Governor Baker Unveils Workers’ Compensation Pilot Program for Opioid-Related Cases

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker has announced a new voluntary program to assist injured workers who have settled workers’ compensation claims to get treatment for pain management, aimed at limiting the use of opioids or other narcotics.

The program seeks to resolve court cases more swiftly by assigning a care coordinator to mediate treatment options between an injured worker and the insurance company paying for medical care.

“Coordinating alternative viable chronic pain management options between an injured worker and their insurance company can reduce the chance of addiction to prescription opioids,” said Baker.

Workers compensation cases are handled by judges in the Department of Industrial Accidents, an agency within the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

Judy Walden Scarafile, a member of the Regional Substance Abuse Council for Barnstable County, has been named to the nine-person committee that is being formed to oversee the pilot program.

Massachusetts is one of the first states to implement this type of program for workers’ compensation cases involving long-term opioid use.

The pilot program is designed for individuals with settled workers’ compensation cases who are still being treated with opioids, but the insurance company seeks to stop payment for continued-use of opioids.

Those types of cases can take up to a year to settle while an individual is continually prescribed opioids.

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