What Could Proposed Changes To Pennsylvania's Workers Compensation Law Mean For You?

Law Blog

If you've recently been injured on the job, you may have begun the process of filing for workers' compensation benefits through your employer. Workers' compensation is designed to provide employees who are injured with work some funds to pay medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with a sudden and unforeseen injury. However, a recent bill proposed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives could impact the way drugs are prescribed to those who are currently receiving workers' compensation benefits. Read on to learn more about this proposed amendment to existing Pennsylvania workers' compensation law and how it may impact existing (and future) cases. 

What changes have been proposed to state workers' compensation law?

House Bill 18 was recently introduced and is now working its way through the Pennsylvania legislature. This bill is intended to reduce the growing number of opioid addictions related to the receipt of workers' compensation benefits, reducing employer and insurer costs while keeping Pennsylvania residents healthy.  Specifically, this bill will require comprehensive evidence-based treatment guidelines for workers' compensation claims, mandating that the state's Department of Labor and Industry to adopt a drug formulary for the workers' compensation program. This will limit the amounts, types, and lengths of time for which doctors can prescribe certain opioid-based medications to individuals receiving workers' compensation benefits. 

How will these changes affect current and future workers' comp claims?

If this bill is successful, Pennsylvania will join several other states that have adopted similar formulary guidelines for workers' compensation claims. The final legislation will likely contain a provision requiring this formulary list to be continually updated as additional research on the use and potential harm of various drugs (including opioids) is uncovered. 

Doctors who treat a worker who has filed (and is receiving benefits pursuant to) a workers' compensation claim will be able to access the formulary list online or through software to ensure any medication being prescribed is appropriate and consistent with the injury or illness diagnosis. 

This won't prevent opioids from being prescribed to those who receive workers' comp benefits, but will require the prescribing physician to jump through a few additional authentication hoops to prove that the medication is safe and necessary.

Through the introduction and support of this bill, it is Pennsylvania lawmakers' goal to ensure the workers' compensation program works as designed--to cover expenses of those who are injured at work through no fault of their own--without causing further problems like prescription drug addiction and abuse. 

Contact professionals like Rizzi Law Group to learn more.


14 June 2017

How to Gain Guardianship Over a Child

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