If you are injured on the job, worker’s compensation insurance will pay your medical expenses, including long-term expenses like physical therapy and rehabilitation services.
In many cases, workplace illnesses or accidents result in long-lasting or chronic pain, which is treated by pain management therapy.
Pain Management Changes For Worker’s Compensation Claimants
Pain management may take many forms, including regular physical therapy, periodic steroid or corticoid injections, and medication. The North Carolina Industrial Commission has recently implemented new rules for pain management treatments, designed to reduce the chance of opioid addiction in worker’s compensation claimants with chronic pain.
The new rules, which went into effect on May 1, 2018, specify which medications may be prescribed during the “acute” (defined as the first 12 weeks following an accident or injury) phase of treatment, and the “chronic” (defined as pain treatment lasting more than 12 weeks after an accident or injury).
Beginning on November 1, 2018, all health care providers will be required to review the Controlled Substances Reporting System, and to document any targeted controlled substance prescriptions, as well as any potential issues that may indicate that the prescription of certain controlled substances would not be appropriate.
In all cases, the health care provider must show that non-pharmacological treatments have failed to alleviate the claimant’s pain before prescribing certain controlled substances, and must limit the amount of medications prescribed to the lowest effective dose, and for short periods of time. The claimant may be required to submit to urine testing before certain controlled substances are prescribed, and before refills are prescribed.
Worker’s compensation claimants who are being treated for chronic pain should be aware of the rules so they can ask their treating physicians about their options when non-pharmacological pain management techniques are not effective. It is also important to remember that all employees have the right to request information about their physicians’ treatment plans, and to request a review by the Industrial Commission if they believe the treatment they are receiving is inadequate.
When to Contact an Attorney
If you have any questions about the treatment you are receiving, or about the worker’s compensation process, and especially if you believe you are being denied worker’s compensation benefits, talk to an experienced North Carolina worker’s compensation attorney.
There are time limits for reporting injuries and filing claims, and missing a deadline could mean the loss of much needed benefits. The attorneys at Campbell & Associates can explain your potential benefits and outline the procedure for filing a claim in a free consultation. Call us today at 704-326-7243.