Louisiana House Passes Bill to Limit Opioids for Injured Workers
As part of the DEA’s war on drugs, the agency is cracking down on the medical use of synthetic narcotics. This includes oxycodone and hydrocodone. Use of these drugs can lead to addiction, overdoses and death. These still remain some of the most effective pain relievers.
Many states, including Louisiana, hope to prevent fatal overdoses by taking steps to limit opioid usage. Our New Orleans law firm wants to ensure injured workers understand how this may affect them.
Louisiana’s New Bills
Lawmakers voted on May 11 to make it harder for injured workers to get prescription medications containing highly-addictive opioids. This includes popular painkillers like Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, Lorcet and Lortab. Doctors now need preauthorization to prescribe these drugs and consult a widely-used formulary before a prescription written for patients with workers’ compensation insurance.
The goal is to prevent people from becoming addicted to these drugs in the first place. Louisiana faces an opioid crisis:
- Sixth-highest opioid prescription rate in the nation
- 19th-worst overdose rate per capita in the nation
- Lastly, 861 people died from opioid overdose in 2015(CDC)
While House Bill 592 deals with the creation of a workers’ compensation pharmacy formulary, House Bill 192 limits first-time opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply, which can also affect patients claiming workers’ compensation.
What It Means for Workers’ Comp Injuries
Workers receive protection from the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act, which aims to provide the care that workers need. If you’re on-the-job injury includes pain, these new bills affect your ability to receive opioid-based pain medication. The pharmacy formulary created by HB592 will be adopted by January 1, 2018.
Thus, workers’ comp claims with an injury that occurred on or after this date require doctors to use this formulary for any drugs he prescribes or dispenses for outpatient use. If your injury occurred before this date, the formulary is used for your refills and new prescriptions prescribed or dispensed by your doctor after July 1, 2018.
It’s important to note that these bills focus on patients getting prescriptions to treat short-term, acute pain, such as pain caused by a workers’ compensation injury. Patients with chronic pain or conditions, including cancer, shouldn’t be affected.
Hire a Top New Orleans Law Firm
Some unethical employers attempt to underpay and undercut your workers’ comp benefits and often deny the compensation you deserve. Injured at work? Notify your employer immediately. Then, contact the workers’ comp lawyers at Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys.
The experienced attorneys at our New Orleans law firm can unravel the complicated Louisiana Workers’ Comp system for you and also get the justice you and your family deserves. Visit our office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., use our convenient LiveChat option online or also give us a call 24/7 at (504) 345-1111.