Mich.: Rules Limit Comp Claimants’ Use of Painkillers

By Diane Cadrain January 15, 2015

Michigan tackled the problem of long term use of painkillers among workers’ compensation claimants by issuing a new set of regulations, effective Dec. 26, 2014, limiting opioid prescriptions to 90 days.

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

The new rules define opioid drugs as analgesics such as morphine, codeine, and methadone used for the relief of pain. After the effective date of the new rules, a doctor prescribing their use for more than 90 days must submit written reports, starting 90 days after the initial prescription, and every 90 days thereafter, focusing on details showing that the doctor is aware of the worker’s medical history and prior drug use and is making a conscientious effort to reduce pain through the use of non-opioid medications or alternative medical approaches.

For those physicians that do not complete the report, denial of reimbursement may occur only after a reasonable period for weaning the injured worker from the opioid medications, and alternative means of pain management have been offered.

Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for more than 20 years.


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