Workers' Comp Bill Tackles Opioid Abuse and High Insurance Costs

Date: January 23, 2018

PA Ranked Second Among States for the Number of Opioids Prescribed to Injured Workers

NFIB has been fighting for passage of SB 936 which creates a formulary for treatment of injured workers and the drugs prescribed. We believe it will prevent the overprescribing of opioids and significantly reduce insurance costs for small business.

The bill got a boost this week when it passed a state House committee, and House Speaker Mike Turzai held a news conference to explain how the bill would strengthen the fight against opioid addiction and overdose deaths. The bill has already passed the full state Senate and will get a House vote soon. 

Click here to read a recent editorial from NFIB PA published in the Patriot News

Below is the news release issued by NFIB Pennsylvania and a video of the House Speaker’s news conference:

HARRISBURG (January 23, 2018) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today hailed state House Speaker Mike Turzai and state lawmakers who are calling attention to excessive opioid prescribing practices within the state workers’ compensation system. NFIB Executive State Director Kevin Shivers cited a recent report that ranked Pennsylvania the second highest state for the number of opioids per claim, 87% higher than the median state. SB 936 and HB 18 are among the proposals being considered by the state legislature to combat opioid overprescribing and abuse in the workers’ comp system.

“Many employers worry the opioid addiction begins with the overprescribing of painkillers,” said Kevin Shivers. “I thank Speaker Turzai and state lawmakers for making SB 936 a priority, and thereby taking an important step to address the plague that has resulted in so many overdose deaths in Pennsylvania.”

Shivers praised House Labor and Industry Committee Chairman Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin), and SB 936 sponsor Sen. Don White (R-Indiana) and for their efforts to move this important legislation forward. SB 936 was approved by the House committee this morning and now heads to a vote in the full House. The bill previously was passed by the state Senate by a vote of 34 to 16. Shivers also applauded state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Berks, Lehigh) for sponsoring a similar bill in the House.

The legislation will require that the PA Department of Labor and Industry adopt an evidence-based drug formulary for the workers’ compensation system to reduce overprescribing of opioid painkillers. It also sets up a formula for other drugs and the dosage considered appropriate for certain injuries. That will reduce costs of insurance premiums for small businesses.

A report on state’s workers’ insurance costs found Pennsylvania ranked at number 12 in cost per covered employee and 22-percent higher than the average of all states.

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Video of Speaker Mike Turzai’s news conference:

Related Content: Small Business News | Pennsylvania

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