Screening News Weekly Wrap: October 30th, 2020

Screening News Weekly Wrap: October 30th, 2020

By Jennifer Gladstone

Contact tracing has some highs and lows, Purdue Pharma settles, and workers’ comp may soon have to pay for medical marijuana. Get all the details in today’s EBI Screening News Weekly Wrap.

Contact Tracing Highs and Lows

A few months ago, none of us had ever heard the term contact tracing. Now, it seems to be everywhere. Some programs are high-tech, others very low.

Washington, D.C. recently launched a contact tracing tool you can use on your smartphone. Users can opt-in to “DC CAN” and this tool will send push notifications if they have been in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

The system uses Bluetooth to track those who opt-in. If two of those phones are near each other long enough to risk exposure the phones save what’s called a “key.” If someone tests positive, everyone whose phone saved that “key” over the last 14 days will be notified to be tested.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, many counties in the state of Wisconsin are stretched so thin, officials are asking people who test positive to reach out to their contacts themselves. According to the state’s Department of Health, they just cannot keep up.

EBI’s new Workplace Health & Safety can help you get fast and easy contact tracing implemented in your workplace. Check out www.ebiinc.com/ebi-whs/ for information.

Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty

We’ve been covering Purdue Pharma’s role in fueling the national opioid epidemic for years. Now, it appears the saga might be coming to an end.

Last week the Justice Department announced that it had reached an $8 billion settlement with the company. These are criminal charges relating to how OxyContin was marketed and sold.

The guilty plea was for defrauding federal health agencies and violating anti-kickback laws. There are also civil penalties for alleged false claims in their marketing.

The company still has thousands of local lawsuits to contend with. Some estimate they could cost another $10 billion to settle them all.

The Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, also reached a settlement. They paid $225 million for its role personal role in the crisis.

Workers’ Compensation vs. Medical Marijuana

Many employers get a discount on their workers’ compensation insurance if they maintain a drug-free workplace. And many policies will not pay out if an accident or injury happened while an employee was under the influence of marijuana.

But now, those rules seem to be on a crash course with some new state laws requiring insurance to buy into medical marijuana.

New Jersey lawmakers just took a step that could require workers’ comp to pay for medical marijuana expenses. The new bill that was put forward in the state Assembly would also require auto insurers to cover those benefits as well.

The one requirement is that the injured patient must be enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program. A previous version of the bill required patients to at least try one other type of treatment before turning to marijuana, but that piece was removed.

One addition lets insurers out of their obligation if the federal government decides to get involved and start enforcing prohibition instead of continuing to leave the issue mainly up to the states. Right now, five states have – or are working on – laws requiring reimbursement. Florida and North Dakota are the only two states that have passed laws that prohibit the coverage.

Screening News Network

About the Author

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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