502.495.5040

News - 2018

Don’t Déjà Vu Me, Bro

Aug
07

“What we’re seeing is just like what happened with opioids in the 1990s.”

~ Dr. Anna Lembke, researcher and addiction specialist at
Stanford University

 

I’m linking to an article from Stateline/The Pew Charitable Trusts by Christine Vestal, that sounds the alarm about abuses of anti-anxiety medications such as Valium, Xanax and Klonopin (benzodiazepines). They are widely prescribed, relatively inexpensive, and many providers consider them safe and non-addictive.

 

Forgive me if I tell you I have heard this before. The prescribing of these medications has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. Now state and federal regulators are warning the public about:

 

  • Excessive prescribing;
  • Addiction and dependence risks;
  • Dangers when used in combination with alcohol and painkillers.

 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “More than 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines.”

 

As industry stakeholders:

  • We must be vigilant;
  • We must apply the science;
  • We must do better this time.

 

Call us. We can do better.

William Faris, JD
Chief Executive Officer
502-495-5040
william.faris@omca.biz
www.omca.biz

One Worker at a Time, and One Step at a Time

Jul
31

One worker at a time, and one step at a time… thoughtfully, deliberately, purposefully.

 

I’m linking to an article in The New York Times about the owners of a popular Lexington, KY, restaurant called Saul Good. A few years ago, they realized they had lost 13 employees to opioid addiction. Unfortunately, this was not just regular food industry turnover–these workers were in fact dead.

 

Realizing they could not sit idly by, the owners opened a new eatery, DV8 Kitchen, which focuses its entire business model on hiring people in treatment for opioid abuse and other addictions, and using the workplace as a tool for rehabilitation. This is a powerful read about changing lives, one worker at a time. The owner says, “We are just providing the piece of the puzzle that is giving people a job right away when they are getting clean.”

 

We see constantly the impact of addiction on our claimants, and how substance abuse ruins lives and drives up costs. Similar to these enlightened restaurant owners, we address it one claimant at a time, one prescription at a time, one functional rehabilitation at a time.

 

It’s a huge problem, and the best way to get started is one step at a time.
Call us. We can do better.

William Faris, JD
Chief Executive Officer
502-495-5040
william.faris@omca.biz
www.omca.biz

Drug Dealers in Lab Coats

Jul
24

Late last month, there was a huge national drug raid that cracked down on healthcare fraud. This enforcement activity involved more than 600 defendants including 10 Kentucky doctors. The DEA called these targets “drug dealers in lab coats.” The schemes included the following provider activities:

 

  • Open a fake pharmacy with a “front man” signing the leases and opening the bank account, and then pay the “front man” to leave the country so you can start the fraudulent billings;
  • Open a “virtual medical office” from out of state, and begin invoicing for services never rendered;
  • Steal physician and patient identities, and begin reporting fraudulent claims with payments to virtual PO Boxes;
  • Hire commission-based runners/marketers, and start providing transportation for claimants/patients who will show up for unnecessary treatment;
  • Put “professional” claimants/patients on a side payroll, whose “job” is to get unneeded exams and diagnostics;
  • Alter patient medical charts to cover up fraudulent activity;
  • Inappropriate dispensing of fentanyl which happens to be 100 times more powerful than heroin.

 

The Courier-Journal article quotes a local advocate for real people fighting real addictions, who says, “Charges against rogue doctors and others are long overdue.”

 

If you don’t know your providers, know who recruited them.

 

Call us. We can do better.

William Faris, JD
Chief Executive Officer
502-495-5040
william.faris@omca.biz
www.omca.biz

Sur-prise, Sur-prise, Sur-prise

Jun
29

Who remembers Gomer Pyle being awestruck by some of life’s simplest things? Many times he would exclaim, “Gawwwleee,” “Shazam,” and of course “Sur-prise, sur-prise, sur-prise!” I started to have a similar reaction reading a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and summarized in a Washington Post article by Carolyn Johnson.

 

There was a survey of over 26,000 adults that examined polypharmacy and the results of utilizing prescription medications that have depression listed as a possible reaction. Guess what… survey says… using prescriptions “that have depression as a potential adverse effect was common and associated with greater likelihood of concurrent depression.”

 

Although the conclusions seem self-evident, this study is just part of lots of research that is closely examining polypharmacy and its impact on patients. Dr. Dima Qato, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, who led the study, is concerned about the little attention being paid to the role of medications and depression. Her quote is right on the money: “We know polypharmacy is growing, we know it is not always promoting good health and longevity in patients, and we know a lot of drugs have certain adverse effects — and one of them is depression.”

 

Surprised? I’m not.

 

Ignore polypharmacy at your own risk. Don’t be surprised.

 

Call us. We can do better.

William Faris, JD
Chief Executive Officer
502-495-5040
william.faris@omca.biz
www.omca.biz

Well Begun Is Half Done

Jun
21

 

“Well begun is half done.”

~ Mary Poppins

 

I must confess, I never thought we would be quoting Mary Poppins in our workers’ comp newsletter. However, it seems the California State Insurance Fund has adopted this nanny’s sage advice in their successful efforts to reduce opioid abuse.

 

I am linking to an Insurance Journal article by Don Jergler regarding California’s efforts to reduce opioid scripts. They are “well begun” as follows:

  • Early limits on initial prescriptions;
  • Early peer-to-peer education/intervention;
  • Early consideration of alternative treatments.

 

The results? A 60% reduction over the last four years. Maybe “well begun” can be more than half done.

 

In workers’ comp, early is the emphasis if you want to do better and improve outcomes.

 

We have been early to these seemingly intractable issues for years.

 

Well begun does better.

 

Call us. We can do better.

William Faris, JD
Chief Executive Officer
502-495-5040
william.faris@omca.biz
www.omca.biz

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