Mark Pew, Author at Insurance Thought Leadership



Mark Pew

Mark Pew

Mark Pew is a senior vice president at Prium. He is an expert in workers’ compensation medical management, with a focus on prescription drug management. Areas of expertise include:
• Abuse and misuse of opioids and other prescription drugs
• Managing prescription drug utilization and cost
• Best practices for weaning from dangerous drug regimens and functional restoration
• Workers’ compensation legislation and impact on managed care
• Tactics for physician engagement by payers
• Medical marijuana
• The bio psychosocial treatment model
• Medicare Set-Aside and claim settlement strategies
• Compounded medications
• Alternative (non-pharmaceutical) pain therapies

Working with Prium since 1989, Pew educates stakeholders and develops strategies for managing the over-utilization of prescription drugs. He created Prium’s award-winning medical intervention program and has since refined it and created several other services to address the prescription drug epidemic.

He has been quoted in and his work has been published in several publications, including Business Insurance, WorkCompCentral, Claim Management magazine and Claims Journal. Pew has also written and co-written several white papers, including:

• Analysis of Drug Tapering Guidelines
• A Proven Cost-Reduction Strategy for the Medicare Set-Aside Environment
• Legacy Clean-Up, Texas Style

Pew is a frequent and popular speaker at conferences, seminars and webinars. Presentations include 2014 National Prescription Drug Abuse Summit, a keynote address for the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference and two presentations at the 2012 National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference. Pew has also spoken at workers’ compensation conferences in Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia, as well as a variety of training sessions for adjusters and nurses across the country. From February 2012 through June 2014, he presented 159 times to 9,580 people in 31 states, including 11 national webinars.

He is a member of the medical issues committee of International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC).

Recent Articles by Mark Pew

Big Opioid Pharma = Big Tobacco?

Have you noticed that big opioid pharma (BOP), manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids are under attack? I have. In fact, I’ve written about it for awhile. You can read “Suing Big Opioid Pharma – The Next Big Thing?” from 3/13/17, “780,069,272 Pain Pills” from 12/20/16, “Suing Big Opioid Pharma” from 9/27/16 and “Patients Sue Physicians’ and […]

Marijuana and Workers’ Comp

I read an interesting story recently on the front page of titled “ESPN’s NFL player poll about marijuana had some surprising results.” I then read the source article on, “Survey: Two-thirds of NFL players say legal pot equals fewer painkillers.” The title is fairly self-explanatory. First, just to ensure we’re on the same […]

Dangerous Confusion on ‘Painandsuffering’

What is pain? According to Merriam-Webster, it is “the physical feeling caused by disease, injury or something that hurts the body.” Which is different than suffering: “to become worse because of being badly affected by something.” Often, these words are treated as synonyms (or as a single word, “painandsuffering”) when they are actually quite different. Pain is […]

A Heroin Vaccine — Is It Possible?

Yes, you read that right. A vaccine for heroin. I first ran across this concept on Twitter last week. I saw a posting from @heroin_research about a heroin vaccine. I was trained by my parents, and through practical experience over the past 55+ years, I’ve learned that if something sounds too good to be true then […]

The Next Opioid Epidemic: Fentanyl

Fentanyl has been in the news: In 2014, it began being reported on the U.S. East Coast that heroin was being laced with fentanyl, creating a combination that is “untenably addictive.” The Sacramento Bee reported in April that 51 overdoses, including 11 deaths, had been reported thus far in the Sacramento area in 2016; toxicologists tied […]

23 Questions on the Use of Narcotics

During my Feb. 23  webinar titled “History of Heroin Use: Impact on Prescription Drug Abuse,” there were a series of questions that I could not address during the Q&A time. In fact, 23 questions. I finally finished my written responses, and One Call Care University is distributing them to the 938 confirmed attendees of the webinar. However, I thought it […]

Novel Controls on Physician Dispensing

As you know, I’m not a fan of physician dispensing. In limited cases, there can be benefits from patient compliance and convenience and from immediate treatment. However, my opinion is that in most cases physician dispensing creates a motivation to continue prescribing (because revenue to the physician is at stake) and causes patient safety issues […]

Progress on Opioids — but Now Heroin?

You’ve probably noticed recent reports, within the workers’ comp pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) industry and elsewhere, that prescription opioid use and overdoses are on the decline. It is a long journey, and we cannot yet see the destination, but progress is being made. One of the goals has been to make it more difficult to […]

Next Tsunami of Work Comp Payments

2009 was a milestone in workers’ comp. In that year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) formally announced that it would review future prescription drug treatment in Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside (WCMSA) proposals based on “appropriate medical treatment as defined by the treating physician.” While the U.S. culture and Centers for Disease Control […]

9 Key Factors for Drug Formularies

These remarks were prepared for testimony at a recent Assembly hearing in Sacramento on California’s consideration of a workers’ comp drug formulary. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this hearing on the potential development of a prescription drug formulary in California. My name is Mark Pew, senior vice president of PRIUM, a […]

Guidelines for Marijuana at Work

ACOEM/AAOHN recently published some guidance for employers on how to deal with the rapidly expanding legalization of marijuana in individual states across the U.S. that I believe are very important and that I wanted to share. Because “presence” — having marijuana-related chemicals in the worker’s body — does not necessarily mean impairment, and presence lasts […]

The Right Way to End Opioid Addiction

Psychosocial issues can influence chronic pain just as much as the biologic damage from an injury. Job or financial concerns, depression and anxiety, feelings of helplessness, family problems, enabling environments, substance abuse,and past physical or sexual abuse top the list of factors contributing to extended disability. Yet, workers’ compensation has traditionally downplayed psychosocial impacts on […]

Redefining Detox in Workers’ Comp

When most people in workers’ compensation hear the term “detox” they think of chemical detox, the process of removing or reducing the prescription drugs patients are taking to deal with their pain. Indeed, injured workers on drug regimens with questionable clinical efficacy (low function, low quality of life) need to go through a process to […]

Redefining Success in Workers’ Comp

As is often said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me, that means your personal context colors your perspective; similar people can look at similar circumstances and reach dissimilar conclusions. In workers’ comp, that axiom applies to “success.” Various stakeholders define success differently. To an injured worker, success could be regaining health […]

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