Search
RSS
Subscribe

Enter your email address to receive new posts in your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Share

Like what you see? Share!

Twitter
Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at hrlawupdate@verrilldana.com, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Monday
Sep192016

Will The New Maine Opiate Control Law Impact the Workers’ Compensation System?

Stories of the horrors of opiate over-prescription and abuse are abundant, and Maine has not been spared the ravages of that epidemic.  In response to the growing problem, Governor LePage, in April of this year, signed into law a bill intended to place some limits on the prescription of opioids in situations involving both “acute pain” and “chronic pain”. Under the new law, health care providers will be limited to prescribing no more than a 30-day supply of opioid medication in any 30-day period for patients with chronic pain. However, there is no limit on the number of times that a 30-day prescription can be written by a provider. The practical impact on chronic pain patients in the workers’ compensation system will be one of two outcomes: either, patients will now have to visit their providers every 30 days rather than the every three to six months schedule typical in long-term workers’ compensation chronic pain cases; or providers will be decreasing the number of opioid prescriptions issued to chronic pain patients as their practices suffer from limits on the ability to accommodate every-thirty-day appointments for medication renewal.

Already the author has heard knowledgeable members of the workers’ compensation bar suggest that the impact may be to encourage more chronic pain patients to taper opioid doses and seek alternative pain relief medication, such as medical marijuana. The positive aspect of that scenario is that more of the medically-challenging cases may then be better postured for a final settlement, releasing the injured worker from the workers’ compensation system while simultaneously putting more settlement money into the worker’s pocket, as the requirement of a Medicare Set-Aside would be drastically reduced. However, only time will tell what the impact may be on the Maine workers’ compensation system as it will undoubtedly take time for chronic pain patients and their providers to both comprehend the new limits on opioid prescription, and design the best path forward toward a productive, pain-limited life.

Even legal use of opioids can have serious consequences for your workplace. For guidance on work-related injuries or managing employees with legitimate medication requirements, contact a member of the Verrill Dana Labor & Employment Group for more information on how to manage medication and work-related injuries in your workplace.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« Calling All Workers' Compensation Attorneys! | Main | NLRB Blurs the Lines Between Being a Student and Being an Employee »