Ohio residents with work-related injuries in most cases must try remedies like rest,physical therapy and chiropractic care before turning to spinal fusion surgery and prescription painkillers,according to a ground breaking new guideline that is partly meant to reduce the over prescribing of opiods,but this guideline isn’t settling well with everyone.

Washington,Colorado and Minnesota already restrict injured-worker payments for back surgery,officials said, but the Ohio policy,which went into effect January 1,goes further by embedding an opiod warning specifically into its surgical restriction.The state has been among the hardest hit by the overdose crisis.

At issue is a procedure in which portion of the patients spine are permanently fused to address certain conditions, including degenerative disc disease and severe chronic low-back pain. In Ohio,such surgeries are preformed about 600 times a year.

The new rule at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation,the nation’s largest state run injured-worker fund,requires an injured worker to undergo at least 60 days of alternative care-while avoiding opiod use,if possible-before resorting to spinal fusion surgery,with a few exceptions for the most severe back injuries. By including the opiod warning,it’s a more aggressive restriction than other states that also decline to pay immediately for the surgery.


Source: Associated Press, apnews.com