Two closed pharmacy formulary proposals have been filed so far in this year’s Regular Session, which began April 10th and concludes June 8th. One measure, HB 592 by Representatives Talbot, Barras, Davis and Lance Harris, requires the use of the Work Loss Data Institute’s Official Disability Guidelines (ODG) Appendix A. The other, HB 529 by Representative Broadwater, does not require the Louisiana Workforce Commission to implement any specific formulary, but rather, would more broadly ask the LWC and Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA) to create one with input from a range of system stakeholders.
Much like last year’s session, workers’ compensation as a target for lawmakers’ goals appears to be taking a backseat to the state’s ever-looming budget woes. However, several bills have been filed that could impose a pharmacy formulary and restrict opioid prescribing. Stick with Louisiana Comp Blog for full coverage of comp-related happenings until the Session ends on June 8th.
In the following guest post, Carlos Luna, Director of Government Affairs for Reed Group’s MDGuidelines, explores the National Guideline Clearinghouse and whether or not it performs its function – assessing the quality of medical guidelines and improving transparency in the guideline industry. As the Legislature is soon to begin its Regular Session on April 10th and workers’ comp officials anticipate a bill to incorporate the ODG formulary in Louisiana’s system, read on to get Luna’s take on how the National Guideline Clearinghouse could benefit stakeholders across the board.
The inaugural meeting of the Louisiana Commission on Preventing Opioid Abuse was held yesterday at the Department of Health in Baton Rouge. The Commission is the result of HCR 113, a resolution passed in the last regular legislative session and is co-chaired by Malcolm Broussard of the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy and Eric D. Torres of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.
The 2016 Regular Session officially ended at 6 PM yesterday. As lawmakers prepared to move into a second Special Session to remedy the state’s budget woes, HB 280 failed to be called up again in the House for a final vote after three amendments, one of which passed, were forcefully debated in the Senate. Only four measures of any major significance to the workers’ comp industry passed this year. Senator Gatti’s bill standardizing employer credits after successful subrogation efforts and the legislation eliminating the need for a prescription or referral for physical therapy are on the Governor’s desk. Governor Edwards already signed the bill requiring workers’ comp adjusters to be licensed, and HCR 113, which will create a committee to study opioid abuse in Louisiana, was signed by the Speaker of the House.
It’s the home stretch of the 2016 Legislative Session. Although legislators are scheduled to meet a mere half hour after this session ends on June 6th for a second special session to solve the state’s budget woes, some workers’ comp legislation did make it out of the gate and a few measures are close to final passage. Namely, the subrogation bill ensuring employers receive credit for prevailing against a third party as the cause of an accident, the bill stiffening the financial stability practices and procedures for group funds, and the resolution creating the Louisiana Commission on Preventing Opioid Abuse.
The measure requiring workers’ comp adjusters to be licensed has been signed into law by Governor Edwards, and the bill granting further regulatory authority to the Insurance Commissioner to take control of group self-insurance funds in poor financial shape is close to final passage. The remaining relevant legislation is unlikely to move this Session, as Senator Neil Riser, Chairman of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, stated that he would not call any further meetings.
The comp bills that are moving this Session took their next steps, including Senator Gatti’s subrogation bill, which moved favorably out House Labor, and HCR113 to create the Louisiana Commission on Preventing Opioid Abuse. Meanwhile, the adjuster licensure bill is awaiting Governor Edwards’ signature and the measure seeking to expand access to physical therapy without a prescription is set for floor debate next week.
All of the action was in Health and Welfare this week. Legislators in the House considered SB 291 by Senator Mills, a companion measure to HB 623, which would allow patients to access physical therapy care without a prescription or referral. The measure passed favorably out of Committee. The Committee also favorably moved a measure that would create a Commission to study and develop recommendations for Louisiana’s opioid crisis.
Last week, the comp adjuster licensing bill (SB 266) moved favorably out of Committee, as did the group self-insurance fund financials measure (HB 280) in its second hearing. Further, the subrogation bill aimed at reducing comp premiums for employers moved favorably out of Senate Labor. This week, few comp-related bills are moving. HB 280 passed the House Wednesday and will move onto the Senate.