Nobody uses like Kentucky uses


Here are some miscellaneous notes on narcotics in general and Kentucky in particular:

  • Medical costs, as a percent of claims cost are soaring — 68% in Kentucky.
  • Utilization is a bigger cost driver than price.
  • Big utilization spike due to new therapies, pain management and co-morbidity.
  • 7 million people abuse prescription drugs — an 80% increase in 6 years
  • Misuse of painkillers represent 75% of the prob/em.
  • Most frequently prescribed, hydrocodone, is also most commonly diverted and abused.
  • Second most popular, Actiq, is approved only for terminal cancer patients and three
  • years ago wasn’t on the list.
  • 33% of chronic pain patients are currently taking more medication(s) than prescribed.
  • 90% of the time, doctors are unable to detect a patient misusing medications.
As claims age, new medications are added; gastrointestinal agents, skin preparations, sedatives/hypnotics, central nervous system drugs. Narcotics abuse makes ALL claims worse. Post-award medical reserves are devoured by lifetime narcotics use and abuse. Nobody uses like Kentucky uses. Based on narcotics utilization per capita by county, we hold positions 1, 2 and 3 in the entire United States.
What a mess. Just like Dr. Phil says, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” The status quo produces these results.
We can do better.


William V. Faris, JD

CIaimsCLEAR®, Solving Complex Claims Through Evidence-Based Medical Science

Posted in Medical Cost Containment, Workers’ Compensation