Painkillers Delay Workers Return and Skyrocket Insurance Costs

By August 13, 2012 August 22nd, 2018 Uncategorized

The Flanders Group specializes in workers compensation insurance for marinas, RV dealers, waste haulers, nurseries, and landscapers in New York. We take great pride in being an active risk manager for our clients. Recently we read an article in the New York Times that reported the use of narcotic painkillers increases medical costs for injured workers and delays their return to work. If you’re looking for a way to reduce your workers compensation costs, this article may be something to discuss with The Flanders Group.

The NYT found that employers pay nearly $1.4 billion every year for narcotic painkillers. And, that costs are increasing because injured workers who received this type of treatment too early, frequently, or for too long were returning to work after longer periods of time or not at all. The cost disparity between injured workers who were prescribed narcotics versus those who were not is astounding and important for every business to see. According to the article, the cost of a work-related injury when the worker was not prescribed narcotic painkillers was $13,000. When the worker was prescribed a drug like Percocet the cost tripled to $39,000, and tripled again to $117,000 when a stronger opioid drug like OxyContin was prescribed.

The use of these prescription narcotics jumped 63% from 2001 to 2008 and insurers across the nation have felt the impact. Many states, including New York, are working to remedy this prescription problem and are issuing new pain treatment guidelines. Other proposals to help injured workers in New York include referring patients to pain specialists if the dosage of opioid goes above a certain level, and emphasizing nondrug treatments for work related injuries, such as physical therapy.

The Flanders Group can help you understand how a workplace injury can harm your business and provide you with tools including back to work programs and safety training material to ensure your company is doing its best to prevent injuries and speed up recovery time.

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