NJ Biz hosts important panel presentation discussing opioids in the workplace for NJ and regional employers, healthcare leaders, influencers
Tackling the issues surrounding opioids in the workplace is a challenge associated with delayed return to function and increased costs. For workers’ compensation patients, higher opioid doses predict poorer functional outcomes.
Early prescription of opioids in these claims forecasts increased claim duration, higher medical costs and increased utilization rates for disability services.
Focus on Best Practices
Dr. Letourneau and panel concurred that opioids should only be employed when other alternatives have not provided sufficient relief — the potential harms outweigh the risks. If used, opioids should be combined with non-opioid analgesics and non-pharmacotherapy options to enable the lowest possible opioid dose.
From the Concordia perspective, this goal is achieved by addressing both the clinical and behavioral health components of treatment, including full biopsychosocial evaluation, coordination of care, and evidence-based treatment approaches.
“Research studies have demonstrated that the number one barrier to achieving recovery in injured workers is psychosocial, including mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and PTSD,” said Dr. Letourneau.
“Recognizing the strong connection between mental and physical health, Concordia utilizes a biopsychosocial model that has shown improved health outcomes in injured workers,” she told the audience.
She explained that pain and disability encompass a complicated interconnection of physiological, psychological and social factors. “Managing only one of these areas is futile, especially while endeavoring to treat the whole person,” she said.
Concordia Care Formula:
- Bio = medical care
- Psychological = psychiatric medication, psychotherapy
- Social support = occupational support, transportation, family support, child care
“By combining behavioral health with evidence-based pain management approaches, a patient-centric approach delivers integrated, quality care that focuses on best outcomes and reduces total overall costs,” said the physician. “As a result, individuals who are caught in the recovery process access the appropriate levels of care that move them along their pathway to recovery.”
Panel Participants (left to right):
Alana Letourneau, M.D., MBA, Vice President of Clinical Program Strategy, Concordia Care
Jack Wenik, Esq., member of the firm, Epstein Becker Green
Dr. A. Bartley Bryt, Chief Medical Officer, Brighton Health Plan Solutions
Valerie Mielke, MSW, Assistant Commissioner, NJ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS)/Department of Health (Moderator)
William Buck, Director of Medical Services, Seabrook House
Omar Baker, M.D., FAAP, Co-president, Chief Quality & Safety Officer and Director of Performance Improvement, Riverside Medical Group
Photo Credit: NJ Biz