Winter 2019: Healthcare Updates To Know

To help keep you aware of substantial updates happening in healthcare, we’ve rounded up the most recent industry updates concerning new laws, initiatives, pilot programs and more across the country.

FDA Approves New Opioid to Help Manage Acute Pain With High Regulations

At the end of 2018, the FDA authorized a new opioid to help manage acute pain called Dsuvia. Given the state of the opioid crisis in the U.S., it cannot be obtained outside of a hospital or medical setting and will not be made available to patients for home use.

Dsuvia can be administered to patients under the tongue for pain management, instead of requiring doctors to rely on intravenous routes for pain-relieving drugs like morphine. In particular, the drug was designed to aid U.S. soldiers suffering from pain on the battlefield, where it can be given to patients quickly and easily.

RETAIN Initiative Developed by U.S. Department of Labor

A new collaborative project developed by several entities within the U.S. Department of Labor will test the effectiveness of services intended to help employees who endure a work disability while on the job. Called RETAIN (Retaining Employment and Talent after Injury/Illness Network), the goal of the project is to lower workforce barriers of entry to employees with a high risk of developing a disability and to decrease long-term work disabilities. With $100 million in funding, it will be implemented in eight states: California, Ohio, Connecticut, Minnesota, Kentucky, Vermont, Kansas and Washington.

The U.S. Justice Department Distributed $320 Million in Grants to Fight the Opioid Crisis

Former U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, announced the presidential administration will designate $320 million to combat the effects of the U.S. opioid crisis. By far the largest percentage of the funding, $162 million will be apportioned to help the nation’s legal entities develop new programs to help curtail opioid abuse and address the criminal component of the issue at the state and local level.

Patients Can More Easily Qualify to Receive Medical Marijuana in New York

New York State Governor recently authorized SB 8987, which broadens out the list of conditions and ailments that qualify people to receive medical marijuana treatment through the state’s approved program. Most notably this includes patients suffering from chronic pain that compromises work ability and quality of life, with the goal of decreasing patient reliance on opioids and providing doctors with another treatment option.

Texas Adopts Updates to Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation

The Division of Workers’ Compensation within the Texas Department of Insurance adopted a handful of new amendments that require updated qualifications for doctor certification and hopes to encourage more physicians to partake in the system.

According to the bill, these amendments will “promote transparency in the designated doctor assignment process, retain licensed medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy, clarify certain designated doctor qualification standards and update certification requirements.”

Washington State Finds Acupuncture Improves Back Pain and Injury

A pilot program developed by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries revealed the positive effects of acupuncture treatment on workers dealing with lower back injuries and chronic pain. A promising number of patients reported meaningful improvement, as reported to the department by the organization’s Advisory Committee on Healthcare Innovation and Evaluation.


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