The Louisiana Commission on Preventing Opioid Abuse held its last scheduled meeting yesterday at the Department of Health in Baton Rouge. The goal of the meeting was to reach consensus and finalize the list of recommendations from each of the eight topic-specific teams. Malcolm Broussard, Co-Chair of the Commission and head of the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, led the meeting and emphasized to the members assembled that the body had already passed its deadline and that the Legislature is expecting quick action.
After reviewing changes and accepting the draft recommendations from topics 5, 6 and 7, recommendation 3.6 – which addresses a potential workers’ compensation pharmacy formulary – came up again.
The recommendation instructs the Legislature to consider a measure to add a closed pharmacy formulary (such as the “Official Disability Guidelines” formulary used in Texas) to the workers’ compensation statute. The issue was debated at the last meeting between Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA) Director Sheral Kellar and Louisiana Association of Self-Insured Employers (LASIE) Executive Director Gary Patureau. With only one vote (Patureau’s) in favor of the recommendation, it was decided that it would be removed from the next draft.
However, in emailed exchanges to the Commission members and the public prior to yesterday’s meeting, Director Kellar and Paul Hubbell of the Society of Interventional Pain Physicians of Louisiana once again asked that 3.6 be removed, as the draft sent out for yesterday’s meeting still contained the item. The meeting minutes showed that it was voted down.
Director Kellar, in an apparent effort to put the matter to rest, weighed in yesterday during the meeting, saying that “inasmuch as 3.6 is going to be omitted from the recommendations, I would suggest that 3.6 also be eliminated from the rules [listed in topic 8] as well.”
Topic 8 is the section that the report writer will use to list rules and laws that must be changed in order to move the Commission’s recommendations forward. Broussard confirmed to Kellar yesterday that 3.6 will not be in the final draft in either topic 3 or topic 8.
After reaching consensus on the rest of the recommendations with a few minor changes, Broussard discussed the Commission’s next steps. He said that the report writer has already started to pull together the recommendations into a draft for the Legislature, and that he expects said report to get to the Capitol by April 1st. Since language will have to be changed from the rough topic proposals the Commission has been using, Broussard urged the six team leaders to remain engaged in the process so that “the essence of language and intent” of each recommendation remains intact.
There are no further meetings of the Louisiana Commission on Preventing Opioid Abuse scheduled, but a potential continuation of the body is in the cards after the Regular Session in the Spring.
Download the draft distributed for yesterday’s meeting, with the addition of edits discussed and approved during the meeting here:
Image Credit: Awane