The US Office of the Inspector General reported that the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the assessment of federal workers' compensation claims and that changes to the federal opioid management rules did not increase the use of narcotic painkillers.
The Office of Workers & # 39; Compensation Program received 2,866 claims for covid-19 in the first five months after the declaration of a national public health disaster, OIG said.
“As a result of this influx, the OWCP Federal Employees' Compensation Program anticipated a potential strain on resources and requirements. processing delays ”, it says in a summary of the report from the inspector's general office. "As part of its response, FECA developed a contingency plan, which included redistribution of resources from opioid management to assessment of covid-1
OIG said that its analysis of case management and medical billing data from December 2018 to March 2021 showed that it was relevant to adjudication of claims decreased by 15% during the audit period.
"The decline was mainly driven by claims about COVID-19, which took longer to judge than other claims," the summary reads.
While FECA was able to improve, claiming that the verdict was current, 46% of COVID-19 claims remained open as of March 31
"We also found that changes made by FECA to opioid management in response to the pandemic have not affected opioid use. among receivables negative; Overall, opioid use continued to decline, says OIG in its summary. "For example, we found that the number of applicants receiving opioid prescriptions and morphine-equivalent dose levels continued both downward trends throughout the audit period."
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