Workers Compensation Experts Discuss Medical Expense Inflation and Opioid Addiction

photo-2The Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company (CEIC) (formerly the Injured Workers’ Insurance Fund – IWIF), hosted county elected officials, administrators, and human resources personnel for a reception and forum to discuss topics in workers’s compensation including cost drivers and employee safety at the MACo Summer Conference.

Wicomico County Executive and MACo Immediate Past President Rick Pollitt introduced Chesapeake’s speakers, Tim Michels, COO, Tina Thomas-Lyght, Senior Underwriter, Amy Gates, Director of the Strategic Business Unit, and Dr. Stephen Fisher, Medical Advisor. The panelists described trends in workers compensation and ways that counties can lower their costs while protecting workers in need.  Trends in workers compensation include inflation of medical expenses of up to 8% per year, and problems with prescription opioid addiction in injured workers.

Maryland Senator Mac Middleton, Chair of the Finance Committee, shared the history of Chesapeake’s work in Maryland and the importance of protecting injured workers. Senator Middleton also noted his concern for the issue of prescription opioid addiction in injured workers and asked the panel what a model county program to confront that issue would look like.  Dr. Fisher responded that counties need to work to educate their workers of the dangers of addiction associated with these drugs, advising them that they should be used only as a last resort.