Essential Updates: Comp Medical News for December

Welcome to this month’s edition of Comp Medical News. Opioid tapering, depression, and medical marijuana are your headlines for December 2018.

Back Pain, with Depression Increases Spending

A new study from the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson has found that back pain patients who are also depressed have significantly higher health care costs than the general back pain population. Among nearly 73,000 people in the analysis, 6,739 reported having painful back problems such as vertebral disc issues, and 1,310 of the people with back pain also had a depression diagnosis. The research team found that back pain patients with depression had about $13,000 in total health care expenses per year, as compared to $7,500 for those without depression.

Read more from Reuters here.

FDA Touts App to Help Addicted Stay in Treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared a mobile medical application to help increase retention (the amount of time a patient participates) in an outpatient treatment program for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD). The reSET-O app is a prescription cognitive behavioral therapy intended to be used in addition to outpatient treatment under the care of a health care professional, in conjunction with treatment that includes buprenorphine and contingency management.

Read more here.

Commentary Express Concern Over “Forced” Opioid Tapering

The authors of a new piece published in Pain Medicine are calling some opioid tapering programs a “large scale humanitarian issue.” The group of doctors called out “aggressive opioid dose reductions over a defined period” regardless of the length of the defined period. The commentary claims it is protecting “legacy” patients who are on high doses of opioids increased over the course of years.

Read more from Pain Medicine News here.

Medical Marijuana Pain Benefits Unproven

Australian researchers published a study in Lancet Public Health which asserts that while medical marijuana may have health benefits, but it likely could not replace opioids for pain relief. The study found “no evidence of a temporal relationship between cannabis use and pain severity or pain interference.” Furthermore, the researchers found “no evidence that cannabis use reduced prescribed opioids use or increased rates of opioids discontinuation.” This study evolved out of a larger observational prospective study of about 1,500 participants in 2012.

Read more from Pain Medicine News here.

NCCI Publishes Comp Success Story in Crush Injury Claim

NCCI published a new piece in the “Success Stories” section of its website focusing on Jim, a residential carpenter who suffered a severe crush injury. The injury eventually required six surgeries under a 15 month period. NCCI noted that Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies’ quick approvals for transportation equipment and collaborative approach. Jim eventually needed a left foot equipped car, and with this development, has increased his work hours from 12 to 32 per week.

Learn more here.

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