Recently published U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines effectively address the epidemic of prescription opioids in the initial treatment of chronic pain. However, workers’ compensation insurers, claims managers, employers and beneficiaries may be scratching their heads about application of the guidelines to claimants with established long-term treatment regimens that often include potent narcotics.
“One claim at a time” is how Robert E. Todd, M.D., Principal of Liverpool, N.Y.-based Forensic Medical Associates, describes his holistic, individualized process of workers’ compensation claims mitigation and how the CDC guidelines can be applied advantageously.
Todd, a board-certified neurologist and licensed pharmacist with extensive experience in pain management, likened the individualized approach promoted by the CDC as a key tenet in opioid overuse management.
“The difficult part for insurers comes in customizing a claims review to the medical and pharmaceutical requirements of the individual beneficiary in a universe that prefers a more cookie-cutter type approach. In workers’ compensation claims, you need a consultant with a unique combination of skill sets,” said Todd.
Forensic Medical Associates’ triad of treat, taper and time has been a successful prescription for treating claimants aggressively, tapering medications to their individual circumstances and getting them back to work in the least amount of time.
Through his combined experience as both a practicing pharmacist and physician, Todd has competently managed therapeutic substitutions that provided equivalent treatment with comparable results reducing the opiate overload.
This holistic, one claim at a time approach, yields substantial savings for insurers, quicker back-to-work times for employers and better quality of life for claimants.
Todd does not dispute the alarming opioid abuse statistics unveiled in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which published the CDC recommendations. “It is obviously a giant step in the right direction,” he said.
“The report is very forward thinking,” Todd concluded. “Unfortunately this sweeping reform ignores the present and will not change the immediate staggering problem of opioid overuse in workers’ compensation.”
Source: Forensic Medical Associates
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