Accident Fund Holdings, Inc. (AFH) has created a comprehensive narcotics program to help reduce the health risks of these drugs on injured workers and ultimately provide a mechanism for them to get back to work sooner.
The recent shift in prescribing patterns to more patients consuming Schedule II narcotics is more prevalent today than ever before. Opioid medications are now being prescribed at higher dosages in pure form and are routinely making their way into the hands of injured workers without the proper controls, regardless of the health risks. Escalating problems such as overdose, addiction, and even death have reached epidemic proportions, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and are now commonly reported in association with workers compensation claims with 55-85% of injured workers across the country receiving narcotics for chronic pain relief.
AFH has been monitoring the use of opioids to manage chronic pain for years and the results of a recent study completed in 2011 with the Division of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has validated the scope of this problem.
This narcotics program has been under development over the past six months at Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, a subsidiary of AFH, and will be expanded to all AFH companies including United Heartland, Third Coast Underwriters, and CompWest. The primary components of the program include early detection software, activity driven workflows, and peer-to-peer intervention strategies.
Failure to return to work as a result of opioid addiction is a major problem that the workers compensation industry faces in 2012 as state regulations lack controls and new drugs are being introduced to the market. Accident Fund Holdings hopes this program will help reduce the health risks of these drugs on our injured workers and ultimately provide a mechanism for them to get back to work sooner.
AFH, located in Lansing, Mich., reports that it is the largest non-governmental specialty writer of workers compensation insurance in the U.S.
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