11.18.2016, 4:32:00 PM

Opioid Use and NC Workers’ Compensation

As we have previously reported, the North Carolina Industrial Commission was tasked to investigate a prescription formulary for North Carolina State workers.  The results of the investigation were published earlier this year.  The Commission considered the potential savings, benefits, and implementation procedures of a drug formulary, not just for State workers, but for the workers' compensation system as a whole.  Also requested specifically by the General Assembly, the Commission also investigated the use of narcotic drugs and the growing health problem of opioid use.


The results of the investigation included a general statement that given the complexity of drug formulary implementation, the Commission recommended additional time and resources be spent evaluating the costs and benefits associated with a formulary.  The Commission recognized that, in the meantime, a generic mandate could have potential savings.  Specifically for this post, the Commission stated that strong consideration should also be given as to how opioids are treated in the North Carolina workers’ compensation system. 


A new Wall Street Journal article published recently offers a new option in which the Commission may have interest.  The article discusses that insurers, such as Liberty Mutual and Broadspire, are using algorithms to suggest other treatment options after a certain number of opioid refills. 


Given that the North Carolina Industrial Commission has utilized new technology to help identify non-insureds, the use of a computer program to aid management of this potential epidemic is very interesting.  It would not be surprising if the Commission’s further work on this subject included new technology in this area.



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