by Jennifer M. Smith, Esq.

Undoubtedly due to recent media coverage and increased awareness of the dangerous addictive effects of narcotic pain killers, proposed legislation in Minnesota would require written contracts between physicians who prescribe opioid pain medications and the workers’ compensation patients who receive them. As reported in a recent Business Insurance article H.B. and S.B. 1603 seek to establish standards for workers’ compensation healthcare providers when prescribing narcotic medications, but the legislation falls short of requiring any specific language for the proposed contracts. The proposed legislation also includes the creation of a program that would advise injured workers on the risks of spinal fusion surgeries, another area of growing cost and concern in the workers’ compensation realm.

Georgia does not currently have any requirement for a contract between physicians and workers’ compensation claimants regarding opioid prescriptions, although several reputable physician practices have elected to use such documents to ensure their patients are aware of the dangers of narcotic pain medications and to set expectations regarding these prescriptions.