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Oklahoma’s New Anti Drug Abuse Bill Will Affect Workers Compensation


Oklahoma’s New Anti Drug Abuse Bill vs. Work Comp

Oklahoma’s  new anti drug abuse bill should affect WC. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has given her blessing to a new bill that would limit the use of painkillers by requiring physicians to access a database to check on the prior prescriptions of a patient.

Obamacare Anti Drug Abuse Bill Logo
Wikimedia Commons – Obama

A surprising statistic is that 8% of all Oklahomans abuse some type of painkiller.

The national average is 4%.

Oklahoma articles always pique my interest as I am originally from there.  Drug abuse of many types have been rampant in my home state since the 1960’s.   One reason, in my opinion, is that so many jobs are extremely laborious in the oil and gas industry.   Many oil and gas workers experience chronic back injuries.

If the bill is voted in and signed into law, this will also help control WC costs.  If a WC patient can be monitored for prior prescriptions, then the additional cost of the abused prescription medications along with the lengthened disability period should be reduced sharply.

Assuming that the same of number of WC patients also abuse painkillers (opioids), then an 8% or more reduction in WC costs on medical payments would be incurred by the insurance carriers. However, drug treatment programs for WC patients may spike if abusers are identified by the database and the physician requests a detox program.  One could also assume the number as being much higher for WC patients.

Graphic Oklahoma Anti Drug Abuse Bill vs. Work Comp

There are many questions about the database and how it would function with WC benefits:

  • How will the Dr. handle the patient that has too many recent painkiller prescriptions?
  • Will the claims department be notified of any drug-abusing patient?
  • Can the patient just go across state lines to get an additional RX?
  • Will this system also be available to pharmacists as a backup deterrent?
  • Can the adjuster log into the same system? (probably not)
  • How will HIPPA and the Affordable Care Act affect this new law?
  • Can a Dr. override the system or ignore it and prescribe opioids regardless?
  • Will the Oklahoma legislature also require this on WC injured workers?

I will write another article on this bill whenever it becomes law.   This is a step in the right direction for Oklahoma.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
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  • Bloomberg Business News
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  • Insurance Journal
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