Advisory committee recommends adding drug screen limits to work comp fee schedule
By Shawn Ashley, eCapitol

The workers compensation Physicians Advisory Committee recommended Friday that urinary drug screening limits be placed in the Workers Compensation Act fee schedule.

The action came during a joint meeting of the advisory committee and the Workers’ Compensation Commission. The commission must now consider whether it to follow the committee’s recommendation and to add the limits, which would then be submitted to the Legislature for final approval.

The committee previously suggested that drug screening be limited to eight per patient per year and up to 40 confirmatory tests. An individual test can include up to 55 different confirmatory tests, Dr. Stephen Wilson, who specializes in pain management and is a founding member of the Oklahoma Pain Society, explained in an interview. The typical tests for opiods, Wilson told the committee and commissioners, includes seven confirmatory tests.

Dr. Jay Cannon, the commission’s medical director, said the limit of 8 tests per year per patient with up to 40 confirmatory tests were the result of work by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the Oklahoma State Medical Association, and the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association. One of the concerns, he said, is that some physicians were testing patients every time they visited their offices.

Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Dr. Leroy Young said it was not necessary to test a patient every time they visit the office. A patient on proper pain management, he added, would be served with 40 confirmatory tests per year.

Wilson said he tests his patients on pain maintenance programs every other month or six times per year. The tests, he explained, identify whether the patient may be taking other substances, including those that could react with the prescribed medication, and help him ensure that the patient is properly taking and not abusing their medication.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend that the commission add the urinary drug testing limitations of 8 per patient per year and up to 40 confirmatory tests to its fee schedule. The commission will consider the issue at a future meeting.

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