Coalition, Local Chambers Urge House Approval of Important Workers’ Compensation Reform Measure

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

The PA Chamber recently sent two communications to lawmakers urging support for S.B. 936, which would establish a prescription drug formulary for injured workers in the Commonwealth.

group memo was sent to House lawmakers from a broad coalition including hospitals, pharmacists, addiction treatment professionals, healthcare providers, local governments, school districts and other business advocacy groups, among others. The memo explained that a prescription drug formulary would help streamline medication prescriptions, which would help patients avoid overuse; while also helping to ensure the quality of outside entities tasked with evaluating treatment decisions. This reform is especially critical in light of the state’s prescription drug and opioid abuse epidemic – it would offer a legislative remedy to help mitigate the crisis as it relates to injured workers.

letter signed by the PA Chamber and the leaders of dozens of local chambers of commerce statewide was also sent to the General Assembly in recent weeks. It stresses in part that S.B. 936 (and H.B. 18, similar legislation introduced in the House) is critically important, particularly in light of a recent study which ranked Pennsylvania third among 25 states for opioid abuse among injured workers, at a level 78 percent higher than the median state. The letter also noted that other states with formularies have experienced success in reducing the number of opioid-dependent WC patients – specifically mentioning Ohio, which was able to cut the number of opioid-dependent patients in half just three years after adopting its formulary in 2011.

“Formularies are standard in regular and publicly-funded health insurance to help ensure appropriate patient care, address over-prescribing of medication and premature or inappropriate prescribing of opioids,” the chambers of commerce letter stated. “Both of these reforms would improve outcomes for injured workers and continue the critical work of lawmakers and the Wolf Administration to combat the prescription drug and opioid epidemic.”

Senate Bill 936 awaits consideration in the House Labor and Industry Committee.

The Columbia Montour Chamber has taken an official position of being in favor of this legislation, and was one of the many chambers of commerce included in the aforementioned group memo sent to House lawmakers.