The Best Tidbits of News From the Workers Comp Community This Week – 3.7.13

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), is the nation's largest disability rights organization, helping many individuals since its inception. Tune in this week as Ringler Radio welcomes special guest Mark Perriello to talk about AAPD’s mission for 2013, all the great things the organization is involved in and the continued fight for people with disabilities.  Read more…
 
Hanover Stone Partners (HSP) is proud to be celebrating their three year anniversary this month. Over the past 12 months HSP announced the formation of several specialty practices and initiatives including: CaptiveGuard, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Practice, Global Insurance Compliance Practice, Insurance Regulatory Practice, Human Capital Practice, Affordable Care Act initiative Read more…
 
Attendance was high.  Over the last decade, WCRI has become a must-attend for many payers and regulators, and as a result the number of service entities at the conference has grown steadily.  That’s good; all stakeholders need to hear what’s happening, share ideas, and debate solutions. Read more…
  
Marsh today announced the appointment of Mark Walls as Workers’ Compensation Market Research Leader within its Workers’ Compensation Center of Excellence. In this newly created role, Mr. Walls will be responsible for developing market research, insight, and other content for Marsh colleagues, clients, and prospects on emerging issues, trends, regulatory, and other changes that affect the workers’ compensation market. Read more…
  
In a decision favorable to Ohio employers, the Ohio Supreme Court recently clarified the circumstances under which an employer can be found to have committed an “employment intentional tort.” The Court’s decision, in Hewitt v. L.E. Myers Co., 2012-Ohio-5317, gives valuable insight into the circumstances under which an employer can be sued by an employee outside of the normal constraints of the Ohio workers’ compensation system. Read more
 
Author 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.
 
©2013 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.

The Best Tidbits of News From the Workers Comp Community

 

 
Gould & Lamb is pleased to announce the addition of Mark Masson  to the Executive Team as Chief Client Officer. In his role at Gould & Lamb, Mark will assume responsibility for our overall client interface with the marketplace through strategic management of our field sales operations, marketing, account management, lead development and specialty market initiatives. Read more…
 
 
 
Medcor offers unique, challenging, and rewarding career opportunities for medical professionals in non-traditional settings all across the country. Medcor clinics operate in facilities across a broad spectrum of industries, including major industrial, distribution, manufacturing, construction, entertainment, service, retail, and electronics businesses. Read more…
 
 
 
While many managed health care companies target the private market, Lisa M. Firestone’s has found its niche in the public sector.
 
Firestone, 53, has watched her company, Managed Care Advisors in Bethesda, grow from a two-person peer consulting business to a 37-employee workers’ compensation case management business that includes consulting. She is its founder, CEO and presidentRead more…
 
 
 
The average cost of a workers’ compensation claim in Indiana grew rapidly in recent years, mainly driven by the high price of medical care, according to a new study, Benchmarks for Indiana, CompScope™ 13th Edition, by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). Read more.
 
 
 
After years of offshore production, General Electric is moving much of its far-flung appliance-manufacturing operations back home. It is not alone. An exploration of the startling, sustainable, just-getting-started return of industry to the United States. Read more…
 
 
Downs Stanford, P.C. is proud to announce that Austin attorney Stuart Colburn has recently co-authored the lauded Texas Workers’ Compensation 2013 Edition Handbook, published by LexisNexis.
 
 More than a year in the making, this handbook is specifically targeted to insurance professionals and attorneys and contains comprehensive information and practical tips to better educate you on how to handle a Worker’s Compensation case in Texas.
 
The book contains practical points and tips for handling Workers’ Compensation claims, statutes and regulations, case summaries and Appeals Panel decisions and is cross-referenced to Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Desk Edition, all written in a concise and easy-to-understand manner and precisely indexed for ease of use for the reader.  Learn how to get your copy.
 
 
 
Author 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.

Attorney Perspective on Lump Sum Settlements, You Know Outcome Before Papers Are Filed

 

WCRI Study Diligently Done, Missed the Point

 

Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) has recently published a study of post-settlement lump sums and return to work. With all due respect to a diligent study, it must be said that WCRI was given the task of analyzing the engine of a vehicle by commenting on the paint job and the tires – which is no substitute for a look under the hood.

 

Attorneys, however, see and hear far more than they feel comfortable with discussing. Nothing they can’t discuss, of course, but the discussion would be too much “inside baseball”, and would reveal the insider’s view of “disability”.

 

 

Attorney’s Can Tell You Age & Attitude Have Significant Influence

 

WCRI looked at overall RTW patterns. An attorney quickly learns that age and attitude have far more to do with RTW than levels of disability. The group that receives lump sum settlements to close extended disability claims is actually composed of three groups.

 

 

3 Groups: Older Workers, Younger Workers with History, Motivated Workers

 

One is composed of older workers, near retirement, with concurrent degenerative medical conditions. A second is composed of younger workers who have already established a pattern of instability with employment situations and will, in all likelihood, continue that pattern. A third group is workers who truly want to work and have been sidelined more by comp procedures than disability.

 

Unfortunately, an outside researcher is unlikely to be able to sort the groups out, although a comp lawyer could indentify most as they walk into the office for the first time.

 

Statistics fail when they average performances of groups that are truly separate; the conclusion will be either too high or too low for the individual groups. Success will only come when the ability to recognize discrete groups is achieved.

 

 

Greed Rarely Major Factor

 

When the author worked on SIU matters, the question was always how to deal with “fraud” as though that was always synonymous with “greed”. Results in suppressing fraud soared when it was realized that pure greed was almost never the major factor. Instead, anti-social rage, whether or not it produced much money, was the principal motive, followed by short-sighted methods to deal with a plunge in family income coming in second. Neither could be described as “greed”.

 

Lawyers, employers and carriers needn’t have near-psychic levels of skills to predict results in lump-sum settlement situations. Practically speaking, there isn’t an infinite, or even a very large, range of possible outcomes. But the skill at recognizing them can only come from up close and personal interactions with workers. Lawyers can make a prediction quickly, but the employer already knew the outcome before the first papers were filed.

 

 

Employers to Share as Much Information as Possible

 

The lesson for employers is to share as much information with the carrier as soon as possible. The lesson for carriers is to pose the right questions to the right people. The right questions lead to the right claims solutions. There are few surprises.

 

 

 

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

 

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.
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 Tidbits of News from the Workers Comp Community

 

Tampa, FL – Network Synergy Group (NSG), a national physical therapy management company, based in Tampa, announced today that Pat Chavanu has been appointed President. Since 1997, Network Synergy Group has provided physical and occupational management services to the workers’ compensation industry. Read More…
 
 
 
 Texas Workers’ Compensation Handbook by Albert Betts, Jr. and Stuart D. Colburn (Publisher: LexisNexis) is a quick reference guide designed for lawyers & adjusters. You’ll find:
 
-Concise analysis and helpful practice points
-Current practice & procedure
-All relevant workers’ comp statutes and regulations
-Summaries of recent court decisions & Appeals Panel decisions
-Tables and charts
-In-depth index
-Cross-references to Larson’s Workers’ Compensation, Desk Edition 
 
 
 
 
 
Michael J. Hoberman has been named senior vice president of business development for Broadspire, a Crawford Company and leading third party administrator of workers compensation claims, liability claims and medical management services.  Read more…
 
 
 
For those of you who wanted to, but were unable to attend any of the 2012 Jackpot! Conferences, we have made available for purchase the package of educational materials provided to conference attendees.
Attendees have reported back to us that the program (which includes all presentation slides) is "an invaluable resource to have at my finger tips" and "an essential desk reference for anyone involved in Workers' Comp, Liability, Claims, Prescription Drug Management, Conditional Payments or Structured Settlements…and DEFINITELY for Mandatory Insurer Reporting".  Read More…
 
 
 
Over the years, a number of attendees and former attendees of the WCRI Annual Issues & Research Conference have shared with us the difficulties of attending two marquee events back-to-back in November—one in the East and one in the West.
 

To best accommodate our many attendees, we have decided to move the dates of this year’s annual conference from November to February 27–28, 2013, at the Boston Marriott Cambridge.  Since this is a transition year, the conference is being held in February.  But, thereafter, it will be held in early spring.  Read More…

 

 

Author 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

 

 

 


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.

Workers Comp News in Review April 1, 2012

 
LexisNexis Work Comp Community This Week In Review
 
The Workers Compensation Law Community Powered by Larsons on LexisNexis offers several great pieces this week:
 
 
First is this article by Roger Levy titled, “U.S. Supreme Court Issues Much Anticipated Decision in Roberts v. Sea-Land Services, Inc.” Levy explains the March U.S. Supreme Court decision answering the question of the meaning of LHWCA Sec. 6(c)'s "newly awarded compensation" clause in its decision in Roberts vs. Sea-Land Services, Inc. “Faced with two choices as to the meaning of the clause, the Court chose the one most favorable to employer/carriers and supported by the Director, Office of Workers Compensation Programs,” Levy writes.[WCx]
 
 
In “Work Loss Data Institute Warns of Fox Guarding the Hen House in State Treatment Guidelines,” by John Stahl, found here, Stahl explains that Phil LeFevre, a senior account executive at the Work Loss Data Institute, recently compared official disability guidelines (ODG) with other workers’ compensation treatment guidelines. “The overall theme was that the ODG provides more objective guidance than individual state systems that often reflect the self-interests of medical providers in that jurisdiction,” he writes.
 
 
Larson’s Spotlight this week narrows in on a recent case in which an injured worker is entitled to additional TTD benefits despite derogatory conduct. The Supreme Court of Arkansas decided in a case where a worker sustained a work-related injury, was placed on light duty for a period of time, and then fired for calling his supervisor an "insulting, derogatory, and vulgar name." Read more about this case and others in the spotlight here.
 
 
WCRI to Host Webinar April 10
The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is hosting “Hospital outpatient Costs and the Impact of Fee Schedules” for those looking to control medical care costs for injured workers. The webinar will examine the WCRI study to help attendees make comparisons between “hospital outpatient costs across states, identify key cost drivers, and measure the impact of reforms over time.” The webinar will be from 1 to 2 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, April 10, 2012.
 
 
To learn more about the webinar or to register, go here.
 
 
Managed Care Advisors Asks if FECA Regulations Will Change
In the recent issue of The Advisor, MCA notes that two proposed pieces of legislation would alter the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA). “The less controversial of the two, the Federal Workers Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act (HR. 2465), was introduced in the House of Representatives in July of 2011 and is currently pending in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It includes measures to allow the Department of Labor to cross-match claimants' reported income to Social Security data. It also includes provisions to authorize physician assistants and nurse practitioners to certify traumatic injury and related disability,” the article says.
 
 
Read more here.
 
Study Shows Workers’ Compensation Medical Prices Were Higher without Fee Schedules
A Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) study shows that WC med prices were higher and grew more rapidly in states without medical fee schedules.
 
 
The study, found here, shows prices paid for medical professional services for injured workers were higher and rising faster in states without fee schedules compared with states that have them in place. The information was “designed to help public policymakers and system stakeholders understand how prices paid for medical professional services for injured workers in their states compare with other states and know if prices in their state are rising rapidly or relatively slowly,” according to WCRI.[WCx]
 
 
Dr. Richard Victor, WCRI executive director, said, “In documenting the growing prices paid for the medical care received by injured workers, this unique study also shows the effectiveness of medical fee schedules in controlling those costs.”
 
 

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

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.

Robinson Reviews U.S. Supreme Court Case Roberts v. Sea-Land Services and other Work Comp Happenings

 
LexisNexis Communities Offers This Week WC In Review
The Workers Compensation Law Community Powered by Larsons on LexisNexis offers three great pieces this week:
 
 
Jon Robinson asks if the Longshore Act was newly awarded, newly entitled or newly paid. In an insightful entry found here. Robinson details aspects of the Supreme Court of the United States Roberts v. Sea-Land Services, Inc., case addressing Section 906 of the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act.[WCx]
 
 
Mark Popolizio, writes an entry titled Court Dismisses Suit Seeking to Hold Carrier Liable for Reimbursing Medicare Payments, which is found here. His summary states, “In this case, Medicare paid for two lumbar surgeries during a period in which the carrier had denied medical benefits. The parties subsequently entered into an Agreed Judgment in state court through which it was established that the condition requiring back surgery was, in fact, related to the claimant’s work accident. While the carrier accepted compensability of the claimant’s injury, this agreement did not liquidate damages or require that the carrier make any specific payments.”
 
 
The community also reviews recent cases including one in which an injured HVAC worker established “odd lot” status. The blog observes, “Under the ‘odd lot’ doctrine … a claimant who is not actually permanently totally disabled is nevertheless eligible for permanent total disability benefits if his or her disability, combined with other factors, such as lack of education or transferable skills, lack of broad-based employment experience, age, etc., make the worker de facto unemployable.” This article, found here also includes:
 
1.Unless Specifically Stipulated, Causation is Always An Issue
2. Irrigation "Mechanic" is Nevertheless a "Farm Laborer" For Purposes of Agricultural Exclusion From Workers' Compensation
3. "Member" of Limited Liability Company Is Not Immune Under Exclusive Remedy Provisions of Workers' Comp Act
 
 
In Touch Awards Gala Thursday, March 29
The In Touch Gala of workers compensation professionals in Florida will be 7 p.m. March 29 in the Floridian Ballroom in Pembroke Pines, Fla. Gina Jacobs will present awards year, and Florida Senator and Chairman of the Healthcare Regulations Committee Rene Garcia will be guest speaker, representing Hurley, Rogner, Miller,Cox, Waranch & Westcott, P.A. Admission is free for claims adjusters, and other insurance professionals. Email your response to Melissa@myomservices.com. Attorneys and other vendors may contact Melissa Lopez at (866) 640-4060. More information on the In Touch with Today`s work Comp Professionals Online Community can be found here.
 
 
WCRI to Participate in Rx Drug Abuse Summit
Dr. Richard Victor, executive director of WCRI (Workers Compensation Research Institute) has been asked to join policymakers and stakeholders at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit April 10-12. The event, hosted by Operation UNITE, includes the U.S. Surgeon General, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and others.[WCx]
 
 
For more information, read the complete release here where Victor notes, “The research WCRI has done on prescription medications in the treatment of injured workers shows us that many physicians are not following recommended guidelines to monitor use, abuse, and diversion. The result is wide variation in the length of narcotics use by injured workers across different states. For example, in Louisiana one out of six injured workers who were given narcotics initially still received three or more narcotics prescriptions six months after the injury. In the typical state, the figure was one out of 20.” For more information about the Summit, visit here.
 
Prescription Drug Summitt: These issues are also being addressed by a group of senior industry executives and thought leaders on March 22 at Broadspire in Sunrise, FL. For information, click 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.

Vermont Proposes Radical Approach to Workers Compensation and other News

 
Vermont H 762 — a radical approach to workers compensation in Vermont
Noted WC writer Peter Rousmaniere writes that Vermont is set to pass a radical approach to dealing with the independent contractor problem in workers comp. “The problem is this: many businesses in the past, across the country, have chosen to define their workers as independent contractors, thereby saving themselves serious money in workers comp insurance, unemployment compensation insurance, and other benefits mandatory or voluntary, and leaving their workers exposed to the elements .(There are also other state labor protections that come to play),” he says.[WCx]
 
 
“The house bill 762 has a provision expressly designed to let workers define themselves as independent contractors!” he notes. “The intent comes out in the hearings: to let employers such as contractors hire them without having to worry about the risk of the engagement being seen as employment — even if the engagement looks, talks and walks like employment.”
 
 
Volume Three of the LexisNexis eNewsletter Available
Follow this link to see a summary of state and world news in the WC industry. This edition includes information on North Carolina’s reforms, Retaliatory Discharge and an experts year-in-review among many other “goodies.” Check it out!
 
 
Broadspire Holds First Annual Rx Summit
Danielle Lisenbey, chief operating officer for the Medical Management Services of Broadspire announced its first annual Rx Summit here in Sunrise March 22. As a leader in the industry, Broadspire first Pharmacy Issues Summit should prove to be helpful. They write, “The purpose of the meeting is 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. This will be an opportunity to brainstorm and share ideas amongst industry peers that can help to influence positive impacts for all.”
 
 
Email Mjaynes@choosebroadspire.com by March 15, 2012 for more information. The Summit is by invitation only.
 
 
TDI-DWC Launches Redesign of Homepage on the TDI Website
Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers' Compensation changed its site this week. The redesign of its homepage on the TDI website at http://www.tdi.texas.gov/wc/indexwc.html.
 
 
“In an effort to make online resources for workers’ compensation system participants more user friendly, the TDI-DWC homepage redesign features a new tab style menu with three sections to assist system participants in accessing workers’ compensation information. Topics A-Z features an alphabetical listing of workers’ compensation-related subject matter that directly links to website content. Online Services features direct links to services, including: safety violation reporting, employer coverage verification and attorney fee processing.
Resources features direct links to resources, including the Texas Labor Code, TDI-DWC rules, calendar of events and training and TDI-DWC forms,” they write.
 
 
There are many other helpful changes. Go take a look!
 
 
WCRI Releases Study of WC Laws
The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) and the International Association of Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) just released a joint study, Workers’ Compensation Laws as of January 2012.
 
 
This tool allows users to compare WC system laws across U.S. and Canada. More information is available here.
 
 
WCRI calls it, “An essential tool for researching and understanding the distinctions among workers’ compensation laws in all U.S. states and certain Canadian provinces.”
 
 
LRP Publications Announces New EEO/Federal Manager Book
To prevent age discrimination and sexual harassment complaints, managers need guidance. EEO complaints can be avoided.
 
 
This new guide is updated with changes in the ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Follow this link to learn more: EEO and Federal Managers: Following the Principles, Avoiding Complaints. The book could be handed out to all managers to get everyone up to speed on their EEO responsibilities.
 
 
Chapters include:
EEO Responsibilities
Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
Race and Color Discrimination
National Origin Discrimination
Age Discrimination
Religious Discrimination and Accommodation
Disability Discrimination and Accommodation
Toward a Diverse Federal Workplace
 
 
Early MRIs Impact Outcomes Workshop March 14
Liberty Mutual Insurance knows that while MRIs are commonly used in workers compensation claims, their findings may or may not always be related to workplace injury. To this end, they are hosting a workshop March 14. More information is available here.
 
 
Among the topics to be discussed will be the results from a Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety study on the early use of MRIs as they relate to claims outcomes, case studies from the field and best practices around the use of MRIs.[WCx]
 
 
The company recommends people with claims, loss control, risk consulting, or managed care responsibilities should attend as well as risk managers interested in the latest issues and research associated with MRIs and claims outcomes.

 

 

 

 

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.

Workers Compensation News in Brief for February 2012

How Can You Find Quality Providers?
According to a recent MedMetrics blog, finding quality providers in your data has never been easier. See the complete blog here.
 
 
Author Karen Wolfe explains in the blog there are several steps, including:
1. Identify and avoid the poorly performing doctors
2. Having good data.
3. Keeping a historic perspective.
4. Provider performance evaluation is essential.
5. Defining good data.
 
6 Record proliferation.
7. Data entry procedures.
8. Provider performance suite.
 
 
To learn more, visit MedMetrics and to learn how, contact KarenWolfe@MedMetrics.org
 

The Texas Department of Insurance Offers New Rulebook
Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation just supplemented its Rulebook for 2012-02. It is now available online for amendments and new rules to 28 TAC chapter 180 regarding the monitoring and enforcement authority of the division of workers’ compensation.
 
 
The supplement can be printed from the TDI website here.
 
16th Annual Texas Safety Summit for Employers and Employees April 10-12 in Austin
The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC) will host the 16th Annual Workplace Safety Conference, the Texas Safety Summit, on April 10-12, 2012 in Austin at the Doubletree Hotel Austin, 6505 IH-35 North. The TDI-DWC is hosting the conference to help all employers reduce injuries and their associated costs through workplace safety and return-to-work programs, whether or not they subscribe to workers’ compensation insurance.
A pre-conference session entitled Workers' Compensation 101 and Return to Work will be offered from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on April 10.
 
 
Conference general sessions include Technology in Collision Reconstruction presented by Clifford McCarter of Rimkus Consulting Group; Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Region VI Update presented by John Hermanson, Regional Administrator of OSHA, Region VI; Generational Issues in the Workplace presented by Dr. Richard Lewis of Round Top Consulting Associates; and Personal Fitness for Work presented by Petti Redding of the Redding Group.
 
 
In addition, over 20 breakout sessions are planned to address pertinent issues facing Texas workplaces, including:
Accident/Incident Investigation;
Asbestos Awareness;
Combustible Dust/Respirable Dust;
Components of Effective Safety Programs;
Drug and Alcohol Awareness for Employees;
Effective Safety Committees;
Fatal Driving Distractions;
Federal and State Reporting Requirements;
Fire Safety in the Wild and Urban Interface;
Hazard Communication and Material Safety Data Sheets for Small Employers;
Heat Illness Prevention and Response;
ICS402 Incident Command System (Disaster Planning);
Job Safety Analysis;
Lockout/Tagout;
Management’s Role in Slips, Trips and Falls;
Material Handling;
Office of Injured Employee Counsel;
Personal Protective Equipment: Employer Responsibilities;
Tips for Safety Trainers;
Top Ten New Traffic Laws;
Uses of Injury/Illness Data Requested by OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS);
Traffic Work Zone Safety; and
Workplace Violence Prevention
 
 
Conference rates for hotel reservations are available at the Doubletree Hotel until March 19 or until the conference block of rooms is full. To make hotel reservations, call the hotel at 512-454-3737 and reference “Texas Safety Summit” or register online using the Doubletree Hotel website here.
 

Texas Supreme Court Grants Rehearing in Ruttiger Case
Feb. 22, the Texas Supreme Court issued its long-anticipated option in Texas Mutual Insurance Co. v. Ruttiger. A divided Court held that some, but not all, “bad faith” claims based upon alleged violations of the Insurance Code are “at odds with” the works’ compensation system and, thus, may not be presented to, or considered by, the district courts. To read more on this case, click here.
 

Study Provides Baseline to Measure Impact of Reforms on Illinois Workers' Compensation System
A new study, CompScope™ Benchmarks for Illinois, 12th Edition, by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) shows baseline data to measure the future impact of 2011 reforms in Illinois, which are designed to ensure that the state’s workers’ compensation costs are reasonable and competitive.
 
 
According to a WCRI release, “The reform legislation addressed key cost drivers in the workers’ compensation system, especially medical prices, by reducing fee schedule rates by 30 percent, introducing preferred provider networks for selecting treating physicians, implementing American Medical Association (AMA) guides for evaluating impairment, and requiring clinical reports by physicians.”
 
 
For more information about WCRI or to purchase this study, visit: http://www.wcrinet.org.
 

The Texas Department of Insurance Shows Proposed Revisions
The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC) is accepting comments on proposed revisions to the following employer and self-insured political subdivision forms:
 
 
1. DWC Form-005, Employer Notice of No Coverage or Termination of Coverage;
2. DWC Form-007, Employer’s Report of Non-covered Employee’s Occupational Injury or Disease;
3. DWC Form-020SI, Self-Insured Governmental Entity Coverage Information.
 
 
These proposed form revisions are not a formal proposal and comments received will not be responded to in accordance with the Texas Administrative Procedure Act. The proposed draft form is available from the TDI-DWC website here.
 
 
Informal comments may be submitted to the TDI-DWC by e-mailing
informalrulecomments@tdi.state.tx.us.
 

The Texas Department of Insurance Seeks Comments
The Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation formally proposed in February new Rules Relating to Notice and Reporting Requirements for Subscribing and Non-Subscribing Employers; and Rules Relating to Notice of a Texas Labor Code §504.053(b)(2) Election by a Self-Insured Political Subdivision.
 
 
TDI-DWC is accepting public comment on the proposals to add new 28 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §§110.7, 110.103, 110.105, and 160.1, and to amend 28 TAC §§110.1, 110.101, 160.2, and 160.3.
 
 
The proposal relates to various notice and reporting requirements imposed upon subscribing and non-subscribing employers, specifically requirements for notifying the TDI-DWC of non-coverage status, termination of coverage, and occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities; and requirements for notifying employees of the employer’s coverage status.
 
 
The primary purpose of the proposal is to update and clarify these notice and reporting requirements. The proposal also contains a new rule that would require a self-insured political subdivision that elects to provide medical benefits in accordance with the manner described by Texas Labor Code §504.053(b)(2) to notify the TDI-DWC of its election to provide medical benefits in that manner. [WCx]
 
 
The proposal will be published in the February 24, 2012, issue of the Texas Register and may be viewed on the Secretary of State website at http://www.sos.state.tx.us/texreg/index.shtml once published. Public comments may be submitted by e-mailing rulecomments@tdi.state.tx.us.

 

 

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

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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.

WCRI Releases Medical Price Index Data for Three States

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) recently released medical price index data geared toward thee specific states. Regardless of where you are based, we all can learn from them.
They are:
 
 
In the Virginia study, WCRI found the 2010 price for non-hospital services was nearly 30 percent higher than the median price in states with fee schedules. The original nine-year study, Medical Price Index for Workers’ Compensation, Third Edition (MPI-WC), showed prices grew much faster than the typical growth rate of 11 percent in states with fee schedules.

The study further showed in Wisconsin, their system had the highest prices and fastest growth in their WCRI’s Medical Price Index. “The price for non-hospital services in Wisconsin in 2010 was the highest of the 25 study states, more than twice the prices in the 25-state median, and nearly 50 percent higher than the median of the 6 states with no fee schedules,” the study says.

A WCRI press release indicated, “The prices in Wisconsin increased 42 percent, much faster compared to median growth rate of 11 percent of the states with fee schedules, also faster than the 28 percent typical growth rate of the states without fee schedules.”(WCxKit)


Lastly, the Indiana portion of the larger study indicated the 2010 price for non-hospital services in that state was the third highest of the 25 study states, more than 50 percent higher than typical prices paid in the study states with fee schedule regulation. The nearly 30 percent growth in Indiana was much faster than the typical growth rate of 11 percent in states with fee schedules, according to a WCRI press release.


ABOUT WCRI:
The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA. Since 1983, WCRI has been a catalyst for significant improvements in workers’ compensation systems around the world with its objective, credible, and high-quality research. WCRI’s members include employers; insurers; governmental entities; managed care companies; health care providers; insurance regulators; state labor organizations; and state administrative agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
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 website 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, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.com. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

CLUES TO WORK COMP COST REDUCTION:  www.WCManual.com
 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/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.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact

WCRI Provides Unbiased Research to Industry

Few people realize the workers’ compensation industry is actually 100 years old. It’s one of the most-successful public-private partnerships in U.S. history.
 
 
Since 1983, the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) has been providing the public with research on WC public policy issues. Based in Cambridge, Mass., the organization includes among its members employers, labor organizers, public and private insurers, health care providers, managed care companies, and state government representatives from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
 
 
Dr. Richard Victor, WCRI executive director, oversees the institute’s studies and analysis that has added ammunition for the reforms to various aspects of the workers' comp system. Prior to working at the institute, he spent seven years conducting research at The Rand Corporation in Washington , D.C., and Santa Monica , Calif. His law degree and Ph.D. in economics is from the University of Michigan.
 
 
LowerWC recently asked Victor for his impressions of the industry. What follows are some of his comments:
 
 
“One of the most important, and troubling, areas for workers’ compensation systems is to find the appropriate ways to use narcotics – and to discourage abuse and diversion. A second critical issue is to find new and innovative ways for help workers return to productive employment,” Victor says.
 
 
To this end, WCRI is conducting several research phases to help find answers for WC narcotic use and return-to-work issues, he says.
 
 
Victor says the latest trends in workers’ compensation also include medical cost management. “Medical costs now represent more than half of workers’ compensation costs in most states. There is increasing focus on pharmaceutical costs and utilization and the payments made to hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers,” he says.
 
 
Further, everyone wants to know how to save the employers money. Victor says, “Most large employers are focused on three legs of the four-legged cost containment table – risk financing, injury prevention, and claim management. The fourth leg is a large opportunity because employers have underinvested in it – improving the ‘rules of the game’ to make the system more effective for workers and more cost effective for employers.”
 
 
He continues, “This requires that employers join together to formulate political positions and strategies and gather available evidence about how a given state system is performing, how it might be improved, and what lessons can be learned from other states.”
 
 
California and Texas are good examples of where employers have taken collective action and costs have fallen significantly, Victor says. One of the chief objectives of the WCRI CompScope benchmarking studies is to help stakeholders and public officials set priorities and debunk myths.
 
 
One important part of this research is an upcoming conference. The WCRI Annual Issues and Research Conference will be Nov. 16-17 in Boston with keynote speaker Peter Barth, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Connecticut. This will be its 28th year.
 
 
The goal there to present new ideas and alternative views, Victor says. “Whether you are managing workers’ compensation claims, involved in strategic planning, concerned with medical costs and utilization, or just looking for a better understanding of workers' compensation – this is the conference for you.”
 
 
All of the sessions highlight the first presentations of the latest research findings from WCRI while drawing upon the diverse perspectives of highly-respected workers’ compensation experts and policymakers from across the country, he says. “Attendees tell us that they value the large attendance because it allows them to leverage their time while at the conference. There are also opportunities to meet and interact with WCRI researchers.”
 
 
“The most important advice I can give remains a secret until the WCRI conference, when I (present) ‘The Elephant in the Room.’ It will highlight some things that are underappreciated, but are likely to shape workers’ compensation systems for the next decade. The future is not always like the past,” Victor says. “Of course, I would like to see your readers attend to stretch their thinking, gain a competitive edge, and network with peers.”
 
 
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 website 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  Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% on cost containment techniques.  www.WCManual.com. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 

Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com
 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/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.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact

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