Michigan workers’ comp rules aim to curb opioid abuse

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Lansing, MI – The Michigan Workers’ Compensation Agency has amended some of its rules on prescription opioids in an effort to address drug abuse among injured workers.

Effective Dec. 26, the amended Workers’ Compensation Health Care Services rules require physicians to submit written reports to payers – such as insurance carriers – to receive reimbursements for painkiller treatment beyond 90 days for non-cancer-related chronic pain.

The report must include an analysis of relevant prior medical history, a statement explaining why prior or alternative measures were ineffective, and a treatment plan incorporating periodic drug screens and an effort to reduce pain through non-opioid medications.

“Prescription drug abuse in Michigan is a serious health concern,” WCA Director Kevin Elsenheimer said in a press release. “These amendments aim to limit potential addiction problems for injured Michigan workers, will help to keep them healthy and put them back to work.”

Prescription drug abuse has become a leading cause of death in the United States. About 45 people die every day from prescription pain medication overdoses, according to the National Safety Council.