© 2017 by Seth M. Bernanke

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Hurt on the job and need opioids? Forget about it.

December 21, 2017

The North Carolina Industrial Commission has new proposed rules for opioid prescribing when it comes to injured workers.  A story by the Raleigh News and Observer (link below) focused on requiring workers to pass urine tests before they can be prescribed narcotics.  I'm not really concerned about the urine testing, as that is really required now on a regular basis of anyone being prescribed opioids. What is much more concerning to me is the extremely detailed and onerous requirements put on the doctors who may be considering such prescriptions. To anyone reviewing these new Industrial Commission rules, it is breathtaking to see all the paperwork and certifications required and all the assessments and medical conclusions to be reached before opioids can be prescribed. The result of all of this will be 1) many fewer doctors will agree to treat patients on workers' comp and 2) those who do continue to treat them will be very reluctant to even consider prescribing opioids, no matter how strongly such a prescription may be medically indicated. The bottom line is that the vast majority of injured workers who need opioids for pain control will now just have to be in pain. That is the real story behind these new rules.   http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article190892479.html

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