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Opioid Problem For Injured Workers Prompts New CA Regulations
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Opioid Problem For Injured Workers Prompts New CA Regulations

Under California Labor Code, doctors must provide evidence-based medical treatment. On December 1, 2017, evidence-based updates to the Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule were ordered by the Administrative Director of the California Division of Workers’ Compensation. On January 1, 2018, new formulary regulations that implement California Assembly Bill 1124, amending and adding sections to Chapter 525 of the California Labor Code go into effect.

An overall goal of these regulations is to provide for the health and safety of injured workers. As listed in the Statement of Reasons accompanying the formulary regulations through the CA Dept. of Industrial Relations website, additional goals of these new formulary regulations include:

• Providing “critical support for the effort to encourage safer prescribing of opioid pain relievers.”

• To “significantly reduce the rate of opioid-related adverse events, substance misuse and abuse.”

• To “streamline the provision of pharmaceutical treatment, and incentivize cost effective care within the current evidence-based MTUS and care delivery system.”

• To “promote the timely delivery of evidence-based medical treatment by eliminating prospective utilization review for exempt drugs used in accordance with the treatment guidelines.”

• To “reduce prescribing volume for some Non-exempt drugs – especially opioid analgesics – in an effort to lower rates of adverse events, drug-drug interactions, and, in the case of prescription opioid analgesics, potential misuse and abuse.”

The opioid prescription problem will likely be addressed by more states through similar regulations as the scope of the opioid problem grows larger and its effect on states’ workers is revealed.

See the text of the regulations and the accompanying Statement of Reasons here.

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