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Workers' compensation fund examines prescription painkiller use

Our Columbus-area readers may be interested in some new figures that have been released by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, although the data may signal a disturbing trend. According to the recent report, approximately 20 percent of the total funds paid out of the state insurance fund for injured workers goes toward payment of prescription drugs. And almost 33 percent of those funds paid for narcotic painkillers in 2011.

Anyone who has been involved in a workplace accident in Ohio is likely familiar with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation. Most workers' compensation claims start with that agency, and it is at those initial hearings where the important issues of payment for medical expenses, loss of wages and loss of future earning capacity can be determined.

With such a large number of Ohio workers currently dealing with this agency - they report that approximately 7,000 workers are currently taking painkillers at "physically dependent" levels - some are beginning to worry about the long term effects. The agency is beginning to restrict the types of painkillers that can be prescribed to an injured worker.

Workplace injuries are a serious matter. They can leave the injured worker full of worry about how to provide for his family when the paychecks stop. But one of the most important parts of the medical benefits provided by the workers' compensation fund is to lessen any pain associated with the worker's injury. Hopefully the new changes to prescription medications are not taken to a point where injured workers are not receiving the care they need. The effort is part of a continuing overhaul of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, in an attempt to reduce overall costs.

Source:, "Ohio injured workers fund battling painkiller issues," Andrew Welsh-Huggins, July 28, 2012

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