The workers’ compensation (WC) environment continues to grow ever-more complex in 2017. Issues such as prescription drug usage, medical marijuana, aging workers, and current and proposed legal and regulatory changes are making WC rights and claims more difficult for workers to understand and process. Oftentimes, they also lead to higher costs.
At Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A., our experienced WC attorneys continually monitor the latest news and trends that affect workers like you. Here are two important trends for 2017 that we will continue to watch as news breaks.
The growing telemedicine trend is affecting WC claimants
Innovative programs are helping employees get quick, convenient care, which may prevent more serious problems down the road. Telemedicine is among such growing trends. If you haven’t yet encountered this, telemedicine is defined as the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology (e.g., telephone, computer, tablet and/or mobile device). Telemedicine enables workers to access a telemedicine doctor and by doing so, help to ensure that their medical needs are being met quickly. It is a convenient and very useful tool for employees who work inconvenient hours, or who live and work far from their health care provider.
We expect to see more and more employers offering telemedicine options to their workers, including workers who have filed WC claims and are under WC treatment.
New administrative rules are tightening controls on prescription opioids
Opioids can be a real cost driver for individuals on WC. Long-term use can lead to addiction and extended periods of disability. According to a recent Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) study, our neighbor to the north, Michigan, saw a 31 percent drop in opioid prescriptions from 2012 to 2014. In 2014, the WCRI also published administrative rules prohibiting reimbursement beyond 90 days unless specific physician reporting requirements and other processes are met. While Ohio was not one of the states included in the study, we will continue to monitor statewide activity around this important topic.
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The attorneys at Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A. will continue to actively monitor legislation that affects Ohio consumers and businesses. In the event you are hurt at work, or terminated after reporting a workers’ compensation injury, you need to seek immediate legal advice. Contact the Ohio workers’ comp lawyers at NRS Injury Law by filling out our No-Risk Consultation form, or call (855) GOT-HURT and speak with one of our trained staff members.