Workers’ Compensation and the Opioid Epidemic

The most interesting articles I came across this past week are about different but related subjects that are very important to me. The first article is about Workers’ Compensation and the importance of getting the injured worker back to work, and the second article is another sad truth of the Opioid epidemic. Below you’ll find these articles and my thoughts on their implications

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed below are those of Mark Pew, Senior Vice President of Product Development and Marketing, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Preferred Medical.


Return-to-Work Means Return to Profitability

Return-to-work (RTW) programs are very beneficial to the injured worker who is returning to the workplace. These programs are intended to create a smooth transition back to as close to the injured workers full job responsibilities as possible, short and long-term. RTW is important because it keeps costs down in having to recruit and train new employees. It also keeps top talent on your team. The key to a successful RTW program is finding the right doctors and a commitment from leadership. Done right, these programs are a win-win for employers and employees.

Mark’s thoughts:
What is the key to a successful return-to-work (RTW) Program? The commitment of leadership and finding the right doctors. There are some great hints in this article about how to select the best care to foster RTW, but a lot of it comes down to communication and collaboration.
But another way to think about it…I have consistently said that RTW is just as important to the employee as to the employer. The best person to do the job is the one who has done the job, therefore getting the employee back to work is immensely important to the employer for productivity and efficiency. But the inability to work where many people receive most of their self-esteem (sense of accomplishment, sense of purpose, working as part of a team) can create psychosocial issues for the employee, so the faster they RTW the better their overall recovery. As has been said, worklessness is a co-morbidity just like hypertension and obesity. Set aside productivity and cost…helping restore the injured worker is why RTW is so important.

Patient Deaths Bring Scrutiny to Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Centers

Madison Cross, an Ohio native, admitted herself to a drug detox center in Arizona to address her opioid addiction. Soon after, she became ill and requested multiple times to the staff to be taken to the hospital. The drug detox center ignored her request and she was later found dead in her room.

Mark’s thoughts:
There have been a number of crises in the US that turn out to be new revenue opportunities for profiteers that don’t necessarily follow best practices. The same is true, unfortunately, in treatment for substance abuse/opioid use disorder. I’ve read stories from California and Florida that show that just because you say “detox” or “recovery” doesn’t always mean the owners, and practitioners, follow the evidence-based methods for treatment. Or, in this case, apparently common sense (for a referral to a hospital that was one mile away). Do your homework before you, or your loved one, selects a facility. In this case, the “cure” could indeed be worse than the “disease”.

To read everything on my mind this past week, please visit me on LinkedIn at

Until next week,