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Study Shows Michigan has Largest Opioid Decrease in Work Comp

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280|

June 28, 2017 - A new study shows Michigan had the largest decrease in the amount of opioids prescribed per workers' compensation claims between 2009-15. According to the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), the 37 percent decrease was due, in large part, to the Workers’ Compensation Agency’s (WCA) amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Health Care Services rules and fee schedule. The amended rules began in 2014 and prevented reimbursements for opioid treatment beyond 90 days for non-cancer related chronic pain, unless detailed physician reporting requirements and other processes were met.

Study Shows Michigan has Largest Opioid Decrease in Work Comp

“Opioid abuse is a major concern in our state, especially for those who are hurt on the job,” said WCA Director Mark Long. “The WCA is focused on keeping injured Michigan workers healthy by reducing potential addiction problems.”

The WCRI study, Interstate Variations in Use of Opioids, 4th Edition, examined interstate variations and trends in the use of opioids and prescribing patterns of pain medications across 26 states. The study compares the number of opioids prescribed per claim over a six-year period.

The Snyder Administration has a multi-faceted effort in the fight against the opioid epidemic. In April, the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs launched a new Michigan Automated Prescription Drug System that puts the state at the forefront of prescription drug monitoring technology. In May, Gov. Snyder authorized an order allowing pharmacists to dispense naloxone, a lifesaving medication that reverses opioid overdoses. The governor, along with a group of bipartisan legislators, has also unveiled a comprehensive legislative package to tackle prescription drug abuse.

Michigan's injured workers and their employers are governed by the Workers' Disability Compensation Act. This Act was first adopted in 1912 and provides compensation to workers who suffer an injury on the job and protects employers' liability. The mission of the Workers' Compensation Agency is to efficiently administer the Act and provide prompt, courteous and impartial service to all customers.

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