Labor Department Begins Monitoring Federal Employees’ Opioid Use

The Labor Department has announced it will begin monitoring opioid prescription usage under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act.

The Department of Labor announced today that it has begun procedures aimed at monitoring and managing federal employees’ prescription usage of opioids under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act.

The move is in response to President Trump’s recent executive order to combat opioid addiction.

Effective June 26, 2017, OWCP’s (Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs) Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (DFEC) established a prior authorization process for all compounded medications containing opioids. Any physician who wishes to prescribe a compounded opioid medication must complete a Letter of Medical Necessity certifying that they have considered other treatment options and they are appropriately monitoring the use of these highly addictive medications.

Over the next year, this prior authorization process will be expanded to include individuals who seek to fill new prescriptions for opioid medications. Prior authorization will eventually be extended to other individuals receiving opioid medications in long-term FECA cases.

The DFEC provides benefits for federal employees who sustain a workplace injury or illness.

“When prescribed and used appropriately, opioid drugs can provide necessary and safe pain relief to injured workers. However, opioids carry a risk of substance use disorder and accidental overdose. Due to these safety concerns, we believe these additional monitoring steps are necessary and appropriate,” said Gary A. Steinberg, deputy director of OWCP.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.