In 2014 the Workers’ Compensation Board implemented a new hearing process to address possible abuse of long-term opiate medication.
The medical treatment guidelines allow long-term opiate use only in limited circumstances. This process is initiated by either a medical report or record review performed by the insurance company which concludes that a claimant should be weaned from opiates.
Copies are sent to your treating doctor who should immediately respond to both the carrier and Workers’ Compensation Board if he/ she disagrees with their conclusion. If your doctor responds and explains why your current medications and dosages are still necessary this could, possibly, end this process.
If your doctor does not respond or fails to properly address the issue a hearing will be scheduled, and medical depositions ordered by the Law Judge. If the Judge rules that a weaning program should be directed the carrier will be responsible for the cost of the program along with the cost of the medications. After 30 days the carrier will only be responsible for the cost of narcotic medications written by an addiction treatment program physician.
We can’t stress how important it is that your doctor fully cooperates. Unfortunately, many do not and the end result is our law firm being required to appear for you in Court without any supporting documentation from your doctor. The outcome of that hearing is almost always a direction that you begin a weaning program, even if you still require continued use of your medications to help with your chronic and severe pain.