Sometimes our clients are surprised when they are drug tested during their open workers’ compensation claim, many months after the accident/injury has happened. Most injured workers fully expect and understand a drug test on the day of an accident, but some injured workers are caught off guard when they are seeing their pain management physician and are tested when receiving treatment. Insurance companies and the physicians authorized by insurance companies (the “carriers” in workers’ compensation) have drug tests performed for a variety of reasons and it is important to understand the reasoning behind the process.
Pain management doctors want to be sure that the prescription drugs they are prescribing are actually being used by their patients and used as intended. Generally, the same doctors do not want to prescribe narcotics to their patients if the patients are using illegal drugs of any kind. Ordinarily, a pain management contract is in place between the physician and the patient addressing 1) that random drug tests may be performed and 2) the consequences of any positive drug test for illicit drugs. According to studies conducted by the insurance industry, injured workers have over 67% inconsistent results with drug testing regarding prescription drugs indicating that drugs were found in the patient’s system that was not prescribed for the patient and/or drugs prescribed for the patient anticipated to be found were absent. Over 10% of the average injured workers test positive for illicit drugs, with marijuana being the most common drug that tests positive.
While not all pain management physicians drug test, many do, as the physician often views the practices to help reduce the risk of drug dependence, drug abuse, and prescription abuse.
If you have any questions about drug tests and how they relate to your workers’ compensation claim, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Harris Guidi Rosner, PA. We can help you. Call us at (904) 777-7777 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.