|The post today is authored by John H. Geaney, Esq. of the NJ Bar, and is shared via njworkerscompblog.com|
Opioid medications have become a major problem in the New Jersey workers’ compensation system. The number of workers being prescribed opioids has increased dramatically along with other attendant problems, such as addictions to the medications, excessive periods of use, and large numbers of unused opioid pills due to over-prescribing.
Every workers’ compensation professional can attest to these and other problems with opioid medications, not to mention cases where urine testing shows no trace of opioids in the system despite repeated renewals of opioid prescriptions.
On September 30, 2013, Senator Raymond Lesniak and Senator Stephen Sweeney introduced a bill in the New Jersey Senate proposing that medical expenses shall not include coverage of opioid drugs unless the prescribing doctor does the following:
1) takes a thorough medical history and physical examination focusing on the cause of the patient’s pain;
2) does a complete assessment of the potential addiction of the patient to opioids, which would include a baseline urine test and assessment of past and current depression, anxiety disorders and other mood disorders associated with risk of opioid abuse;
3) provides a written treatment plan with measurable objectives, a list of all medications being taken and dosages, a justification for the continued use of opioid...