Bill Addressing Costs, Opioid Abuse Under Workers’ Comp Sent to Governor

 

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Legislation introduced by Senator Don White (R-Indiana) that would save costs and address opioid abuse under Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation program is headed to the Governor for enactment into law.

Senate Bill 936, which was approved by the House of Representatives on Monday and by a strong bi-partisan vote in the Senate on October 25, 2017, would require the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry to adopt an evidence-based drug formulary for Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation program. 

“In addition to lowering costs and providing better care for patients, this proposal will greatly assist the Commonwealth in our battle against the opioid addiction crisis. The adoption of a drug formulary, which is commonplace in health insurance, will begin to reduce the over-prescription of opioid painkillers by setting evidence-based standards for the medication that can be prescribed for a Workers’ Comp patient,” Senator White said. “The legislation will also eliminate payments for overpriced, unproven pain creams.”

Senator White said his legislation would also address ethical problems illustrated in a Philadelphia newspaper article.

“Some law firms that specialize in Workers’ Compensation have purchased their own pharmacies,” Senator White said. “This has enabled them to refer clients to doctors with which they have referral agreements and, in turn, the doctors write prescriptions and send them to the pharmacy the firm owns. In addition to this ethically questionable practice, the newspaper article pointed out that arrangements such as these have led to increased prescriptions of opioids and expensive, unproven pain creams. While the article only addresses one Philadelphia law firm, the problem is statewide.”

Contact: Joe Pittman jpittman@pasen.gov