502.495.5040

News - 2017

Benzos, Opioids and Mental Health Disorders

Oct
10

Benzodiazepines (Benzos for short) are a type of psychoactive drugs that we commonly classify as minor tranquilizers. Valium, Xanax and Lorazepam are but a few of the drug names we recognize.

 

I’m linking to a couple of articles that address the risks of opioid and benzo combinations, and the prevalence of opioid usage on workers’ comp claims that involve mental health. The first is from Quest Diagnostics, and it highlights the serious health risks from the potentially lethal mixture of these drugs.

The second is a study from the California Workers’ Compensation Institute, and it examines the impact on workers’ comp when a mental health disorder is prevalent and opioids are prescribed.

 

The takeaway from these studies is that your claimants are vulnerable to drug overdoses, addiction and serious health side effects, and your claims expenses will soar. Drugs that might not otherwise be deadly become so when combined with benzos.

 

Doing better requires the right physician, the right nurse case manager, and the right pharmacy UR. We have been fighting the benzo fight for as long as we have been fighting the opioid fight. These findings are not news to us.

 

Call us. We can do better.

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

Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag (with apologies to James Brown)

Oct
03

In 1966, James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul”, had a huge hit with Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag. James’ “bag” was a new lifestyle. Papa had it goin’ on with a new way of living.

 

In 2017, Papa has a brand new bag as well. It’s filled with drugs for which he has legitimate prescriptions. But in this case, Papa’s new lifestyle is that of a drug dealer selling oxycodone for $30 each.

 

More and more seniors are developing additional incomes brought about by selling all or part of their prescription to folks who need a tablet here and a pill there. And if you’re now off your pain meds but can make almost $1,000 a month by selling your oxy, why not?

 

Because, of course, it’s illegal. You can be arrested. You can go to jail. But let’s say you’re 85 years old. Is the judge really going to put you in jail? Maybe, but probably not.

 

We have to watch for drug misuse in the most unlikely places. Reselling is a huge, illegal industry. Drug UR and pharmacy MCOs can help reduce the number of unnecessary drugs that get into the system in the first place.

 

Papa’s new bag can cost you a great deal of money when the bag is filled with workers’ compensation prescriptions.

 

Call us. We can do better.

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

Hurricane Opioid Stalls in Kentucky

Sep
26

Most southern hurricanes stall-out long before they make it to the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, we have been fighting the opioid storm for longer than I care to remember. However, a new study published by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) points out how Kentucky injured workers are doing better after the 2012 “Pill Mill” House Bill 1 legislation.
The WCRI reviewed over 21,000 injuries and 91,000 prescriptions, which represented 44% of Kentucky’s workers’ compensation claims. Here is what they discovered comparing pre- and post-HB1 for injured workers with pain:

 

  • Opioid dispensing down;
  • Non-opioid analgesics up;
  • Largest reductions in younger workers and the non-surgical category.

 

The Pill Mill Bill is not a panacea, and Eastern Kentucky continues to be a high usage area. Nevertheless, Kentuckians are doing better, and it is a storm we must weather.

 

Want to learn more? The KWCEA Annual Conference on December 7 and 8, at the Louisville Marriott East is the place to be. Early registration is open!

 

Call us. We can do better.

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

It’s Only Words

Sep
19

“It’s only words.” The Bee Gees knew what they were singing about.

 

When my company first began managing workers’ compensation claims some 30 years ago, we saw a ton of complex hand procedures. The surgeons we encountered were exceptional physicians who did remarkable things on an operating table. However, sometimes their bedside manner was less than optimal.

 

Typically, they overwhelmed the claimant with details of the invasive procedure, possible downsides, optional subsequent need to operate, difficult and painful recovery, and long-term rehabilitation. What the patient heard was, “I’m disabled and will never be the same.”

 

Then we found a young surgeon with a different approach. When first meeting a claimant, his initial words were, “I see you living a normal life and going back to full duty on June 30.” From there, he worked backwards highlighting the positive milestones of the recovery period. What the patient heard was, “I’m going to be okay.” What a difference a few words can make.

 

I’m linking to an article by Louise Esola in Business Insurance about a recent presentation at the California Workers’ Compensation and Risk Conference. The presenter focused on improving outcomes by having physicians, adjusters and employers communicate differently with their workers.

 

Reassure, don’t frighten. Empower, don’t undermine. Help, don’t create distance.

 

Words do matter.

 

Call us. We can do better.

 

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

Porsche For Sale Seller Motivated

Sep
12

I was taught not to take pleasure in the troubles of strangers. However, anytime the Feds take down a rogue “Pill Mill” operator, I can’t help but smile.

 

The latest announcement from the US Attorney’s Office in Florida highlights a Tampa oxycodone pusher who was sentenced to almost four years in prison for issuing unlawful prescriptions. This doctor’s specialty was issuing scripts for patients he never examined.  He was most accommodating and even used his Porsche as his mobile office by writing scripts in a local parking lot. I’m sure this sportscar will make a fine repo.

 

If you want to hear how local enforcement is doing better in Kentucky, make sure you register for the KWCEA Annual Conference, to be held December 7 and 8, at the Louisville Marriott East.

 

At this event, the President/CEO from Operation UNITE will explain their efforts to combat substance abuse in the Commonwealth. Come hear how Kentucky is doing better.

 

Call us. We can do better.

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

Next Page »