Pennsylvania’s legislators try their best to represent their constituents; I believe this is true the vast majority of times. But, there are certainly times when the results of their actions are very difficult to reconcile with the best interests of those they have sworn to protect.
Currently pending in the PA legislature is House Bill 18/Senate Bill 936. If passed, this legislation would completely change how an injured worker in Pennsylvania can receive medications. A “drug formulary” would be set up. This means that no longer would a patient be treated based on the individual needs of the patient, and the individual judgement of his or her doctor. Nope. Instead, decisions would be based on “evidence-based medicine.” That means that what medications would generally be prescribed for a given condition, for the period generally prescribed, would be all that an injured worker in PA could receive.
Therefore, the individual judgment of the doctor is totally irrelevant. The needs of the patient? Not a factor. This is an absurd system, since medicine is not an exact science. Indeed, any physician will openly admit that not every patient will react to every condition in the same way. Some heal faster than others. Not every patient has exactly the same symptoms or limitations, even from the same condition.
To treat injured workers in Pennsylvania worse than any other group of patients, simply because they were unlucky enough to be injured on the job is mean-spirited and obscene. The politicians behind this piece of legislation should be ashamed. They will tell you this is a response to the opioid crisis; I will tell you that is a load of crap.
Nowhere in this legislation is the opioid crisis directly addressed. As discussed in an excellent opinion piece on PennLive.com by Dr. George L. Rodriguez, a pain management physician, there is no attempt to better educate or control the doctors who are prescribing the opioids. Instead, we are given this legislation that restricts access to ALL MEDICATIONS (not just opioids) from injured workers in PA.
We urge all the voters in PA to immediately contact your state senators and representatives and tell them that this is unacceptable. Tell them injured workers are not to be treated as garbage. Tell them that decisions on medications with injured workers should be made by properly trained physicians on an individual case basis, the way every other patient should be treated. This cannot stand.