The Company With The Best Information Wins In Workers Comp

Companies with Best Information Have Lowest Costs

 

When doing an assessment I often ask, “Do you have at least one book about workers’ compensation on your shelf?” The companies with the lowest workers’ compensation costs have resources! Where there are three divisions in a company and two don’t have any books about work comp but one DOES, the one with the book always has lower losses and employees back to work sooner.

 

Companies in the know almost always have at least one book on workers’ compensation on their shelves. I’m not just saying this because Amaxx publishes a great book on Workers Comp Cost Containment; I’m telling you this because it’s the truth.

 

Just asking your broker or TPA is usually reactive, not proactive. And you don’t have a resource “at your fingertips” to browse at will.

 

 

Don’t Rely On Your Broker for Complete Education

 

Newsletters, conferences, brokers, TPAs and carriers offer great information. However, you need a resource at your fingertips, especially if you plan to teach others on your team about workers’ comp cost control. It’s not realistic to rely on your broker for a complete education. Many offer excellent seminars and have consulting expertise which can supplement the other tools you have at your disposal.

 

 

IRMI Workers Comp Handbook

 

Over the years, I’ve used several resources including IRMI.  The IRMI Worker’s Comp Handbook is a great resource for agents, brokers, account support staff, risk managers, financial executives, insurance buyers, insurance underwriters, claims professionals, attorneys and consultants. It is a complete guide to coverage, laws and cost containment. Learn about IRMI WC Manual: http://www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/IRMI-Workers-Comp-Guide.php.  You’ll receive a 10% discount if you use our WC8 Code.

 

 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Analysis of Workers Compensation Laws

 

Another good resource is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Analysis of Workers’ Compensation Laws. You can most likely get a free copy from your broker. This publication is updated annually for up-to-date information on state and provincial workers’ compensation laws and indemnity benefits.

 

 

Amaxx book:

 

You can read about our book here: http://reduceyourworkerscomp.com/workers-comp-cost-reduction-guide-book

Receive a 20% RIMS Member discount.

 

Don’t make the mistake many employers make and think workers compensation is just a cost of doing business.  It is an expense within your control.

 

Having good information is your first step.

 

 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. 

 


Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

I Can’t Let Go of the Memory

By Rebecca Shafer, JD
www.WCManual.com

I am alive and so is my family, which means I don't have the same rights to September 11 grief as some of my co-workers at Marsh and AON. I know this and though each year memories fade of colleagues lost that day and I lose contact with survivors permanently scarred by the events, it is hard to let go.

Each year I try.

For those who don't know, my life-long career in workers’ compensation was greatly affected by the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. The two companies where I spent the majority of my workers’ compensation cost-containment career were located in the World Trade Center buildings. My former employer and workers’ compensation leviathan, Marsh, was on floors 93 through 100 in the North Tower, 1 World Trade Center. This was precisely at the point of American Airlines Flight 11 impact, 8:46 a.m. My other company, AON, a colossal insurance brokerage and risk management firm, for whom I led the workers’ compensation cost containment practice in the mid-1990’s, was also located at the site, on floors 98 through 105 in 2 World Trade Center, the South Tower. It was struck on floors 77 through 85 by United Flight 175 at 9:03 a.m. and collapsed first at 9:59 a.m.

 

Marsh, then called Marsh & McLennan, was the first major broker to institutionalize the practice of workers’ compensation cost containment. I led the development effort and Harry Taback was my boss (photo at right), a huge proponent of providing the service to their clients. He was lost that day and left behind three daughters and a wife. Several years later, I had moved from Marsh to AON and Richard Keane from Wethersfield, CT, took my place running Marsh’s worker’ compensation cost containment practice. He occupied my old office at Marsh’s Hartford, CT, location but traveled into NYC for a meeting in Tower 1 Sept. 11 and was killed. My fortune at his expense was similar to colleague Pamela Newman's, an account executive at AON who was lucky enough to be traveling OUT of NYC Sept. 11, 2001. She subsequently became the defacto collector of lists of those who were safe, those who were not, and those who were still missing as reports rolled in that horrible day and the days that followed. These events and near misses have left me with the chilling remembrance that it could have been me. It continually reminds me that today is really the only day we have.                                                                                                            

 

So great were both companies' losses in 2011 that I came out of retirement; so many of the risk management experts died that day, working on the affected floors that additional help was needed by those of us who had left the company prior to that day. I still have not been able to return to retirement. My missed retirement is nothing though compared to Richard's death. He left behind five sons and a wife.

 

I don't make plans on Sept. 11 because I feel I need to keep the day sacred, to remember the victims. Several years ago, when my hometown Storrs, CT, wanted to have its annual Town Parade and Fair that day, I objected and another date was chosen. Each year, I spend the anniversary indoors, watching TV coverage, usually all day, and often wonder who else, affected on the margins as I was, does the same thing. In 11 years, survivors remarry, children grow up, companies merge, employees leave – it is a whole new landscape out there and many people in our industry do not know the history of colleagues that were lost before they entered the field. But it is as if those directly touched by the attacks have a tattoo of 9/11 on their souls – a permanent mark.

 

I have a tribute book published by The New York Times, Portraits of Grief 9/11/01, which lists each victim like a Who's Who of Tragedy. There's something about that book; it sits there and I can't get rid of it, but it's not something one digs into often, either. I even thought I would give away the book last year – it had been 10 years, after all. But I looked inside and just couldn't throw it away or donate it because that didn't seem right. The book’s publisher, the New York Times, was one of our favorite clients; we all worked together on a workers' compensation consulting project for the New York Times. Bob Ferris (photo above left) had a soft spot for the New York Times account. Bob was one of my consultants at AON Management Institute and I remember driving with him once on our way to the Trade Center for a meeting down Henry Hudson Parkway on the west side of Manhattan because our Manhattan office had been recently relocated to the World Trade Center. Rumor had it that the rent was cheap because of the prior bombings at that location. It was a long drive and we could see the towers in the distance. They were massive, and as we got closer to them we had a casual conversation about "Wow, they are soo big. What if there was ever a fire in there?" We were thinking “fire” as the worst case scenario but we never really thought it could happen because, well, so many safety measures are in place, right? But Bob was killed and is in that book. This kind of magical logic that keeps me tied to my grief. I cannot help myself. And, frankly, I'm not sure if I should give it up because it would be like throwing what little I have left of them away, too.

 

Marsh and AON have done a remarkable job with their memorial websites. If you care to share the memories of those who have made an imprint on this industry in the past, their websites are below.
 
 
Marsh Memorial: http://memorial.mmc.com/
 
You can read Becki's past essays on the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks here and here.
 

 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

 Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Contact Mstack@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com. 

  
WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

The Best News Tidbits from the Workers Comp Community

 
Get the complete low-down right here. We rounded up the best tidbits of news around the WC community so you don’t have to. It’s all in one place – the Roundtable.
 
LexisNexis Communities Examines Cases in WC World
Roundtable recommends signing up for the newsletter from Workers Compensation Law Community Powered by Larsons on LexisNexis. They keep current on WC cases and offer many insightful comments. Sign up for the newsletter here and get all this and more in your inbox. Here’s a summary of the articles you’d find there this week [WCx]:
 
 
1. Texas Court Ties Injured Worker’s Drug Overdose to Side Effects of Prescription Pain Medication
Thomas A. Robinson writes here, that subsequent injuries are compensable if the result of a compensable primary injury. He says these cases fall into two groups: the cases in which an initial medical condition itself progresses into complications more serious than the original injury and those in which the existence of the primary compensable injury in some way exacerbates the effects of an independent medical weakness or disease. Read his analysis of this Texas case regarding these principles.
 
 
2. Unnecessary Litigation in Workers’ Comp Claims Process: Training and Communication Are Key
John Stahl, writes that he recently heard a presentation by Dr. Bogdan Savych of the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) that the goals of the workers’ compensation system included “delivering benefits without too much unnecessary attorney involvement and litigation.” Stahl writes the presentation summarized a WCRI study that examined several reasons why a workers’ compensation claimant hired an attorney and offered strategies for reducing the costs and delays associated with that legal representation.
“The number of claimants who hired an attorney ranged from approximately 8-percent in Texas to more than 50-percent in Maryland. A claimant’s perceptions that pursuing workers’ compensation benefits would adversely affect that person’s employment status and/or that a workers’ compensation insurer denied a claim were the primary identified motivations for hiring an attorney,” he writes. Read more here.
 
 
3. Larsons Spotlight Looks at Recent Cases:
Larson’s Spotlight looks at several important court events this week, here.
1. In New York, Cap Imposed by § 15(6) Applies to Periodic Payments of Scheduled Loss of Use Awards in Same Manner as Other Periodic Payments of Disability Benefits.
2. From Virginia, Average Weekly Wage for Inexperienced Roofing Worker Computed on Worker's Share of Sum to be Paid, Divided by 52 Weeks.
3. Also Virginia: Injured Worker Receives YMCA Membership and Mileage for Unsupervised Pool Therapy as Part of His Medical Benefits Award.
4. From Pennsylvania, Slight "Crookedness" of Nose Following Injury Does Not Qualify for Disfigurement Award.
 
 
Return To Work Roundtable Opens on LinkedIn
The Workers’ Compensation Roundtable discussion group on LinkedIn has added the Return to Work Roundtable subgroup for people interested in discussing specific ideas, challenges and issues pertaining to the RTW process in Workers’ Compensation. The co-managers of the Workers’ Compensation Roundtable will be joined in the RTW Roundtable by Mike Benishek, Director, Risk Management & Insurance for PTG Management Company. Those interested in joining the group can do so here.
 
 
 
Texas Workers’ Comp System Requiring Subscriptions Now
The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC) is now requiring participants to sign up to the TDI eNews by June 1, 2012, when they will begin to distribute news and communications through the TDI eNews.
To continue to receive e-mails from the TDI-DWC, subscribe online here. Mail lists offered, include:
1. Division of Workers’ Compensation eNews Update – Includes Division of Workers’ Compensation related rules, bulletins, educational session and training events and other related news.
2. Safety and Health eNews Update – Includes information on occupational safety and health matters, including safety tips and publications, upcoming training events, training DVD loans, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updates.
Questions may be directed to Public.Information@tdi.state.tx.us.
 
 
 
Upcoming Cost-Control Webinar from Fisher & Phillips
Fisher & Phillips LLP labor and employment attorneys will present a webinar 2 p.m. June 4 offering employers advice on how to control workers' compensation costs. The presentation will focus on use-loss control and safety programs to prevent injuries from occurring and help employers understand how to best manage claim expenses. The hour long webinar is free, but registration is required.  Participation in this webinar has been approved for one hour of HRCI credit. Register here.
 
 
Watch Wilson’s One-Minute Video
If you prefer getting your WC news in video format, you are in luck. Bob Wilson from WorkersCompensation.com is reporting on top-read stories here. This week he talks about NCCI, CA DWC and a Tennessee Lineman as well as Shy Bladder Syndrome.[WCx]
 
 
Truckers Against Trafficking Informing Drivers What to Look For
Truckers and the travel plaza industry could do a lot to help catch human traffickers by virtue of what they see and where they are. Their website found here can give you the inside scoop on what is happening right here in the U.S. They say, “Human trafficking, a term for modern-day slavery, is a $32-billion worldwide industry with more than 27 million people enslaved. It has been reported in all 50 states, and the number of victims in the United States is estimated in the hundreds of thousands. This website has been created to enable members of the trucking/travel plaza industry and other travelers learn what you can do to help stop this atrocity.”
 
 
 
Note: If your company has any developments you'd like to share, please send them to us at: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

 

 

 

 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

 Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Contact Mstack@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com. 

  
WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Workers Comp Tidbits of News You Can Use

 
Workers Comp this week provided a lot of fodder for discussion. Here’s a review:
 
Bison Jam Delays Dr. Glimp at Medcor
Remote medical support may hold down WC costs, but it does invite some interesting circumstances. In early May, Thomas Glimp, MD, Chief Medical Officer, at Medcor, was late to an important meeting due to a "bison jam" in Yellowstone National Park. Executive Vice President Curtis Smith said, "We were waiting for our Medcor doctor, Thomas Glimp, to join us on a conference call last week while he was doing some training at the three Medcor-run clinics in Yellowstone National Park… and he was a bit late…. BUT there was good reason… there was a "bison jam" and it's difficult to make a bison move faster.”
 
 
Glimp said, “I was trapped on the road in a ‘bison jam’ for 15 minutes. They’re often difficult to influence (not unlike physicians)!  There is little to no cell coverage in the park, so I needed a land line to call.”[WCx]
 
 
 
LexisNexis Examines Oklahoma Workers Comp Opt-Out, Benefits Review and More in WC World
The Workers Compensation Law Community Powered by Larsons on LexisNexis compiled a great newsletter evaluating the details of many current  WC cases this week. Sign up for their newsletter here and get all this and more in your inbox.
 
 
1. Robinson offers Post Mortem on OK Opt Out Legislation
Thomas A. Robinson writes here, the controversial bill that would have allowed some Oklahoma employers to “opt out” of the state’s traditional workers’ compensation system fell short of having sufficient votes to move legislation through. In his analysis, he says, “A number of the bill’s proponents were crowing about how its passage was a “done deal” and, buoyed on by the Oklahoma success, we’d see a wave of similar legislation in other states. So, we see the importance of counting our chicks only after they’ve hatched. Second, and more importantly, the bill provides us with a provocative example of how states are pulling out all the stops when it comes to attracting and keeping businesses within their borders.”
 
 
2. Koenig Offers Update From Benefits Review Board
Karen Koenig, associate general counsel of the Longshore Benefits Review Board at the U.S. Department of Labor writes here the Board received 201 appeals in cases under the Longshore Act, one more than the year before. In addition to summarizing these appeals, Koenig also includes developments from the DBA.
 
 
3. Larsons Spotlight Examines 4 Recent Cases:
Larson’s Spotlight looks at several important events this week, here.
1.In Maryland, Injuries Sustained While Returning From Physical Therapy Session to Treat the Effects of Earlier Work-Related Injury Are Not Necessarily Compensable.
2. From Iowa, Forty Years of Cigarette Smoking, Not Cold Conditions of the Employer's Meat Packing Facility Caused Claimant's COPD.
3. In Hawaii, Former Employee's Suit Against Co-Employees Related to Allegedly False Claims and Harassment Were Barred By Exclusivity-Claim for Wrongful Termination Not Barred.
4. From Colorado, Offset of Permanent Total Benefits With Old-Age Social Security Payments Was Appropriate.
 
 
5. WC Fraud Blotter Looks at Wrist Pain/Facebook Case, More
The blotter takes a look at a case where an employee claimed wrist pain stopped her from processing inmates’ mail and from typing at work, yet records showed frequent texts and Facebook updates. Read more about this case and five others here.

1. Letter Carrier Fraud, Delivering the Mail Goes To the Dogs.

2. Pasta Alert: The "Noodle" Pleads Not Guilty To Workers' Compensation Fraud .

3. Doctor Indicted For Overbilling Workers' Compensation Insurer Amusement Park Owner Admits to Workers' Compensation Fraud and Tax Evasion .

4. Disability Claimant Caught On Video Working While Collecting Benefits

5. Construction Business Owner Charged With Underreporting Payroll to Workers' Compensation Insurance Carrier.

 
 
6. Read about Delaware Decision on Course and Scope
Cassandra Roberts writes here in Have Crockpot Will Travel, “I had a fall of sorts at work a month ago and a recent MRI now shows fractures of the cuboid and the calcaneous. So, no stilettos for me.  And I have a work comp prescription card. Vicodin on someone else's dime. Pretty darn sweet. Accordingly, I now relate to the plight of the injured worker. And the case recently offered up by Henry Davis strikes close to home.  Which you will understand even more so when  you hear the facts of the case.”
 
 
7. No Benefits for Alleged Fume Exposure in Missouri
Martin Klug writes here about a case in which the claimant lost his claim against the second injury fund when he failed to prove an accident that his alleged exposure to muriatic acid fumes caused a heart attack. “The court rejected an argument that the commission must award benefits because the fund did not produce any evidence,” he writes.
 
 
8. Court Rules That State Bar’s Professional Liability Fund Is NOT Subject to MMSEA Reporting
Mark Popolizio, of the Crowe Paradis Services Corp. explains the case of Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund v. United States Department of Health and Human Services & Kathleen Sebelius, here. In the case, he writes, “The court … ruled that a legal malpractice policy, which did not provide coverage for bodily or emotional injuries, was not an ‘applicable plan’ subject to Medicare’s mandatory reporting requirements under the Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007.”
 
 
9. Law360 Looks at CA Facebook Privacy Laws
Erin Coe writes about a piece of legislation trying to “block California companies from making employees and future workers disclose their usernames and passwords for Facebook, Twitter and other personal social media accounts that gained unanimous approval Wednesday from a state Assembly panel,” here.
 
10. CA Department of Industrial Relations Small Business Portal Up and Running
Check out California’s new site for small businesses here. They explain “Small businesses are critical to California’s economic recovery and strength, to building America’s future, and to helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace. Small businesses also represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms and they employ just over half of U.S. workers and pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.”
 
 
11. TDI-DWC Gives Authorization to Certify Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) and Assign an Impairment Rating
The Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation reminds all workers’ compensation system participants that the Texas Labor Code and TDI-DWC rules impose certain requirements for a doctor to become authorized to certify maximum medical improvement (MMI) and assign impairment ratings for claims in the Texas workers’ compensation system. For more information, look here.
 
 
12. Oklahoma WCC Posts Proposed Change for Rule 23, Eye Impairment
Oklahoma has offered a proposed change for consideration by its supreme court following adoption by the WC court regarding definitions for what constitutes eye impairment.
 
 
WorkersCompensation.com Hosts Video Roundup
WorkersCompensation.com has started a weekly video roundup. Check it out here.
 
 
Gould and Lamb Hosting Two Training Sessions
At two casinos in Atlantic City and St. Louis, Gould & Lamb will offer what they call the most comprehensive WC, liability and risk management conferences to date. The sessions will have special focus on Medicare & Medicaid compliance. The Atlantic City conference will be at Bally’s June 18-9 and the St. Louis session will be at Harrah’s Aug. 6-7. For more information, look here.[WCx]
 
 
The “Jackpot” sessions are being billed, “Don't Gamble on Workers' Compensation, Liability & Medicare/Medicaid Compliance!  We have gathered together some of the industry's most respected leaders and experts to provide attendees with two full days of compliance education and training, as well as an exciting look into the future of Medicare/Medicaid Compliance.”   
 
 
Note: If your company has any developments you'd like to share, please send them to us at: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

 

 

 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

 

Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their Workers Compensation costs by 20% – 50%.  He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  ContactMstack@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

 

WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

The Employer Is The Last To Know

When you are the only one paying in an expensive, complex problem, it helps greatly to know what is going on and to participate in the problem solving. But what if you are the employer in a NY comp claim?

 
 
Amazingly, the employer in NY is not even notified that a hearing will occur, or what the results of the last hearing were; unless, the employer is self-insured or has given instructions to the carrier that it is to be notified of all hearings and decisions.[WCx]
 
 
Larger employers make sure to be kept in the loop and notified, but nearly all but the very largest do not. And the results are horrific for both the employer and the employee. The degradation of relevant material at hearings results in far too many hearings, far too late, to correct problems whose answer is only a phone call, email or FAX (and a few minutes, instead of months) away. A small, additional benefit is that comp costs to the employer would be 20-30% less, or more– much more.
 
 
How did all this come to be? When workers comp hearings began after 1914, for more than a decade employers, not carriers, attended the hearings. Employers often paid awards, sometimes in cash, at the hearings and sent a reimbursement request to the carrier. That practice gradually changed, although the law remained the same.
 
 
Eventually, the presence of the employer at hearings was assumed to be largely irrelevant and employers were no longer automatically placed on notice. That led to a drastically diminished role.
 
 
Several years ago, a case was reported in the courts where two carriers argued for nine years about who the correct carrier was. The problem was caused by a key stroke error by a Board employee on a hearing notice. A phone call to the employer could have resolved the problem in a few minutes, but the call was never made.
 
 
Similar, but less dramatic, errors such as this are frequent to the point of being routine in NY comp proceedings. What can the employer do, short of forcing the system to reverse 80 years of drift?
 
 
The employer can realize that the law does not prohibit it, no matter what an attorney, carrier or judge might say, from full participation. An employer can be given access to the Board e-file on its claims, although a bit of work will be involved. An employer can also request the carrier to keep it informed.[WCx]
 
 
Is the employer concerned about a gently soaring x-mod? The answers will be had through much greater involvement, much sooner, in claims. That will only happen if the employer gets into, and stays in, the information loop. And that means being the first, NEVER the last to know. 


 

Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100. medsearch7@optonline.net


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

How to Handle the Worst News in Company History

 

There are fire extinguishers in case a fire starts. We hope one never does, yet the fire extinguishers are kept in good working order and hung in many appropriate places. As well, we keep first aid items available in case of injuries, and we hope we never put them to use.  This is proper planning. At its base is the most elementary of risk management processes. It is on this premise that I write this article. [WCx]
 
 
Today I want to take a short walk with you into the possible outcomes of having employees work in most any environment. Take, for example the office, a very low risk workplace, but none the less there is that potential for serious injury or even a fatality.  I will leave this to you, the reader, to add to this any other potentially increased risk that may occur at a particular place of employment.
 
 
Have you thought about what would happen in the event you, the owner, or CEO, ever gets that dreaded call? The call no one ever wants to hear.  It is from your site or plant foreman and the person can barely get out the words. There is a  worker or workers severely injured or killed at the worksite or plant.
 
 
WHAT DO YOU DO RIGHT NOW? The next actions taken may well mean the very survival of a company decades in the making. As well, with current case law regulatory requirements and court precedents, there may as well be criminal charges at hand.  Am I being theatrical? NO, Unfortunately I deal with just these events several times a year and have seen things go from bad to worse just for the lack of proper action being taken in the beginning.
 
 
What you do, how you do it, and how you respond to those around you is critical at this point. What words you choose and the actions you take at this critical time can make all the difference.  It is difficult to use an example here. Literally thousands of variables exist due to business type and the individual details that would make any real or example based case just a story. [WCx]
 
 
The point is your firm is unique and the situation will be as well. I can offer no checklist other than the basics.
 
 
This is where planning and forethought to your exposures is critical. Every owner or CEO should have a plan that has been thought out before hand and reinforced down the lines of responsibility. Just like the annual fire extinguisher or emergency drill, there has to be a plan. A well conceived plan that is communicated and reinforced with all down line supervisors and management often.  If I were to give you a scenario of an event at a competitor’s firm and ask you what they would need to do (or not do) in the event of a serious situation, you could do a relatively decent job with the details.
 
 
However, this is YOUR firm, it involves YOUR employees. The injured or killed are possibly your close friends or even a family member in the case of many firms.
 
 
 As well as having frank talks with all front line management, you also must have a relationship with a labor law firm and consultant that you can call to action with a single phone call. You likely will be in shock at this time and prone to distracting emotions in a situation that is critical.  For this reason the first action in the plan should be to call the labor law firm with whom there is a prearranged relationship. The firm can handle, and you can refer, any questions requiring immediate answers to them.
 
 
Most likely media will be on site right behind the emergency responders. As part of the action plan the law firm will assist in creating an initial statement that can be drilled into the supervisors and employees. All must be instructed on what to say. A standard that works is: “We have encountered a tragedy, details are not yet available, and I will get with you as soon as I have any answers Nothing more.  Your labor law firm, due to your individual circumstances, may have something different in mind. If so, rely on them.
 
 
Non-management employees must also be given rules. All must understand that company policy is quite strict concerning the importance that they do not say anything to the media. This must be included in your initial new hire training, written in company policy, and reinforced regularly
 
 
I do hope this information will convince all senior management to initiate this kind of planning into your existing emergency procedures. The time to prepare is before you get that call no one wants to get. I do hope that your plan remains just that a plan. [WCx]
 
 
A few reminders:
 
  • Gather senior management and discuss what kinds of incidents your industry is vulnerable to.
     
  • Prepare a written policy for serious incidents.
     
  • Communicate and train all senior management.
     
  • Notify all non-management employees that they are not authorized to speak with media after an event.
     
  • Retain a labor law firm to assist and review procedures.
     
  • If there is an incident, immediately call on the law firm to direct you through any incident. Follow the instructions, remember emotions will be high. A trusted advisor is chosen. Listen to them at this time.
 
Also see our article on Immediate Injury Response for further information.  
 
 
Brian Hill is owner of OshaSure in Birmingham Alabama and has over 20 years as a workplace safety and risk consultant. Brian was previously a pilot for a major US airline and member of the company’s interdepartmental safety committee. He found his new career in safety after the closing of the airline in 1991. Brian has found the same passion he had for flying in assisting companies with safety, heath and risk issues.
For more information click on www.oshasure.com

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Is Playing Cards Like Having Sex on The Job

The Australian News reports a public servant injured while having sex with an acquaintance on a business trip is allowed workers’ compensation. The article, here, notes the woman was in a motel room and suffered facial and psychological injuries when a glass light fitting came away from the wall above the bed as she was having sex in November 2007. An article on aoljobs, details the woman injured her face, nose and tooth.
 
 
In the report, the News notes, Sydney Federal Court Justice John Nicholas concluded that the injuries were suffered by the woman in the course of her employment. “The judge set aside the decision made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which upheld the rejection by ComCare, the federal government workplace safety body. He said the tribunal erred in finding it was necessary for the woman to show she had been taking part in an activity which led to her injury ‘which was expressly or impliedly induced or encouraged by her employer.’"
 
 
 
“If the applicant had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room she would have been entitled to compensation," the News article goes on to say, "even though it could not be said her employer induced or encouraged that activity. In the absence of any misconduct or an intentionally self-inflicted injury, the fact that the applicant was engaged in sexual activity rather than some other lawful recreational activity does not lead to any different result.”
 
 
The aol article by reporter Claire Gordon says the worker filed for workers' compensation with Australia's federal government's safety agency ComCore, which says its compensation scheme ‘covers any injury or illness arising ‘out of and in the course of employment. .. This includes coverage for journeys and for ordinary recesses and breaks."  [WCx]
 
 
Gordon writes, “But that doesn't mean employees in this country should go out and have vigorous sex on business trips, in the hope of a paid vacation. U.S. worker's compensation law is a little more strict, covering only injuries that occur while a person is carrying out their job duties.”
 


Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Workers Compensation News From Around the Net

Input Needed in Providers Opioid Audit
 
The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC) acknowledges that prescription drug abuse and misuse, including opioids, is a serious issue in all health care delivery systems, including workers’ compensation.
 
 
The TDI-DWC seeks input and suggestions regarding the development of a new Plan-Based Audit for health care providers prescribing opioids. The Plan-Based Audit sets the scope, methodology, selection criteria, and program area responsibilities as laid out in the Medical Quality Review Procedure. A copy of the proposed Health Care Providers Pain Management Services (Opioid) Plan-Based Audit can be viewed at the TDI website here. [WCx] 
 
 
Broadspire Launches BOLD® Rx Network
 
Broadspire, a Crawford Company and TPA of workers compensation claims, liability claims and medical management services, has launched its BOLD Rx Network to help control the medical costs associated with WC claims. See here for more information.[WCx]
 
 
According to Broadspire, the BOLD Rx Network uses a multi-leveled strategy to achieve superior penetration rates and savings compared to the rest of the industry. “Rather than just partnering with one pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company, as is traditionally seen in the marketplace, Broadspire leverages multiple partners based on the value they bring to clients, creating a stronger pharmacy program,” they write.
 
Federal Court Rejects NLRB Authority to Force Posting of Employee Rights Notice
 
According to a well-written newsletter from McGuireWoods, a world-wide lawfirm with 900 lawyers, in Chamber of Commerce of the U.S., et al. v. NLRB (Dist. S.C., April 13, 2012), a South Carolina federal district court held that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) does not have statutory authority to force employers to post notices that the NLRB claims are designed to inform employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
 
 
McGuireWoods writes, “The Court’s decision directly conflicts with a recent decision from a separate federal court in the District of Columbia. These developments place all employers covered by the Act in a very difficult position.”
 
 
The regulations are to take effect April 30, 2012. “The conflicting court cases make it unclear whether employers will be required to post the NLRB notices on the current April 30, 2012 deadline. (Click here for more),” they write.
 
 
Columbus Dispatch Notices Lawsuits Against Doctors on Decline
 
Columbus Dispatch reporter Alan Johnson writes here that Ohio’s tort-reform law has reduced closed claims by 41 between 2005 and 2010. He discovered average payments for medical malpractice cases have declined 38 percent over that period.
 
 
Johnson writes, “The legal fight over curbing lawsuits and settlements in medical malpractice cases reached a tipping point in 2003 when the General Assembly passed and Gov. Bob Taft signed Senate Bill 281. The law capped non-economic damages, commonly known as ‘pain and suffering,’ at $500,000 per occurrence.”
 
 
Johnson reports that Tim Maglione, of the Ohio State Medical Association says doctors’ medical malpractice rates have dropped more than 26 percent. “It’s not only good news and a good trend, but it is proof that tort reform accomplished what it set out to do — slow the growth of what we thought were runaway lawsuits and to stabilize the market for physicians,” Maglione said. The numbers have also gone down, he said in the article, because doctors and hospitals are working harder to improve safety and cut down on mistakes. “The best error is the one that never happens.”
 
 
Progressive Medical Releases Annual Workers’ Compensation Medication Trends Report
 
According to Progressive Medical, Inc., WC medication spending declined in 2011. Their annual analysis, found here, reveals changes to medication expense patterns in workers’ compensation claims from 2010 to 2011 for Progressive Medical clients, as well as key factors that may influence future expenditures, such as chronic pain, product mix and government activity.
 
 
Key highlights from the 2012 Workers' Compensation Medication Trend Report include:
  1. Although medication AWP inflation was 5.8 percent in 2011, data shows a 1.3 percent reduction in total medication spend per claim.
  2. There was an overall 3.3 percent decrease in utilization per injured worker from 4.3 percent fewer prescriptions and a 1.1 percent decrease in average days of medication supply received.
  3. Across the industry, narcotics account for 35 percent-40 percent of workers' compensation medication spend while Progressive Medical showed a 3.9 percent decrease in total spending per claim in this drug category. Progressive Medical believes this is due to an emphasis on conducting interventions earlier in the lifecycle of a claim.
 
 
Note: If your company has any developments you'd like to share, please send them to us at: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

 

 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Broadspire Drug Abuse Summit and Other News from the Workers Comp Community

 
Broadspire Rx Summit
Danielle Lisenbey, chief operating officer for the Medical Management Services of Broadspire announced its first annual Rx Summit in Sunrise, FL March 22. As a leader in the industry, Broadspire's first Pharmacy Issues Summit should prove to be helpful. They write, “The purpose of the meeting will be to bring thought leaders from various organizations together to discuss relevant topics and issues surrounding pharmacy benefits in the workers compensation setting.

The intent is not to share the specifics of what various companies are doing, but rather to focus on the global industry issues themselves and what may be the possible trends and developments for the future. One key objective of the program will be to help to identify and define common threads that run through all components of the industry – across claimants, payors, employers and carriers.

Defining some of these commonalities will help the consumer to maneuver through the market. Each participant is invited to bring one operations executive and one clinical representative. This will be an opportunity to brainstorm and share ideas amongst industry peers that can help to influence positive impacts for all.”[WCx]

 
 
Email Mjaynes@choosebroadspire.com by March 15, 2012 for more information. The Summit is by invitation only.
 
 
Everything Business Corp! Magazine Tells how to Fuse Workplace Wellness Programs With Recovery
An article by Lisa Firestone addresses the way employers are continuing to struggle with a challenging economy. “Maximizing efficiency and productivity is no longer a goal to strive for, it is essential for continued growth and even survival,” she writes. “Recognizing this dynamic, it is not surprising that more and more employers are actively engaging in worksite wellness programs that have proven to be effective in lowering health care costs – in fact, according to American Journal of Health Promotion every $1 invested in a corporate wellness program returns $4 in reduced health care costs and $5 in reduced absenteeism over a period of three to five years.”
To read more on this topic, look here.
 
 
LexisNexis Communities Highlights Weekly WC Hot Stories
The Workers Compensation Law Community Powered by Larsons on LexisNexis offers this week three fascinating news articles:
 
1. The Defense of Intentional Self-Injury: Russian Roulette, Workplace Frustration, Accidental Drug Overdose, and More reviews Rashness Versus Intention in Self-Injury Cases, Impulsiveness Versus Intention in Self-Injury Cases and Suicide Test as Test for Self-Injury. It can be found here.
 
 
2. LHWCA: Responsible Employer Determination in Cases Involving Multiple Traumatic Injuries: Seeking Analytical Clarity is a thorough look at the same using relevant precedent, post-Albina board decisions, burden of proof; aggravation vs. natural progression: identifying the cause(s) of disability and sequential vs. simultaneous consideration of evidence. It can be found here.
 
 
3. Larson’s Spotlight on Recent Cases: Firefighter’s Rule Did Not Bar Tort Action against Homeowner examines the firefighters’ rule, an important exception to the usual third-party liability rules in which a firefighter (or other first responder) may not recover in tort from a landowner or occupier who has been negligent in starting or failing to curtail a fire. Read more here.
 
 
LexisNexis Editor Featured in Risk Management Magazine
Thomas A. Robinson, a contributing author and editor of LexisNexis resources including Larson's Workers Compensation Law and Workers Compensation: The Survival Guide for Business, wrote a fascinating article that was recently featured in the well-known RIMS magazine. Also a member of the LexisNexis National Workers Compensation Advisory Board, Robinson writes about 10 bizarre WC case that ended unexpectedly here.
 
The article is a great read and includes juicy stories such as what the courts decided when an obese employee broke a leg trying to get unstuck from a cafeteria booth, whether a construction worker who lost an eye trying to sledgehammer a found bowling ball on site and whether a fatal heart attack while holding a termination letter is still covered.
 
 
For more like it, sign up for the free weekly enewsletters in national and California editions by Robin Kobayashi here.
 
 
Need More, Faster WC Info? We have the Newsletter for You
Check out this LexisNexis newsletter that can keep you on top of what’s happening in our industry. Learn more here and sign up here.
 
 
Texas Department of Insurance Changes Pay Advance Form
The Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation recently changed the form injured employees use to request pay advances on their WC settlement checks. The form, DWC Form-047, Employee’s Request for Advance of Benefits, and the DWC Form-053, Employee Request to Change Treating Doctor is for an injured employee to request an advance of his/her workers’ compensation income benefits. The DWC Form-053 is for an injured employee who is not part of a certified workers’ compensation health care network, and whose claim does not involve medical benefits provided through a political subdivision pursuant to §504.053(b)(2) of the Texas Labor Code, to request a change of treating doctor.[WCx]
 
 
Workers’ compensation system participants should use the revised DWC Form-047 or DWC Form-053 on and after March 7, 2012. Previous versions of the form will no longer be accepted after June 1, 2012. For more information, check here.

 

 

 

 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Workplace Wellness and Recovery May Improve Productivity and Ensure Business Survival

 
A recent article titled Fuse Workplace Wellness Programs With Recovery, by Lisa Firestone, helps employers in this economy by explaining that maximum efficiency and productivity is essential for continued growth and even survival. Firestone is president and founder of Managed Care Advisors Inc., a woman-owned, employee benefits and disability management consulting and full service workers’ compensation case management company.
 
 
Firestone writes that more and more employers are engaging in worksite wellness programs that lower health care costs. “In fact, according to American Journal of Health Promotion every $1 invested in a corporate wellness program returns $4 in reduced health care costs and $5 in reduced absenteeism over a period of three to five years,” she writes. [WCx]
 
 
The complete article, which can be found here, indicates by targeting and improving employee population health risk factors, worksite wellness programs reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, reduce injuries and improve employee morale and loyalty. Though most wellness initiatives have been focused on reducing risk factors in a working population with the goal of lowering costs and improving productivity, Firestone writes “leaving out those employees who may very well be at greatest risk for long-term disability and significant and ongoing health care expenditures – workers’ compensation claimants. I am in no way downplaying the importance of prevention, or the advantages of a population-based worksite wellness program, in fact, quite the opposite. What I am suggesting is that there is great benefit to be gained for organizations that broaden the scope and focus of their wellness programs to include individuals recovering from work injuries or illnesses.”
 
 
Firestone includes these other points in her article:
1. Why not target the recovery period after a work-related injury as an opportune time to introduce or maintain wellness activities?
2. It is essential that the wellness program adapt with the employee and provide programming and support to meet the employee.
3. If your health insurance and work comp programs are handled separately try to get the two departments to work together to institute a wellness program.
4. There are significant resources and information readily available to assist in the implementation and management of effective wellness initiatives.[WCx]
 
 
Firestone has been involved in the health care industry for more than 30 years gaining recognition for her expertise in the areas of employee benefit program development, evaluation, and strategic planning. She can be reached at lfirestone@managedcareadvisors.com  www.MCACares.com

 

 

 

 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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