As the opioid epidemic continues to sweep the country, the North Carolina Industrial Commission has taken notice. In February 2017, Chairman Charlton Allen established an Opioid Task Force aimed at finding solutions to address the opioid epidemic and the impact on workers’ compensation claims. Late last year, the Industrial Commission published draft rules for public comment on the utilization of opioids and pain management in workers’ compensation claims.
On January 16, 2018, the Industrial Commission announced that the proposed rules were published in Volume 32, Issue 14, of the North Carolina Register. A public hearing has been scheduled for March 2, 2018 regarding the proposed rules. The Commission will be accepting comments on the rules until March 19, 2018. According to a press release by the Commission, the proposed rules could be adopted as early as May 1, 2018.
It remains to be seen what impact the Opioid Task Force, and these proposed rules, will have on this ongoing crisis. We will continue to closely monitor these important changes and provide updates regarding any rules going into effect.