About the Study
This study includes a systematic review of existing evidence on the intersection of the opioid epidemic and workers’ compensation programs administered by public and private payers. The study will analyze existing evidence and identify innovative interventions and initiatives that may be relevant to the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) client/customer population, and will develop research and evaluation design options for generating new evidence in the field.
The first report from this study, Workers’ Compensation and the Opioid Epidemic: State of the Field in Opioid Prescription Management highlights the most promising policies, strategies, and practices for opioid prescription management between 2014 and 2019. The environmental scan covered approaches applied in workers’ compensation programs and other health care settings, such as health insurance programs and health care systems. The supplemental resource provides detailed information on each of the reviewed studies with sort-and-filter capabilities.
- State of the Field in Opioid Prescription Management (Final Report, August 2020)
- State of the Field in Opioid Prescription Management Reviewed Studies' Profiles (Study Matrix, August 2020)
- What are existing policies, strategies and interventions implemented among the 50 state workers’ compensation programs to address prescription opioid misuse and overuse? What are the promising approaches, issues and challenges associated with implementation?
- What are strategic or programmatic interventions that may be relevant to the FECA population? Why are they promising?
- What are opportunities for generating new evidence on workers’ compensation programs and the prescription opioid crisis?
The following takeaways are from the State of the Field in Opioid Prescription Management final report:
- Multi-pronged approaches involving more stakeholders and prescribing factors may be more effective than narrow ones. State-level policies that target prescribers, pharmacists, health insurers, and patients may produce better results than policies targeting only one group.
- Data and technology that can track and manage opioid prescribing can have advantages and may improve policy implementation.
- Some states and health care systems combined multiple intervention strategies. The scan found the multifaceted approach effective in modifying opioid prescribing practices within health care systems.
- Policies combining prescriber education with tracking and reinforcing can be effective. For example, prescriber education was commonly paired with peer-based feedback and reinforcement.
- Policies imposing dispensing limits can substantially reduce opioid prescriptions.
- Healthcare and insurance systems that adopt or enforce updated opioid prescribing guidelines by federal and state authorities and by professional medical associations can reduce opioid prescribing rates, doses, and duration.
Project Duration: 39 Months
Contract End Date: December 2021
Contractor: Mathematica Policy Research with University of Connecticut Health Center and Summit Consulting
For More Information: ChiefEvaluationOffice@dol.gov
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by external, third-party contractors in accordance with the Department of Labor Evaluation Policy. CEO’s research development process includes extensive technical review at the design, data collection and analysis stage, including: external contractor review and OMB review and approval of data collection methods and instruments per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Institutional Review Board (IRB) review to ensure studies adhere to the highest ethical standards, review by academic peers (e.g., Technical Working Groups), and inputs from relevant DOL agency and program officials and CEO technical staff. Final reports undergo an additional independent expert technical review and a review for Section 508 compliance prior to publication. The resulting reports represent findings from this independent research and do not represent DOL positions or policies.