The Louisiana Workforce Commission has issued an emergency rule geared toward ensuring injured workers receive the medical attention their injury warrants under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The rule, which went into effect March 19, will remain in effect until April 13. During any period of time for which the governor has declared a state of emergency, the rule provides for the following:
• Workers’ compensation insurers should accept an approved LWC-WC 1010 for longer than 30 days, especially if a treatment facility is closed because of COVID-19.
• Workers’ compensation insurers shall allow injured workers 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 or pharmacist, and the patient has an authorized refill order.
• If an injured worker 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, enabling injured workers or subscribers to fulfill prescriptions in advance, if there are authorized refills remaining.
Meanwhile, 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:
• The refill order expired within 90 days of the date the request to refill the prescription is made;
• The medication is essential to the maintenance of life or to the continuation of therapy in a chronic condition;
• In the pharmacist’s professional judgment, the interruption of therapy might reasonably produce undesirable health consequences or may cause physical or mental discomfort.
The dispensing pharmacist shall notify the prescriber of any emergency dispensing within a reasonable time after such dispensing. Pharmacists are allowed to refill most medications, one time, with a 30-day supply, even though the pharmacist can’t reach the patient’s physician.