducing the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed.

Impressive News
According to U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) data, despite attempts to increase awareness of opioid dangers, prescriptions continue to rise. The average days’ supply has climbed 33% from 13-days in 2006 to nearly 18-days in 2014 – three times as high as 1999 numbers. In workers’ comp cases, however, a study released in June by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Workers Compensation Research Institute shows frequency and strength of opioid prescriptions decreasing year-over-year.

Clear Incentives
It's believed the extra hoops workers comp prescribers must jump through in order to dispense opioid prescriptions are contributing to the decline. Claims management programs and workcomp formularies calling for utilization reviews are a major motivator, as is the reduction in claims costs. Downers Grove, Illinois-based Coventry, found an 8.5% drop in opioid use coincided with a 9.9% decrease in cost-per-claim when comparing current data to 2015 figures.

Future Impact
The CDC is now working on analyzing the collected data to better understand how it can further spur change in the opioid epidemic. It's now known that the benefits of opioids in chronic pain management were overestimated while risks were marginalized. It's also known that opioids have been increasingly prescribed for a glut of problems, for longer time periods and at progressively higher doses. CDC report co-author Dr. Debbie Dowell admitted necessary practice changes often take years to implement despite evidence of safer/more effective options.

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