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Ohio imposes strict rule on workers’ back surgery, opioids

January 10, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Injured workers in Ohio must now try in most cases remedies like physical therapy and chiropractic care before turning to spinal fusion surgery and related prescription painkillers.

A Bureau of Workers Compensation rule effective Jan. 1 requires injured workers to undergo at least 60 days of “conservative” care, while avoiding opioids if possible, before they pursue such surgery.

Other states already restrict use of the surgery, but the Ohio policy goes further by embedding an opioid warning specifically into its surgical restriction.

A spinal surgeons’ association says the rule will burden patients who can benefit from the procedure. A chiropractic executive says it will reduce use of a surgery that’s often ineffective and can increase patients’ opioid use.