President Trump: How NOT To Deal with Unions in Workers’ Comp

If you’d like to learn how to be more successful in working with your union and your workers’ compensation program, all you simply need to do is follow the actions of President Trump and the do the exact opposite. Hello. My name is Michael Stack. I’m the CEO of AMAXX, and this past weekend was a very interesting and public display of working with a group in a union type environment and something that we can learn from.

 

 

President Trump Condemned NFL & Caused Dramatic Response

 

Let’s talk about what happened. On Friday, President Trump gives a speech and he says that the NFL players that have been kneeling or sitting down during the anthem, during the National Anthem, before the games should be fired. He condemned those actions and said those owners should fire them immediately and fans should walk out of the stadium. On the other side of this equation is the players’ rights to free speech, their right to peaceful protest.

 

Now, whether you’re a huge supporter of Trump, or whether you completely oppose everything that he says and does, on this particular issue, I happen to agree with President Trump. I think that we should honor our flag. I think that we should be standing during the National Anthem, respecting those that paid the ultimate price to give us that freedom, which we so often take for granted. But, while I don’t agree with their actions in doing that, I respect their ability to do it. When you look at what happened, the condemning of the NFL and the players, the response by the owners and the coaches and the players was that all 32 teams participated in a protest this past weekend. All 32 teams participated in a protest this past weekend in response to those comments, because what happened is, those comments changed the conversation, changed the reasoning behind those actions. Because my bet is, many of those players, many of those coaches, many of those owners, are probably somewhat on this side, and they may even agree with President Trump’s statements to some degree, or they were undecided prior to making those statements.

 

 

Adopt Us & Them Attitude

 

But, the statements that he made changed the conversation between honoring the flag versus free speech. He changed it to us versus them, and it forced those players, owners, and coaches to respond and band together in opposition to those comments. So, I challenge you in your organization to look at your union relationship. Is your attitude, is your communication fostering this us versus them dichotomy? Or, is it more an, us and them? Once you can change the conversation to: How can we work together to create a better outcome for both parties? You will never be as successful as you could be. Again, I’m Michael Stack, CEO of AMAXX, and remember your work today in workers’ compensation can not only have a dramatic impact on your company’s bottom line, but it will have a dramatic impact on someone’s life, so be great.

 

Learn more: How to Execute Successful Return to Work with Unions

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center. .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

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©2017 Amaxx LLC. 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.

How To Make Unions An Asset To Workers Comp Cost Savings

Many employers may be suspicious of working with unions, thinking that they support the filing of questionable workers’ comp claims. However, in some cases working with labor unions may lead to decreases in workers’ comp costs. Unions are usually strong supporters of improved safety policies, like following OSHA guidelines, use of safety gear like hard hats and protected eyewear and improved ergonomics. Unions can track workplace accidents and make suggestions over ways to improve safety.

 

 

Workers’ Compensation Policy Planning

 

Bring labor unions into your workers’ compensation policy planning. After all, a good company cares for its employees and wants them to be treated fairly. Leaving unions out of the process creates an “us vs. them” mentality that can drive up long-term costs. Including union input builds buy-in to the company’s workers’ comp process.

 

Here are some suggestions for working with labor unions:

 

  • Talk to union representatives early in the planning process.
  • Ask for the union’s perspective on issues such as how seniority affects injury management and their policies on things such as supplemental pay for the injured worker. Does the union have “collateral source benefits” that are a disincentive to returning to work?
  • Listen to the union’s input on issues such as safety planning and how to return employees to work post-injury.

 

 

Drug Testing

 

One area where unions and employers have disagreed is over the use of drug testing. Unions may object to drug testing as infringing on its members’ privacy rights or question the science behind drug testing. If employers work with the unions to explain how drug testing protects the safety of members, everybody wins. Unions may respond to the employer’s rationale of keeping intoxicated, unsafe workers from endangering the safety of the workforce, provided that the drug testing policy promotes employee treatment rather than termination. Having a written drug testing policy that is fair and equitable can go a long way towards convincing a union that your concern is for safety, not punishment.

 

 

Union Representatives Can Guide Injured Workers through the Workers’ Compensation Process

 

Union stewards or representatives can help guide injured employees through the workers’ compensation process, starting with arranging immediate medical care. This can help reduce costs as the sooner the injured employee is treated, the higher the probability of a quicker recovery. Make sure that communication with the union remains positive and proactive so that a disgruntled union representative does not urge the employee to stay off work longer because the union has some non-related dispute with management. Also, keeping communication positive and flowing can keep the employee from hiring a lawyer out of frustration over miscommunication or unreturned phone calls.

 

 

Complying with Labor Relations’ Laws

 

Make sure that your company complies with all required federal and state labor laws. Employees have the right to join together with co-workers to address issues at work, with or without a union. Most employers are required to post notices advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). You do not want to give unions ammunition to attack your company by forgetting to do a simple thing such as hanging a poster in the workplace. You can find out more about employers’ obligations under the NLRA at http://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/whats-law/employers.

 

 

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, Principal, 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.

©2014 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

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

Health Care Workers in the Netherlands Feel the Pressure of Poor Working Conditions

Six out of 10 workers in The Netherlands within the health care sector report being afraid of not making it to retirement age because of working under growing pressure, according to a recent survey carried out by trade union Abvakabo FNV.
 
 
The union conducted research on 1,000 people employed in nursing homes for the elderly, residential homes for the physically and mentally disabled, hospitals and the home help sector. The findings show a 4.7 percent rate of absenteeism in the health sector which is much higher than the national average. Health care employees say their work is physically and mentally draining, with 28 percent claiming they cannot go on much longer under present conditions. [WCx]
 
 
Internet news Web site nu.nl reports the high rate of sick leave is also due to all the “pernickety rules” of middle management and the huge volume of paperwork. Many health care employees said their managers “drive them around the bend”.
 
 
Workers younger than 35 years old, particularly male employees, experience considerable emotional distress while caring for patients or clients, while women find the work physically challenging, according to the report.
 
 
Abvakabo FNV has called on health care institutions to evaluate the working conditions.
 
 
“We’re talking about physical and mental pressure,” says union representative Elise Merlijn. “An overwhelming majority of the workers doubt whether they could keep up this work until they reach retirement age. A third is considering quitting in the short term.”
 
 
Other research carried out recently in the health sector reveals that many older workers want to continue with the present work, but only if employers take age into account. Fourteen percent of health care workers are older than 55.
 
 
Last September, the FNV confederation of trade unions reached an accord with the government to increase the retirement age from 65 to 67. [WCx]
 
 
The proposed phased introduction of the new retirement legislation includes the retirement age being 66 by 2020, then the age would be 67 by 2025. This is now being reviewed in a current round of negotiations to reduce the budget deficit. The minority cabinet partners are considering implementing the new retirement legislation at an earlier date. 
 
 

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.

 

 

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©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.

 


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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.

Metalworkers Union Urges ILO to ACT on Precarious Work

Unions from around the world, including the International Metalworkers Federation (IMF) affiliates, recently participated in the ILO Workers Symposium on Policies and Regulations to Combat Precarious Employment. The Symposium produced a set of recommendations on measures that the ILO should take to reduce precarious work and improve conditions for precarious workers.
 
 
According to information from the IMF, while trade unions have recognized for a long time the threat that the rapid expansion of precarious work throughout the world poses to workers rights, concerns have been raised that the ILO is not doing enough to protect the rights of precarious workers to join a union and participate in meaningful collective bargaining. In order to put the issue firmly at the center of the ILO's standard setting and enforcement agenda, ACTRAV, the Workers Bureau of the ILO, organized a Worker's Symposium which brought together union representatives from both developing and industrialized countries, the public and the private sector. (WCxKit)
 
 
During three days, unions shared information on how worldwide, unimaginable numbers of workers are suffering from precarious, insecure, uncertain and unpredictable working conditions. They discussed how global forces are driving the rapid expansion of precarious work in all countries and in all sectors of the economy and the urgent need for regulatory and policy responses to prevent this.
 
 
The aims of the Symposium included determining how existing standards can be better promoted in order to protect the rights of precarious workers as well as identifying gaps in existing international labor protections that could be filled by the development of new standards.
 
 
At the conclusion of the Symposium, union representatives called on the ILO to conduct a comprehensive report on the obstacles that prevent precarious workers from being able to bargain collectively with their employer, with a particular focus on the barriers to workers in triangular relationships bargaining with the employer controlling their conditions of work. (WCxKit)
 
 
Lastly, they called for ILO action to promote key conventions and recommendations that can improve conditions for precarious workers and pointed to the need for further regulation, particularly to limit temporary employment other than in cases of legitimate need.
 
 
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 a contributor to the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.com.   See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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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.

Toronto Public Transit Workers Subject to Random Drug and Alcohol Tests

Public transit workers in Toronto will in the near future be subject to random drug and alcohol testing as the city's transit service was given permission to start testing employees in safety-sensitive positions, according to a report from the Canadian OH&S News.
 
 
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) was pushing for random testing to be added to the Fitness for Duty policy because the current policy, which came into effect in 2010, has been ineffective at deterring workplace intoxication, says Brad Ross, director of public communications for the TTC. (WCxKit)
 
 
The current policy allows for workers in safety-sensitive positions – operators, maintenance staff, supervisors and executives – to be tested for alcohol and marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and PCP, using breathalyzers and saliva swabs, when there is a reasonable cause or testing post-incident, post-violation, post-treatment and pre-employment.
 
 
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which represents the majority of TTC workers, is already challenging the present policy, and random testing will be added to the grievance, commented Ian Fellows, the union's lawyer in the grievance litigation.
 
 
"It's an invasion of our members' privacy. It treats everybody as if they've done something wrong and it requires them to submit to an invasive procedure," says Fellows. "They've got to offer up a sample of their bodily fluid and their DNA. That's contrary to our agreement and we say the [Ontario] Human Rights Code and the Charter of Rights."
 
 
While specifics regarding how the program would run have not yet been worked out, Ross notes the TTC would work with a third party to develop a testing protocol and it would be at least a few months before a system would be ready to implement.
 
 
"We need to figure out what percentage of employees we'd need to test on an annual basis, but in theory the way it works is you show up for work and the system tells us it's your turn for random testing," he says.
 
 
The saliva swabs, as opposed to the traditional urinalysis when testing for drugs, only show whether a person was impaired when the swab was taken based on a pass/fail threshold, not if they had used drugs in the past. The swabs would be tested by an outside lab, Ross says. "We're interested in ensuring that when you report for work, you're fit for duty, not what you did two days ago or two weeks ago, for that matter."
 
 
This is not the first time the TTC has tried to introduce random drug and alcohol testing. When it first brought the Fitness for Duty policy to its board of directors in September of 2008, random testing was in the policy, but the board refused to give it the green light. However, the board has changed since the policy was first introduced.
 
 
Ross reports that TTC staff felt the random testing policy was needed and would revisit the proposal at a later date. Ross also dismissed a recent incident, where a TTC bus driver was found with marijuana in his possession after a fatal accident, as the reason for trying to reintroduce random testing.
 
 
"There have been a number of public incidents over the last couple of years that have been cause for great concern, and there have been incidents within the organization that have not been public but are a concern as well," he says.
 
 
The number of incidents involving drugs and alcohol has not decreased since the policy was introduced, Ross added.
 
 
Though the TTC has data comparing the number of incidents from 2006 to 2008 and 2008 to present, they are part of the grievance litigation and are not being released to the public. Hearings began in 2011 and are scheduled throughout 2012.
 
 
Random testing brings the TTC, with its 1.6-million riders a day, more in line with public transit services in the United States, where random testing of all workers in the transportation sector is the law. "We are the third largest transit agency in North America after New York and Mexico City, and we feel that this element of the policy is necessary," Ross noted. (WCxKit)
 
 

Windsor's public transit service is the only one in Canada that has implemented random testing, but only for employees who drive routes that cross into Michigan.


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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 
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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

Workplace Stress Increases Dramatically for Australian Workers

 
A new national survey of 42,000 Australian workers in 2011 found they  are under more pressure than ever before, working longer hours than they are paid for, and increasingly having work invade their home life, totally shattering the myth that employees are to blame for the nation’s productivity. According to a report from the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the largest survey of Australian workers found that while the modern workplace is for some less physically demanding than in the past, working hours have increased and new forms of stress have emerged.  
 
 
ACTU President Ged Kearney noted, "Work is bleeding into the rest of a worker’s life, and we do not have the means of recognizing or dealing with this in a way that suits workers. Instead we have an increase in stress and insecurity for workers. This is particularly the case for people in casual jobs, who fear they will lose shifts if they do not comply. Business is shifting more and more financial risk and responsibility onto the workforce. We have a 'productivity squeeze,' meaning that we are achieving productivity through unpaid work and greater pressure on (our) workers. It is a wake-up call at a time when we are saturated with urging from employer and business groups about the need to effectively take away more rights and reduce pay and conditions to improve productivity and flexibility."(WCxKit)
 
 
The Census found:
 
1.  73 percent are regularly contacted outside of work hours about their job.
2.  61 percent work more hours than they are paid for.
3.  47 percent receive no compensation for their extra hours.
4.   58 percent have paid for work-related expenses and not been compensated.
 
 
The Census also found many workers were concerned about job security, with 22.3 percent of respondents saying the issue as among their greatest concern and one in seven (14.3 percent) of employed census respondents were in a form of non-permanent work arrangement.  And one in six (16.5 percent) respondents said they were in non-permanent work part time arrangements because they could not find full time work. (WCxKit)
 
 
It has confirmed the existence in the modern Australian workplace of three distinct groups: women aged 45-54 who are juggling caring responsibilities for children and parents while continuing to work full-time; men aged 45-64 who cannot find permanent work because they are told they are too old; and workers under 25 years old who are employed and living out of their home, facing labor market and financial stress because of insecure and unstructured work.
 

 
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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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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.

CANADA Union and Ambulance Dispute Safety as Reason for Abandoning 24 Hour Shifts

Many paramedics in New Brunswick Canada saw their work schedules dramatically altered recently as the province moved away from 24-hour shifts, citing safety reasons.
 
 
According to a report from Canadian OH&S News, Ambulance New Brunswick ANB, the company the province has contracted to manage and oversee all emergency medical services operations since 2007, changed over all but three of the province's 70 EMS stations to a 12-hour shift schedule in August. The changeover was first announced in December 2010. (WCxKit)
 
 
There were 30 stations operating on the 24-hour schedule, which was introduced to deal with staffing issues and never meant to be permanent, says Alan Stephen, president and CEO of ANB. Getting rid of the long shifts was a safety decision, he says.
 
 
"The evidence would show us that long shifts, 24-hour shifts, are not great for the safety of our paramedics, our patients and for public safety, for reasons of fatigue, lack of sufficient rest periods, sleep disturbances, medical errors, vehicular errors," he says, citing studies from other jurisdictions.
 
 
Ralph McBride, the Canadian Union of Public Employees CUPE national representative for Local 4848, the New Brunswick paramedics union, disagrees with the claimed safety benefits and says there haven't been any accidents or patient care issues in the province since the 24-hour shifts were introduced. He says the studies the union did with the province showed that a 12-hour shift is no safer than a 24-hour shift because there is enough downtime when workers handle 9-1-1 calls or rest in the station's bedrooms during the latter shift.
 
 
"ANB told us that, time on task, some stations were 38 minutes in a 24-hour day, other stations ran up as high as seven-and-a-half hours," McBride says. "What happens to the other hours for time on task? They're always in the station somewhere with the ability to put their feet up and relax," he contends.
 
 
"It's not like they're working a 24-hour shift in an urban center, like a city. Our 24-hour stations are more in remote parts, where call volumes are low."
 
 
Some members are upset with the decision to move to a 12-hour schedule because it causes hardships to ambulance personnel, McBride argues, citing the difficulty of finding daycare for single parents and the dramatic increase on travel time that workers who live far from their station have to deal with.
 
 
"I have members that would work in a 24-hour station because that's the closest they could get to their home area. They were traveling two hours to work and then two hours home, and now they're going to end up traveling four days. It was just a better fit," he says.
 
 
Local 4848, which represents approximately 900 EMS workers, is waiting on an adjudication hearing to challenge the decision and is lobbying the government to look at the employer's right to make the changes, McBride remarked. (WCxKit)
 
 
The three stations staying on the 24-hour schedule are on the islands in lower New Brunswick, and are staying on the extended schedule because the number of emergency calls on the islands is much lower and paramedics working there don't have to transfer patients to other facilities, Stephen adds.
 

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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

REDUCE WORKERS COMP 20-50% 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 Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Ways to Ensure Prescription Medication is Appropriate

The challenge:   A grey zone medication is any type of drug for which special attention is required to determine if it is appropriate for the injured worker based on compensability, relation to injury and medical history. Ensuring medications are appropriate has become increasingly complex due to an aging and unhealthy workforce. Workers who have more simultaneous ailments are leading to the use of medications that are unrelated to the actual injury.
 
The most common grey zone medication categories mirror the prescription trends within workers compensation as a whole; antibiotics, pain medications, hypnotics, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, ulcer medications, cardiovascular medications.
 
The solution: Implementing effective strategies to monitor grey zone medications helps ensure injured worker safety and reduces opportunities for instances of fraud, misuse and abuse.
 
  1. Develop customized medication plans
By working with a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), payors can create medication plans that are based on specific criteria to ensure that medications are appropriate for the injured worker. Medication plans should be specific to body part and nature of injury, as well as the acute or chronic nature of the injury. PBMs should also offer electronic notification of approved and misaligned medications. This will reduce administrative burdens on claims professionals, allowing them to focus on jurisdictional issues related to the claim while the PBM can focus on medication concerns.
 
  1. Establish comprehensive utilization management programs
Utilization management programs are essential to limit cases of fraud, misuse and abuse and ultimately ensure injured worker safety. A quality program should include working with a clinical staff capable of performing in-depth, injured worker-specific drug utilization reviews. While PBMs offer utilization review programs, payors should also ensure their partner has a process in place that is managed by clinical pharmacists. The clinical utilization review program should use a combination of evidence-based medical guidelines, peer review journals and recommendations provided by government organizations.
 
·    Prospective utilization reviews– A prospective program allows all involved parties to plan for future outcomes with up-front information. Guiding future decisions through historical data and practices allows for the achievement of cost control and utilization control.

 

·   Concurrent utilization reviews– A concurrent program can prevent abuse involving the use of multiple pharmacies and physicians for different medications, or excessive early refill attempts. The PBM can trigger concurrent alerts to inform the dispensing pharmacist about possible reasons a medication should be questioned before filling. This process can ensure that prescriptions are not filled at the point-of-sale unless the medication is allowed or the PBM receives authorization from the payor.
       
 .  
Retrospective drug utilization reviews and clinical intervention programs– Conducting retrospective drug utilization reviews, physician monitoring and clinical intervention programs should be used to continually evaluate claims for grey zone medications and monitor inappropriate and/or excessive use. Staying on top of potential patterns can cut back on unnecessary spending and ensure injured worker safety.

 

·     Retrospective reviews– After a prescription is filled, the PBM’s clinical pharmacist team should audit the claim for indicators of misuse; multiple physicians, duplication of therapy, excessive duration and use.
 
      
 .  Clinical intervention programs– Seek a PBM that offers a wide range of clinical intervention programs to assist with evaluation needs. The range of programs should consist of registered pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals available for consultation on medication questions and peer reviews. The PBM’s clinical intervention team should provide recommendations for specific claims that require further evaluation.
 
  1. Physician monitoring
It is essential to have a process that monitors an injured worker with multiple physicians. A successful program should be based on established best practices and contain multiple components including:
    • Monitoring for appropriate medication utilization using evidence-based published therapeutic guidelines
       
    • Overseeing prescribing patterns at the physician level to establish appropriate/inappropriate use of brand name medications when an FDA approved generic equivalent exists
       
    • Participating in mandatory and voluntary state reporting programs that monitor for excessive prescribing patterns
     
    1. Pharmacist support
    The PBM must have a staff of clinical pharmacists available to provide customized support for medication-related decisions. The exchange of medication education between pharmacists and claims professionals is important for both general and injured worker-specific information.
     
    1. Nursing support
    A more holistic clinical picture of the claim should be obtained by the claims professional. Nurses on an experienced clinical services team are uniquely positioned to assist in explaining the details on medical service claims. Having access to experts in non-drug therapy can allow the claims professional to make more informed decisions.
     
    1. Claims professional education
    Effective seminars that train and provide guidance to claims professionals on the payor’s policies for managing grey zone medications should be provided. These sessions should be included within claims professional’s regular education and training,
     
    Summary: Managing medication utilization for injured parties has become increasingly complex for workers compensation payors. As new medications become available, the workforce continues to age and medical histories increase in complexity, navigating the grey zone medication maze will remain a challenge. By putting best practices into place to manage the appropriateness of medications, payors will ultimately ensure injured worker safety while reducing opportunities for fraud, misuse and abuse.
     
    For more detailed information on the definition and classification of grey zone medications and common grey zone drugs please visit Progressive Medical’s Grey Zone Resource Center.
     
     
    Author Tron Emptage, who holds a BS in Pharmacy, is Chief Clinical & Compliance Officer with Progressive Medical. Mr. Emptage has overseen Pharmacy Services, Clinical Services, National Account Management served as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Executive Vice President of Business. His 20-year plus experience in pharmaceutical and managed care defines him as a key player in moving the company forward in the arena of national pharmaceutical managed care. Contact him: tron.emptage@progressive-medical.com or 800.777.3574 or visit Progressive Medical.
     
     
    About Progressive Medical
    Progressive Medical offers cost management services and programs to the workers compensation industry. By combining its clinical expertise with access to an expansive network of pharmacies, home health care services and medical equipment and supplies, the company enables its clients to manage costs while providing quality care to injured workers. Learn more at Progressive Medical or call 866.939.5365.  http://www.workcomptransformation.com/narcotics-quandary/
     
    Our WORKERS COMPENSATION BOOK
    Manage Your Workers Compensation Program:
    Reduce Your Costs 20-50%
    www.WCManual.com
     
     
    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

    Australia Fire Fighters Say Random Drug Alcohol Testing Invasion of Privacy

     
    Firefighters describe Australian State Government’s move to introduce random drug and alcohol testing across the brigade as an unnecessary invasion of personal privacy, according to a report from their union.
     
     
    Fire Brigade Employees Union State Secretary Jim Casey said the State Government move was unwarranted, given there is no established problem with drug and alcohol abuse among firefighters. (WCxKit)
     
     
    “There is absolutely no evidence to suggest firefighters have a problem with substance abuse and, on that basis, we see this as a gratuitous invasion of personal privacy. Nobody asks Mike Gallacher, the NSW Cabinet or their staffers to submit to random drug and alcohol testing,” Casey said. “StateGovernment ministers make multiple-billion dollar policy and investment decisions all the time. How do we know their judgment is not impaired by substance abuse?” he added.
     
     
    Casey went on to say the brigade already has effective drug and alcohol protocols in place that are supported by the union. As he sees it, random drug and alcohol tests represent nothing more than a waste of time and money. (WCxKit)
     
     

    Firefighters run into burning buildings every day; they’re highly aware of the need to remain sober while on the job,” Casey added.

     
    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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.


    REDUCE WORKERS COMP 20-50%:
    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 Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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