Accident Fund Holdings Launches Narcotics Program for Injured Workers

February 6, 2012

Accident Fund Holdings has created a comprehensive narcotics program to help reduce the health risk of drugs on injured workers and provide a mechanism for them to get back to work sooner.

The primary components of the program include early detection software, activity driven workflows, and peer-to-peer intervention strategies.

Accident Fund Holdings 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.

“The extent of the issue was not fully realized until we linked our pharmacy data to our claims data,” Jeffrey Austin White, director of Medical Management Practices and Strategy for Accident Fund Holdings and the individual running point on the development of the over-arching strategy, said. “In hindsight, it appears we were focused primarily on monitoring drug cost, along with the rest of the industry, rather than the impact of the drug on the injured worker.”

The narcotics program has been under development over the past six months at the Lansing, Mich.-based Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, a subsidiary of Accident Fund Holdings. It will be expanded to all of Accident Fund Holdings’ companies including United Heartland, Third Coast Underwriters, and CompWest.

The company has developed this program as a 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.

Overdoses, addiction, and even death have reached epidemic proportions, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These problems are commonly reported in association with workers’ compensation claims as 55 to 85 percent of injured workers across the country receive narcotics for chronic pain relief.

The failure to return to work due to 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.

“There is no simple solution to this problem,” Patrick Walsh, vice president and chief claims officer for Accident Fund Holdings, said. “It requires a multidisciplinary approach that relies heavily on state of the art technology and a commitment to communication and learning which will drive continued improvement in our efforts.”

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