In a new post for industry publication WorkCompWire, myMatrixx Chief Clinical Officer Phil Walls shares how the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting effect on workers’ compensation pharmacy. According to Walls, although COVID had a surprisingly minor effect on retail pharmacy spending in 2020, there are reasons to believe this will not be the case in 2021. Although the United States is turning the corner on the pandemic, with declining infection rates and increased vaccination rates, Walls believes there are significant factors that clinical pharmacists need to watch as we move forward.
The first topic was the different ways that the pandemic and COVID-19 may have affected opioid use and why the opioid misuse crisis should definitely stay on the workers’ compensation sector’s radar. Next, Walls discussed post-COVID-19 syndrome, also known as “long COVID,” and how specialized treatment for these cases in workers’ compensation may drive up utilization and spending for payers. Finally, presumption laws for work-related COVID-19 infection — a first for an infectious disease — will be a long-term issue for workers’ compensation due to post-COVID syndrome and other factors. Above all, Walls stresses the need for continued vigilance from clinical pharmacists and a proactive approach to creating new formularies and monitoring utilization.