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House Labor and Industry Committee Holds Hearing on Drug Prescribing in Workers Compensation Program

February 17, 2017

Members of the Pennsylvania House Labor and Industry Committee heard testimony from various stakeholders about House Bill 18, introduced by Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh), aimed at reducing opioid abuse within the Workers’ Compensation Program.

As a result of hearings on House Bill 1800 during the 2015-2016 legislative session, House Bill 18 reflects discussions focused on introducing legislation to adopt a drug formulary within the Workers’ Compensation Program. The legislation would ensure that all workers’ compensation treatments are consistent with or recommended by evidence-based medical treatment guidelines chosen from nationally recognized treatment guidelines appropriate for ensuring access to appropriate care.

Specifically, the Department of Labor and Industry is instructed to select an “evidence-based drug formulary appropriate for resolving issues related to drugs prescribed for or related to the treatment of work-related injuries”. Once the Department of Labor and Industry has selected a prescription drug formulary, the department will solicit public comment and will ensure the formulary is available through the internet for reference by physicians and the public.

In addition, the legislation will require utilization review organizations and peer review organizations to meet standards that are the same as similar organizations performing utilization reviews for other types of health insurance.

HAP commends Rep. Mackenzie for his efforts to address the opioid epidemic through various areas of potential abuse and looks forward to continuing the work this legislative session on the opioid issue.

For more information or questions, please contact Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice-president state legislative advocacy or Scott Bishop, HAP’s senior vice-president legislative advocacy.

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