Things you should know

Mail order pharmacy savings rarely tapped in Workers’ Comp

Few workers’ compensation prescriptions are filled via mail order despite lower prices for payers and increased compliance by injured workers according to CompPharma’s latest Prescription Drug Management in Workers’ Compensation survey. The 21 large workers comp payers in the survey reported that 4.7% of prescriptions were filled via mail order last year, down from 5.0% in 2013.

Another finding of the survey was that long-term opioid use tops workers’ comp payer worries.

Industrial noise exposure and heart disease

People with long-term exposure to loud noise at work or in leisure activities may be at increased risk of heart disease, according to a new study. “Compared with people with normal high-frequency hearing, people with bilateral high-frequency hearing loss were approximately two times more likely to have coronary heart disease,” said lead author Dr. Wen Qi Gan of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health in Lexington.The study was published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Total Worker Health center to focus on ‘productive aging’

NIOSH has opened a virtual center for aging as part of its Total Worker Health initiative. The National Center for Productive Aging and Work aims to improve the health of workers through research and by focusing on best practices for “aging-friendly” workplaces.

Compensation for loss of limbs varies widely by state – study

In this study, MarketWatch sifts through workers’ comp benefit tables from each of the 50 states to compare how much is awarded for the loss of various body parts. A leg, for example, is worth considerably less in Massachusetts ($47,385) than in Nevada ($457,418). Arms are apparently valued much higher than legs – the average maximum comp is $169,878 – but it’s highest, again, in Nevada, where the state pays nearly $860,000 per arm. The average payout for hands is nearly $145,000 per hand, but again, Nevada pays the most, at around $738,000. More information

Bladder cancer risk increasing in certain jobs – study

The risk of bladder cancer is rising in some occupations, according to research from the University of Sheffield. The highest risk was found among workers exposed to aromatic amines (including tobacco, dye and rubber workers) and polycystic aromatic hydrocarbons (nurses, waiters and seamen). Agricultural workers had the lowest risk.

The highest risk of death was found among workers exposed to heavy metals and polycystic aromatic hydrocarbons (aluminum workers, electricians and mechanics), diesel and combustion products (military and public safety workers), and aromatic amines (domestic assistants and cleaners, painters and hairdressers). The study was published online Oct. 8 in JAMA Oncology.

Texas limits access to opioids for comp injuries

Two powerful opioids will be reclassified as nonformulary drugs on Texas’ closed drug formulary, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation. Prescriptions for fentanyl transdermal patches (brand name Duragesic) and MS Contin will require preauthorization as of Feb. 1.


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