California Adopts Opioid Treatment Guidelines

California Department of Industrial Relations’ Office of Administrative Law has approved the final version of the Medical Treatment Utilisation Schedule (MTUS) regulations that updates the Chronic Pain Medical Treatment Guidelines and adopts Opioids Treatment Guidelines, DIR announced 10 August. With many national reports of rising opioid misuse in recent years, DWC has proposed issuing guidelines and began the process with a forum for public comment in 2014. The guidelines that have been added to the MTUS provide best practices in appropriately treating injured workers and safely using these medications to manage pain. “We welcome this update and addition to the MTUS. The information in these guidelines should aid in the provision of safer and more effective care for California’s injured workers,” said Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) Executive Medical Director Dr. Raymond Meister. The changes to the Chronic Pain Medical Treatment Guidelines are in section 9792.24.2, the Opioids Treatment Guidelines are found in section 9792.24.4, and the clarifying changes to the meaning of chronic pain are in section 9792.23(b)(1) of the California Code of Regulations. The MTUS regulations went into effect on July 28, 2016, and apply to any treatment requests made on or after 29 July 2016. “These guidelines are an important step toward improving appropriate and safe care for workers,” explained Christine Baker, director of DIR. DWC Acting Administrative Director George Parisotto said the division “will move forward shortly to initiate the process to update all of the current MTUS chapters. This process will include new chapters for chronic pain and opioids. Regardless, the new Chronic Pain Medical Treatment Guidelines and Opioids Treatment Guidelines should be consulted and relied upon when making treatment requests and determining the medical necessity of such requests.” The final regulations are available here.

Occupational Health & Safety News, 17 August 2016 ; ;