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Workers Comp Opioid Study That Wasn’t


New Workers Comp Opioid Study That Turned Out “Not So”

Writing an article about what I thought was a new groundbreaking Workers Comp Opioid Study violated two of my rules:

  • No more opioid study articles as the term turned into a buzzword where articles were overdone and repetitive
  • No more non-workers comp related articles

Well here, I am writing a fresh new article on opioids that was not necessarily insurance or workers comp related.   Often, to not overuse buzzwords, the article must be adapted to workers comp when searching for great articles outside the insurance world.

pic pill workers comp opioid study
Wikimedia Commons Use License – Subhrajyoti07

University of Michigan Study

The non-Workers Comp opioid study can be found at this link. The article is well worth five to seven minutes of your time to see what the study says about limiting opioids to five days post-surgery.  The Wolverine study confirms what many of the study creators and pundits have said about opioids for a long time – that limiting their use rarely has negative effects.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan had instituted only five days of opioids post-surgery.

Why is the term “non” used in reference to the article?  Many honest reports will usually say at the end of the study article mention many of the study limitations including groups that were excluded from the study.   I usually go to the references the article used and then the limitations.

The author had this to say:

Jennifer Waljee, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., senior author of the study, notes that the MSQC database doesn’t include all types of procedures, such as knee replacements and spine surgery, which typically require larger postoperative opioid prescriptions because of their associated pain.

Orthopedic Surgeries Excluded

With orthopedic surgeries excluded, the workers comp opioid study cannot be derived from the study article.  As we all know, a large portion of workers comp surgeries are due to orthopedic injuries.  Even the study authors themselves realized that the study had many limitations.

Bottom Line on the non-Worker Comp Opioid Study

The conclusions drawn were generally great news –

Worries that surgery patients would have a tougher recovery if their doctors had to abide by a five-day limit on opioid pain medication prescriptions didn’t play out as expected, a new study finds.



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)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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