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.

NLRB Says Workers Should Not Have Lost Jobs for Facebook Postings

The National Labor Relations Board said earlier this month that a non-profit in organization in Buffalo was wrong to fire five workers for Facebook postings that criticized working conditions, and disclosed that it has more than two dozen cases involving worker complaints aired on the social media site.
 
 
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the NLRB complaint against Hispanics United of Buffalo reaffirms the agency's position in a prior case that labor law permits employees to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment with co-workers and others—including postings on social-media sites. (WCxKit)
 
 
In the recent complaint, an employee of Hispanics United who was slated to meet with management regarding working conditions posted on Facebook a co-worker's allegation that employees didn't assist the nonprofit's clients enough, the NLRB said. That post attracted responses from other employees who defended their work and blamed conditions like work loads and staffing issues. When Hispanics United learned about the postings, it released the five employees who participated, stating their comments were harassment of the employee originally mentioned in the post, the NLRB remarked.
 
 
The NLRB claimed the Facebook discussion was "protected concerted activity" under the National Labor Relations Act. The earlier case was brought to the agency by a union representing an employee of ambulance company American Medical Response of Connecticut.
 
 
In that incident, the employee posted comments regarding her supervisor and responded to further comments from her co-workers. That case was settled in February when the company agreed to revamp its rules to ensure they don't restrict workers rights. A separate, private settlement was reached between the company and the employee, though terms weren't disclosed. (WCxKit)
 
 
According to NLRB spokeswoman, at least three other complaints have been issued from regional offices since the American Medical Response case. All of those appear to have been settled, she added.
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks 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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

 
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.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Judge Oregon Company Broke Law in Firing Workers

Altogether, Local 296 accused BrucePac of firing 17 union supporters and attempting to mask the firings in a 42-worker mass layoff.

Agents of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)  deemed there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue charges in 13 of the firings, but issued a complaint in four, and held a trial in front of administrative law judge Lana Parke. It’s against federal law for a company to fire a worker for union activity.

At BrucePac, firings took place at both Oregon plants, on every shift, in every department — operations, sanitation, maintenance, quality assurance, accounting.

In a workplace of approximately 350, the employer laid off 42 workers  — one month after a union campaign began.

Local 296 came out against the firings, placed pickets outside BrucePac, and filed 18 charges with the NLRB.

BrucePac informed NLRB agents it didn’t know the terminated workers were union supporters, so it couldn’t have fired them for being union supporters.

In her written decision, Parke ordered BrucePac to halt interrogating employees about union activities, threatening employees with unspecified reprisals for backing the union, and terminating employees for engaging in union activities. She also ordered the company to offer reinstatement and back pay to three of the fired workers, and post a notice in the workplace detailing all her instructions and letting workers know of their right to form a union. (workersxzcompxzkit)

BrucePac reportedly failed to reinstate within the judge’s timeline, meaning it may have been planning to appeal her ruling to the next level: the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.  

 

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers’ Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, manufacturing, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He can be contacted at: Robert_Elliott@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

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.

© 2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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