Accident Fund Workers’ Comp: A Piece in Solving the Opioid Puzzle

Prescription opioid abuse is a widespread epidemic in the United States recognized throughout all levels of government as well as the by Center for Disease Control (CDC). The risk and prevalence of addiction, abuse, and the number of deaths associated with opioid abuse is something local governments, employers, insurance carriers, families, and communities face on a daily basis. As the risk of opioid abuse has risen, Accident Fund has developed unique strategies to confront this growing epidemic.

While there is no quick fix or single solution to this problem, Accident Fund has created a multifaceted approach to steadily bring positive change to this complicated issue.

“As a first step, we created a predictive analytic tool for early identification of claims with strong indicators for over-prescribing of opioids,” said Paul Kauffman, director of Medical Management and Corporate Claims at AF Group, parent company of Accident Fund. “Our early detection nurse case managers review and verify the alert information to determine which intervention is warranted, which frequently involves a call to the provider to discuss the amount or duration of the opioid prescribed and to the injured worker to educate them about the risk associated with the long-term use of these medications.” AF Group’s data shows that from their interventions, there has been more than a 25% decrease in the number of opioid prescriptions since the programs inception in 2012.

Kauffman indicates that, working with their on-staff pharmacist, nurses also discuss possible non-narcotic alternatives to pain management with providers. The goal of this type of proactive involvement helps reduce the risk of dependency and addiction for injured workers down the road.

“After years of study and first-hand observation of the catastrophic effects opioids can have on an injured worker, the research supports the value of our commitment to minimizing the detrimental effects of long-term opioid use on our injured workers,” added Kauffman. “The opioid abuse battle is something we feel passionately about and we will continue our rigorous efforts to combat the issue and advocate for our injured workers and employers.”

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