CA Workers' Comp Agency Issues Proposed Opioids Guideline

The Division of Workers' Compensation is accepting public comments until April 21.

California's Division of Workers' Compensation is accepting public comments until April 21 on a proposed guideline document about for the use of opioids to treat work-related injuries. This is being done in order to remove the sections of the Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule that address the use of opioids in the Chronic Pain Medical Treatment Guidelines; DWC intends to remove the existing parts of the MTUS that refer to opioid use and to include the proposed guideline.

"Opioid misuse is a national concern. California is on the forefront of providing appropriate care and improving outcomes by issuing these guidelines," said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations.

"We created separate guidance for the use of opioids in the California workers' compensation system to highlight the importance of appropriately treating workers in pain while also ensuring safety when using these medications," said DWC Executive Medical Director Dr. Rupali Das. "A key goal of this guideline is to ensure restoration of function and early return to work following an injury."

The proposed "Guideline for the Use of Opioids to Treat Work-Related Injuries" provides a set of best practices for considering opioids in the management of acute, subacute, post-operative, and chronic pain related to work-related injuries. Recommendations include when it is appropriate to consider adding opioids to the treatment regimen; medications to avoid when using opioids; methods and tools to monitor patients on opioids; the need to educate patients about the adverse effects of opioid use; and responsible storage and disposal of opioids.

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