Last week we discussed how 2012 Could Be a Workers’ Comp Reform Year. This week we continue talking about reforms. The state Senate in December held a hearing focusing on the abuse of prescription drugs and children getting access to the medications from their parents’ medicine cabinets. The hearing was not centered on workers’ compensation prescriptions, but Association of California Insurance Companies president Mark Sektnan said increased awareness might attract the attention of lawmakers this year.
“Opiates are a growing concern and an issue in both workers’ compensation and the prescription world,” he said. “The growing drum beat of opiate cases and stories seems to be getting to the level it needs to be to address this.” Sektnan said opioids are one area worth exploring with stakeholders, regulators and lawmakers when looking for measures that would cut system costs to offset an increase in PD benefits.
He added some insurance companies have reported that they’ve set aside as much as $4 million to pay for opioid prescriptions in a single claim. Meanwhile, some bills have already been introduced, two of which target the underground economy by allowing for freer data sharing among offices within the Department of Industrial Relations and other state agencies that investigate workers’ comp fraud. One of the bills, SB 777, would require the department to consult with other agencies and the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau to determine the best ways to share data.
The other bill, SB 691, would add the Contractors State Licensing Board to the list of agencies that can request information on a licensee from the Employment Development Department in connection with a workers’ comp fraud investigation.
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