Little Rock, AK – The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission recently announced the adoption of Rule 099.41, a drug formulary which regulates all outpatient medications prescribed as a result of work-related injuries. The rule draws on a formulary already in use for state government employees who are injured on the job, with additional provisions for opioid prescriptions based on guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rule applies to new injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2018.
The Commission began the process to establish the rule more than a year ago, holding a public hearing and accepting public comments from various individuals and groups in interest. As a result, several modifications were made to the original draft language. The modified version has been approved by the Arkansas Legislative Council and will take effect on July 1, 2018.
The Commission carefully reviewed formularies in place in several other states and ultimately decided to utilize an evidence-based formulary developed by UAMS, in combination with guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for opioid prescriptions. The formulary is designed to provide injured workers with the most appropriate medications for their injuries, reduce potential addictions by limiting opioid prescriptions, and reduce pharmaceutical costs in workers’ compensation claims.
The rule includes a process for filling workers’ compensation prescriptions and an expedited process for resolving disputes between a provider and a reviewing pharmacist. If medication is denied, a process has been established for reconsideration and appeal, if necessary.
While Rule 099.41 currently applies only to new injuries, the Commission plans to undertake a study to address existing claims in the near future. The rule and additional information regarding the rule may be viewed on the agency’s website, www.awcc.state.ar.us.