BWC Develops Opioid Prescribing Rule


The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) board of directors approved a new opioid prescribing rule aimed at preventing opioid dependence and encouraging physicians to employ current best medical practices when treating injured workers with opioids. Under the rule, BWC will not reimburse for opioid prescriptions written by physicians who fail to use best medical practices.  Best practices include the development of an individualized treatment plan, risk assessment and monitoring of the progress and improvement in function of the worker. The new rule also allows BWC to provide treatment for opioid dependence that arises from the use of opioid medications covered by BWC. BWC began making improvements to its pharmacy program in 2010 to ensure injured workers receive medications necessary for their recovery without endangering their health.  Since the creation of BWC’s first-ever formulary, opiate prescriptions have steadily fallen, dropping by 23.8 million doses, or 41 percent, since 2010. The rule now moves to the Ohio General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.  If approved there, it becomes effective October 1 this year.