Access to Schedule II Painkillers is Changing
Many California injured workers may have noticed a decrease in access to long prescribed schedule II painkillers accompanied by an increase in difficulty to obtain these medications. There is a rising trend in California, among work-comp carriers, to restrict opioid prescriptions in an effort to reduce the potentially dangerous outcomes of long term use of these medications.
According to workcompcentral.com in a recent article, State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) intends to be a leader in the effort to restrict these opioid prescriptions. Many injured workers, with SCIF and with other carriers, have likely noticed the 24-48 hour delay that can come with mandatory prior authorization of schedule II painkillers; or the overall reduction of their pain medication across the board.
SCIF has put new measures in place as a way to reduce the use of these medications. One of these measures, as mentioned above is the requirement of prior authorization for opioid prescriptions longer than two weeks. For those that have not experienced it yet, this usually means you drop off your prescription and request is then sent to the adjuster for approval, this process can be quick, within a few hours or the same day you drop it off. However, if your adjuster is unavailable or worse out of the office, it can take a few days to get the medication authorized. This can be a painful few days for those that are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from the abrupt lack of the medication in their systems, worse yet this can happen every month or bi-monthly!
While this requirement cannot be eliminated, our office takes on the responsibility once notified of a prior authorization or prescription issue to make sure that the request is received and necessary steps are taken to minimize the delay.
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