NCCI Examines the Impact of Opioids on the Workers Compensation System

Posted Date: April 24, 2018

(Boca Raton, FL, April 24, 2018)—The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is examining the growing issues related to opioid use in America through a three-part series, On Opioids. This series is aimed at exploring three viewpoints on issues surrounding opioid use and workers compensation: those of doctors, insurers, and regulators. NCCI has posted its first article of the series—On Opioids: The Doctors’ Perspectives—on

"The current opioid epidemic touches individuals, families, and businesses throughout our nation, and so many are looking for ways to combat its devastating effects," said NCCI President and CEO Bill Donnell. "We developed the On Opioids series as part of our effort to provide stakeholders timely insights on industry trends and concerns."

For the first article of this series, NCCI interviewed physicians who reflected on the key factors that contributed to the national opioid epidemic, its impacts on the industry, alternative treatment options, and regulations to help deter misuse.

The following are excerpts from the article:

  • "The physicians agreed that with its observance of guidelines, strict adherence to treatment plans, and regular drug testing of injured workers, the workers compensation system is better off than the public at large in battling the opioid epidemic."
  • "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that in 2016, the US prescribing rate for opioids was 61 prescriptions per 100 persons. This issue is of particular concern to stakeholders in the nation’s workers compensation system, because injured workers are often prescribed opioids to ease pain from their injuries. NCCI data shows that injured workers who were prescribed at least one prescription in 2016 received three times as many opioid prescriptions as the US opioid prescribing rate. These figures illustrate that workers compensation is directly affected by the far-reaching societal impacts of the opioid epidemic in the United States."
  • "Importantly, the doctors all noted that addressing psychosocial issues and fully understanding the sources of pain from which the patient suffers are crucial to getting the injured worker on a path to recovery."

For the On Opioids series, NCCI conducted interviews with doctors, insurers, and regulators to gather an array of opinions on the topic. The articles in this series reflect the viewpoints of experts interviewed, and do not necessarily represent the views of NCCI.

In the coming weeks, NCCI will release the remaining two articles in the series on NCCI also plans to feature a session on this topic at its Annual Issues Symposium 2018, which is May 16–18.

About NCCI

Founded in 1923, the mission of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is to foster a healthy workers compensation system. In support of this mission, NCCI gathers data, analyzes industry trends, and provides objective insurance rate and loss cost recommendations. These activities—combined with a comprehensive set of tools and services—make NCCI the source you trust for workers compensation information.

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