Tag Archives: workers’ comp costs

6 Solutions for WC’s Compounded Medications Issue

September 26, 2018 by 

“There is no such thing as an FDA-approved compound medication.” That statement from myMatrixx Chief Clinical Officer Phil Walls underscores one of the main criticisms of these medications; while the drugs within the mixtures may all be FDA-approved, the specific combinations have not been tested and verified.

Safety is just one concern, however. The other is cost; they generally workers preparing medications for article, Compounded Medications — 6 Solutions to Address a Nagging Issue for WCare priced significantly higher than similar, FDA-approved drugs or the sum of their underlying medications.

Both the utilization and the average cost of compounded medications in the workers’ compensation system has decreased in recent years. However, there are still pockets of excessive use. Stakeholders need to maintain a steady and continued focus on efforts to curb the unnecessary use of these pharmaceuticals.

Problems Cited

Compounds are a mixture of drugs intended for a specific patient’s use. According to an FDA report, they are beneficial only in limited circumstances; such as when other medications have failed, a patient is allergic to some of the inactive ingredients or has difficulty swallowing.

The federal agency inspected compounding facilities and noted the following “troubling conditions” that could lead to widespread harm of patients:

  1. Toaster ovens used for sterilization.
  2. Pet beds near sterile compounding areas.
  3. Operators are handling sterile drug products with exposed skin, which sheds particles and bacteria, among many others.

Latest Stats

Compounded medications are not considered first-line therapy for pain or other common conditions of injured workers according to industry guidelines, such as evidence-based medicine guidelines from Work Loss Data Institute, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and many other state-specific guidelines.

Compounds are available in many applications but are used in workers’ compensation most often as topical products for pain management. Usually, compounded medications are excluded from workers’ compensation formularies, and require prior authorization before they are dispensed to an injured worker.


6 Techniques To Avoid Lifting Injuries

April 21, 2016 by Michael B. Stack

photo showing two employees demostrating proper lifting techniqueOne of the most common causes of workers compensation claims is the improper lifting of a heavy object by an employee. It is also one of the easiest workers compensation claims to avoid. When an employee injures a back, it is usually not the heavy weight, but the method of lifting the weight that was improper. These back injuries can be avoided. The teaching of proper lifting techniques, to any employee who may be called upon to physically move objects, is an essential part of any good safety program.

There are at least 6 common things that employees do that cause them to hurt their back. They are (this is not an all inclusive list)

• Twisting while lifting
• Holding the object too far away from the body
• Lifting with the back bent
• Contorting the body to lift in an unnatural way
• Losing their balance while lifting
• Not coordinating their lift with other co-worker(s)

Twisting while Lifting

When a heavy object needs to be moved from a floor or other level to a higher level, the employee will often be paralleled to the higher level when the object is picked up and will have to twist to set the object on the higher level (shelf, cart, conveyor belt, etc.). The employee should approach the object perpendicular to the higher level where the object is going to be placed, with the employee, the object and the higher level in a straight line. This puts the object in the middle between the employee and the higher level, allowing the employee to lift the object without twisting. It also allows the employee to have the head facing straight forward to keep all parts of the spine in a straight line.

Holding the Object Too Far from the Body

Sometimes employees just do not want to get dirty. If the object is dirty, greasy, oily, etc., the employee may be inclined to try to lift the object while holding the object away from the body. This is difficult to do with light objects and a recipe for an injury with heavy objects. The further the object is from the body, the harder it is too lift and the more strain it places on the body. The employees need to be taught to hold the object they lift as close to the body as possible to avoid strain on the back.
Continue reading 6 Techniques To Avoid Lifting Injuries

1 in 2 Americans Musculoskeletal Condition Costs $213 Billion /Year!

Estimated $213 Billion Each Year in Treatment and Lost Wages Attributed to Musculoskeletal Condition

By WorkersCompensation.com

Crystal ball of arthritis symptomsRosemont, IL – An estimated 126.6 million Americans (one in two adults) are affected by a musculoskeletal condition—comparable to the total percentage of Americans living with a chronic lung or heart condition—costing an estimated $213 billion in annual treatment, care and lost wages, according to a new report issued today by the United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI).

Musculoskeletal disorders—conditions and injuries affecting the bones, joints and muscles—can be painful and debilitating, affecting daily quality of life, activity and productivity.

The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans: Opportunities for Action” outlines the prevalence and projected growth of musculoskeletal disorders in the U.S., and recommends strategies for improving patient outcomes while decreasing rising health and societal costs.

“This report provides the critical data needed to understand the magnitude of the problem, and the burden, of musculoskeletal disease in our country,” said David Pisetsky, MD, USBJI president, and professor of medicine and immunology at Duke University Medical School.

“The number of visits to physicians for these disorders, the cost of treating them, and the indirect costs associated with pain and loss of mobility, are proportionately much higher than the resources currently being allocated to combat these conditions and injuries.”

“As a nation, we need to establish greater funding for musculoskeletal research, improve our understanding and strategies for prevention and treatment of these injuries and conditions, and ensure that more adults and children receive appropriate treatment sooner, and on an ongoing basis, to ensure quality of life and productivity,” said Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, co-chair of the report’s Steering Committee and a professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.


What You Need to Know About Personalized Medicine

By Safety National 04/30/2015

Benefits of PGX Testing

PGX testing workflowDue to the potential cost savings, pharmacogenetic testing is expected to become an effective tool for risk managers. Currently, only 50% of patients respond positively to their medications. We are all different, so a uniform way of prescribing is not effective. PGX maps drugs with your unique genetic makeup to increase effectiveness. From a workers’ compensation standpoint, it can help to:

  • Proactively drive the right treatment from the beginning of a claim.
  • Reduce the amount of doctor visits, physician billing frequency and overprescribing.
  • Diminish drug addiction and dependency.
  • Reduce adverse drug reactions – the leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Resolve long-tail claims.

This innovative RIMS 2015 session explored a new era of technology emerging in heathcare – personalized medicine. It is expected to revolutionize healthcare and, thus, will become very useful in the workers’ compensation arena.

Speakers included:

  • Geralyn Datz, President, Southern Behavioral Medicine Associates PLLC
  • Sonny Roshan, CEO, Chairman, Aeon Laboratories, LLC
  • Kimberly George, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, M&A, Healthcare, Sedgwick

How it Works

Using a simple, in-office test, genetic testing determines how a patient’s genetic makeup will determine a successful or unsuccessful response to a prescribed medication. Pharmacogenetic testing (PGX) taps into DNA to uncover how a single prescribed medication is metabolized. It is being used to improve and expedite patient care by optimizing or eliminating the typical trial and error process, which can lead to adverse reactions, drug tolerances, addiction or death. PGX is rapidly becoming a standard of care and is considered in line with good clinical practice.


Work-Related Injuries Can’t Happen Here…Can They?

Tdon't run with scissors signhis is from a Canadian perspective, but we think you’ll find the information pertinent to almost any work situation.

By Terry Bogyo 02/05/2014 15:35:00
One of the biggest barriers to improving health and safety is the belief that work-related injury, disease or death “can’t happen here”.  I’m not saying injuries are an inevitable part of work.  What I am saying is that believing work-related injuries are not possible actually makes it more likely they will occur.
A teacher commented to me that workplace health and safety really wasn’t an issue where he worked—a high school.  The only health and safety issues he could identify involved the occasional issue in one of the industrial education or foods classes.  “Schools are safe places for students and staff.  Work-related injuries can’t happen here.”
I agreed that schools are generally safe for students and teachers but hazards and risks of injury are present in every workplace in every sector—including education.   I listed Sandyhook,  Columbine,  Virginia Tech,  and École Polytechnique as high profile examples of a very real risk of  violence in the education sector that has lead to the injury and death of students and workers.   These tragedies tell us about very real risks—risks that have been identified and have led to most schools to perform a risk assessment and develop new procedures.
He conceded that his school now practiced procedures in the case of an intrusion but he put the risk of such an incident right up there with earthquakes and fires:  possible but not probable.   “These are rare events—terrible but rare.  Work-related injuries to teachers, teaching assistants, administrators and other staff in educational settings just don’t happen in day to day work…do they?”
That little bit of doubt provided an opening.  I agreed to check and sent along the following table [data fromhttp://worksafebc.com/publications/reports/statistics_reports/occupational_injuries/default.asp] :