As 2019 comes to end it is important to look back and understand the popular trends in the Workers’ Compensation industry and look forward to what 2020 could hold. As a constantly evolving industry, it is important to stay up to date on the current atmosphere of workers’ compensation in order for our attorneys to do their job best for our clients.
One major and essential practice was monitoring programs for prescription drugs. Almost all 50 states have implemented new data bases and regulations when prescribing opioids. Doctors are now handling injuries with more precaution and are prescribing workers’ compensation patients with physical therapy and other non-habit forming remedies before resorting to opioids. Many states have seen a significant reduction in opioid related deaths and have passed official legislative rulings to maintain this reduction in opioid abuse.
In addition to reducing opioid prescriptions, states are mandating electronic prescribing of controlled substances. While New York has implemented this for both controlled and non-controlled substances since 2016, many states are following their lead in an effort to better control the prescription of controlled substances. By removing the use of paper and faxed prescriptions providers can regulate and supervise claimants’ recovery plans.
Another welcomed trend was increasing coverage for our first responders. States recognized that the risks and hazards first responders face are above most average positions. Many states have permitted first responders to file workers’ compensation claims for exposure to dangerous substances that have led to the development of cancer and other serious illnesses and post-traumatic stress disorder from traumatic events encountered while on the job. This is a great step in providing our first responders with the rights they deserve.
What trends can we expect in 2020?
In looking forward to 2020, experts expect to see states follow and mimic New York’s compensation drug formulary as a guideline for new legislation. This process requires doctors to get pre-authorization and sufficient documentation on why opioids prescriptions are needed for treatment. Another trend to look for in 2020 is Medical Marijuana prescribed over opioids. While many are looking for better alternatives than opioids for treating pain, New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in favor of an injured worker using medical marijuana to help treat their injuries. With New York’s compensation drug formulary it may prove difficult to get such prescriptions authorized by the carriers.
The attorneys at McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan are committed to staying up to date on the latest Workers’ Compensation trends to best serve our clients’ needs. Our firm strives to provide aggressive representation combined with creative legal solutions to protect injured workers against those that would deprive them of their legal rights. If you have any questions, please call our office at 866-557-7500.