Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has approved legislation that will protect injured workers from being over-prescribed addictive opioids and help control escalating medical costs in the workers’ compensation system, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
SB 1111 will take effect in 90 days.
During January’s special legislative session, Gov. Ducey and the Legislature enacted the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, and SB 1111 ensures that the workers’ compensation statute is consistent with those recent changes.
The measure provides more tools to track an injured worker’s use of opioids to prevent addiction and creates a process to address unreasonably expensive medication dispensed outside of a pharmacy.
It also allows the Industrial Commission to review data on medication dispensing, consult with stakeholders, and adopt reimbursement guidelines if appropriate for Arizona’s workers’ comp system as a whole.
Physician-dispensed medication is adding to the escalation of medical costs in Arizona’s workers’ compensation system. These drugs can be as much as 300 percent more expensive than those provided by a retail pharmacy.
With this new law, Arizona will now join 22 other states that limit physician dispensing in the workers’ compensation system, PCI said.
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