According to the New York Times, New Jersey workers comp insurers are dealing with another cost from an unexpected adversary; painkillers.
When painkillers are used too early in treatment, too long, or too frequently, it significantly drives up medical expenses and delays the employee’s return to work. For example, a study by the California Workers compensation Institute found that workers who took high doses of painkillers to treat injuries stayed out of work three times longer than those with similar injuries who took lower doses. Furthermore, the cost of a workplace injury is nine times more expensive when a strong painkiller is used.
Approximately $1.4 billion is spent annually on narcotic painkillers- stronger opiods such as OxyCotin, Percocet and Duragesic. Payouts to workers with routine injuries who were treated with strong painkillers have risen, and employee’s return to work has been delayed significantly. Injured workers who are prescribed high doses of painkillers can face years of chronic pain and difficult treatments.
There are multiple medical concerns about the effects of prescription pain medication as well. Drowsiness, lethargy, and overdosing and addiction can all result from high doses of painkillers. Many times, according to the article, painkilles are prescribed too soon and in high doses- they are also widely prescribed to treat common problems, with little research pointing to long term benefits.
Some insurers are trying to reduce the overuse of drugs. One proposal in New York would require a doctor to refer to patients with a stagnant recovery rate to a pain specialists when a painkiller dose exceeds a certain level.
At Vreeland Insurance, New Jersey Workers Comp insurance is one of our key specialty programs, working with a number of leading insurance companies to provide quality coverage at competitive pricing. We will also evaluate your policy to see if your employees are properly classified and you’re paying the rates you should for New Jersey Workers Comp Insurance. Contact us today for more information.