Facilitating Effective Treatment Plans for Medication Dependent Injured Workers

Author: Angel E. Garrido, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Behavioral Health, Concordia

Concordia Care, Inc. shared insights about the nation’s opioid epidemic and injured workers during a panel presentation at the 2017 ENERGi-sponsored eServices Risk Management Summit.  

Discussions focused on the chronic use of opioids, their role in work-related injuries and the associated delays in recovery. Attendees were not surprised to hear that high doses and prolonged use of opioids for work-related injuries can lead to addiction, increased disability, work loss and delayed recovery. But dependence has become an expensive problem with one study noting that workers’ comp payers spent $1.54 billion on opioids in 2015.

We pointed out that the effective treatment of chronic pain conditions for injured workers must address both the clinical and behavioral health components, including full biopsychosocial evaluation, coordination of care, and evidence-based treatment approaches.

It was an opportunity to call attention to an inquiry conducted at Princeton University which concludes that nearly half of prime age men not in the labor force may have a serious health condition that is a barrier to work and take pain medication on a daily basis. In nearly two-thirds of these cases, they take prescription pain medication. The survey also reports that labor force participation has fallen more in areas where relatively more opioid pain medication is prescribed, causing the problem of depressed labor force participation and the opioid crisis to become intertwined.

Focus on Best Outcomes: Concordia’s Pathways 2 Recovery

One of the reasons that this meeting was so well received is the stark reality facing a growing number of Americans and their employers, particularly workers’ comp payers: the rising prevalence of mental health, substance abuse and psychosocial issues are posing key barriers to successful return to work/function outcomes.

It gave us an opportunity to present Concordia’s Pathways 2 Recovery care model which is designed to identify red flags for prescription misuse, and offer behavioral health strategies to mitigate unnecessary opioid usage for workers’ comp-related injuries.

Leveraging biopsychosocial science, sophisticated predictive data analytics and best practices, Pathways 2 Recovery identifies at-risk patients and advances each individual’s recovery. By combining behavioral health with clinical evidence-based treatment approaches, Concordia delivers an innovative approach. It’s a patient-centered care program designed to help insurers, government entities, self-insured plan sponsors and other managed care organizations improve individual healthcare outcomes and reduce the overall cost of quality care.

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