Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mass Governor Declares Public Health Emergency

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Executive Update   
Massachusetts Governor declares

Public Health Emergency

60-Day Action Plan to address Opioid Epidemic
April 2, 2014

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Dear Steve, 

We have an epidemic of opiate abuse in Massachusetts...,"
March 27, 2014

Deval Patrick
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 How Bad is the Epidemic?  

  • More than two people die from opioid overdoses every day in Massachusetts.
  • It is estimated that for every person who dies from an overdose, over 50 are saved.
  • In the last few months alone, 140 people have died from overdose.  

Despite Massachusetts taking this extraordinary action, many other states are experiencing the same trends or worse.  According to Kentucky Executive Office of Drug Control Policy, heroin overdose deaths exploded 550% (2011 to 2012).  In Vermont, heroin deaths rose over 88% from 2012 to 2013.

 What is the 60-Day Action Plan?

The 60-day plan grants EMERGENCY POWERS to the Public Health Commissioner to begin the following actions:
  1. Universally permit first responders to carry and administer Naloxone (Narcan) opioid antagonist to reverse an overdose.
  2. Immediately prohibit the prescribing and dispensing of the hydrocodone-only drug formulation (commonly known as Zohydro).
  3. Mandate the use of the previous voluntary program Prescription Dispensing Monitoring Program (PDMP).
  4. Re-task state government with better coordinated services and divert non-violent criminal defendants to addiction programs.

Both the United States Senate (S.2134) and the House of Representatives (HR 4241) have introduced bills to withdrawal approval of Zohydro(R) and prohibit the FDA from approving such drugs in the future unless reformulated to prevent abuse.

 Your WorkersComp Plan of Action

Employers/Carriers must employ ROBUST predictive models to identify at-risk injured employees as early as possible in the claim process.  A machine learning approach using transaction level detail, claim notes and the like is the optimal approach. (Cautionary note: the number of variables used is NOT a proxy for a robustness measure of a model.)

Typically, insurance operations can identify upwards of 15% of non-CAT high risk claims between the 90 and 120 day mark.  As we are seeing from the epidemic statistics, this is ID is far too late. Models should identify between Day 1 and Day 30 with significantly higher accuracy rates.

Utilize a data warehouse to capture data and help understand patterns of potential abuse.  Key Performance Indicators (KPI) can be deployed for continuous alerts.

Measure - Monitor - Act

Call us now to help implement your Action Plan to Positively Impact Claim Outcomes. 


Jim Paugh
WorkersComp Analytics LLC
(  617-410-6561  

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