BATON ROUGE – As concerns over the health and wellbeing of injured workers increase as a result of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration remains vigilant in its effort to ensure that injured workers receive the medical attention their injury warrants under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act.
To that end, the LWC issued an emergency rule on Thursday, March 19, 2020 to be effective from 12:01 a.m. on March 19, 2020 to 12:01 a.m. on April 13, 2020. The Emergency Rule can be found at: https://www.doa.la.gov/Pages/osr/emr/emr.aspx.
The rule provides for the following during any period of time for which the Governor has declared a state of emergency:
- Workers’ compensation insurers should accept an approved LWC-WC 1010 for longer than thirty (30) days, especially if a treatment facility is closed because of COVID 19.
- Workers’ compensation insurers shall allow injured worker’s to obtain refills of their prescriptions even if the prescription was recently filled, for at least a 30 day supply and up to a 90 day supply of medication, consistent with approval from a patient’s health care provider and/or pharmacist, and the patient has an authorized refill order.
- If an injured workers requests that mail order prescriptions be mailed to an alternate address the insurer should consider doing so.
- Time restrictions on prescription medication refills shall be waived. This is to include suspension of electronic “refill too soon” edits to pharmacies, to enable injured workers or subscribers to refill prescriptions in advance, if there are authorized refills remaining.
- If a prescription is not for a Schedule II drug, the workers’ compensation insurer shall authorize payment to pharmacies for at least a 30 day supply of a prescription medication when
1. The refill order expired within 90 days of the date the request to refill the prescription is made;
2. The medication is essential to the maintenance of life or to the continuation of therapy in a chronic condition;
3. In the pharmacist’s professional judgment the interruption of therapy might reasonably produce undesirable health consequence or may cause physical or mental discomfort.
- The dispensing pharmacist shall notify the prescriber of emergency dispensing within a reasonable time after such dispensing.
- Finally, pharmacist are allowed to refill most medications, one time, with a 30 day supply, even though the pharmacist cannot reach the patient’s physician.