23 dead, 14,000 frightened


Of course I’m talking about the current count in the case involving epidural steroid injections (ESI) and fungal meningitis. During the last few weeks we have seen a situation unfold that applies to health care in general and workers’ compensation health care in particular as this presumed therapy is used in MANY cases involving the treatment of chronic pain.

Essentially, patients are treated with a series of injectable steroids to deal with pain associated from their work comp injury. These steroids may be administered in a number of ways but the present concern has developed around those that are injected near the spine.  Many cases of fungal meningitis have been reported and traced to tainted batches of injectable steroids manufactured by a previously cited and now defunct compounding pharmacy in New England.The basic story is very important.  It’s being followed by all national media outlets. It’s tragic and important and gives rise to three distinct issues I believe to be critical;

  • What does science say about epidural steroid injections?
  • When and how, if ever, should they be administered and by whom?
  • What role do compounding pharmacies play in this and other medication issues?

It won’t do to address these three issues in a couple of paragraphs, so we’ll split them up and cover one item weekly for the next three weeks.  At the end, they will be summarized in a white paper posted on our website.

Rarely is the nation so focused on something so important to the work comp community. Amidst the tragedy, there is an opportunity for us to have a positive impact on future patients by insisting on the application of scientific criteria to the chemicals we inject into a claimant’s body.

Call us, We can do better.William Faris, JD
Chief Executive Officer

Posted in Medical Cost Containment, OMCA