Get the Most from the 33rd Annual SEAK, Inc. National Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Medicine Conference

 

SEAK, Inc. National Workers' Compensation and Occupational Medicine Conference
 
July 16-18 in Hyannis, MA
It promises to again be monumental for our industry.
 
 
The 33rd annual conference promises to bring together the nation’s leading workers’ compensation professionals, occupational physicians, occupational nurses, and attorneys to discuss cutting edge issues. Frank discussions and lively question and answer sessions will complement each presentation.
 
Among the highlights will be:
 
Exhibits and Networking Opportunities.
 
Sessions on cutting-edge topics such as
Worksite Wellness: Creating Health and Wellness Programs for Your Worksite where Dr. Raymond Fabius, MD will explain the relationship between health and productivity and how you can measure this in your company
 
Critical Mass in Reducing Workers’ Compensation Costs-Occupational Health Care Professionals where Attorney Douglas Jones will go beyond the traditional defenses and provide advanced strategies to demonstrate the critical role occupational health professionals play.
 
Psychological Risk Factors for Delayed Recovery: Assessment and Intervention where Dr. Michael Sullivan, PhD will discuss modifiable risk factors including catastrophic thinking, fear of pain, disability beliefs, and perceived injustice.
 
Psychological and Behavioral Factors in Chronic Pain Syndromes: What Occupational Health Professionals Can Do. Dr. Leon Ensalada, MD will explain how to devise and execute a strategy to mitigate the adverse effects of psychological and behavioral factors in chronic pain syndromes. He will discuss the factors that drive the syndromes and will differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate illness behavior.
 
The Aging Worker: Proactive Cost-Effective Ergonomics. Ronald Porter, PT, CEAS III will present simple cost-effective solutions to reduce or control risk factors for aging workers. He will explain the “persistent” injury, aging workforce, and prevention issues, power zone, and workplace athlete programs.
 
Fighting Workers’ Compensation Fraud: The Role Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Health Professionals Can Play. Attorney Stephen Fannon will discuss the many types of workers’ compensation fraud. He will explain the multiple types of red flags at work during medical treatment and how to use social media, investigation, and surveillance to root out and prevent fraud.
 
A Novel and Comprehensive Approach to Delayed Recovery and Disability Prevention. Dr. Jonathan Torres, MD, MPH will discuss an innovative and effective approach to delayed recovery delivered within the primary occupational health medical office. This program includes disability prevention initiatives within the routine office visits and offers a comprehensive assessment of possible factors causing or contributing to delayed recovery at the appropriate timeframe.
 
Motivating Employees to Embrace Optimal Health
Dr. Nicholas R.S. Hall, Ph.D. will explain why despite knowing what to do, employees seldom take the steps necessary to improve their health. He will present solutions to help you motivate your employees to change their image-shaping beliefs and embrace optimal health.
 
Defending Chronic and Pre-Existing Conditions: What Works
Attorney Warren K. Sponsler will discuss how good investigation and record keeping can help identify chronic and pre-existing conditions of the claimant. He will discuss symptoms vs. disease, arthritic and other degenerative conditions, the worsening of these conditions, and the mechanism of injury. He will offer practical suggestions for the evaluation settlements trial of claims involving chronic or pre-existing conditions of the claimant.
 
Abnormal Findings in Normal People: Significance for Claimants and Their Claims
Dr. Russell L. Travis, MD, FACS, FAADEP will discuss the thoracic and lumbar disc; normal and abnormal findings, including: disc herniations, annular tears, disc bulges, and degenerative disc disease. He will review the research of such findings in asymptomatic people. Dr. Travis will discuss the impact of the aging process in normal people and how these are frequently misinterpreted as abnormal findings and explain why many such findings are of little or no medical significance.
 
Psychological Testing: Objective Analysis of Subjective Claims of Pain, Brain Injury, or Mental Illness
Dr. Robert J. Barth, Ph.D. will explain how psychological testing provides a mechanism for objectively evaluating claims that are otherwise completely subjective (e.g. pain claims, claims of brain injury, and claims of mental illness). He will discuss the use of testing to: enhance diagnostic accuracy, objectively address whether a case is consistent with a legitimate presentation, and contribute objectivity to determinations of work-relatedness.
 
 
Why Attend this Conference
 
The workers compensation industry is always evolving – new players, new laws and new equipment. Everyone new to this industry should attend the conference and learn new techniques, meet new vendors, and discover the latest service enhancements. Even old hats need to learn about the cutting-edge issues and practical considerations to decrease their workers’ compensation costs.
 
 
A conference of this scale can help you expand your professional network while increasing your knowledge and gaining new solutions directly related to:
 
– Workers compensation
– Disability management
– Return-to-work programs.
 
 
 
  1. Read the brochures when you return home to learn about service providers.
 
  1. Pass out your business card and network, network, network. Meeting knowledgeable people gives you a resource when you encounter a problem.   The conference offers ample opportunities for networking including a networking Reception and Social as well as numerous meals and refreshment breaks
 
  1. Learn what you don’t know. Being exposed to new ideas presents an opportunity to learn things you don’t even know you are missing!
 
  1. Chat with people who do the same things that you do and see where you differ.
 
  1. Ask about key cost drivers. Attendees come from organizations of varying industries. Find people who work in workers compensation departments you know next to nothing about and ask them whether they are satisfied with their workers comp vendors. Ask them what drives their costs.
 
  1. Roam through the exhibit hall speaking to vendors and learning about the types of services that are available to reduce workers comp costs.THIS will be the best education you will ever get!
 
  1. Wear comfortable attire. Bring comfortable shoes. The first day, people are a bit more dressed up than the following days. The last day is more casual because people are traveling back home. Definitely dress professionally because some of the people you meet with become lifelong contacts, so making a good impression is important, but you can be comfortable, too. For an ounce of prevention, bring moleskin to protect the areas of your feet most likely to get blisters.
 
  1. Attend both the exhibit hall and the educational sessions. 
 
  1. Start early, leave late, and remember … although your feet may hurt, this is a once-a-year event!
 
  1. Before the exhibit hall opens, join the group breakfast to network with new friends. You will find people are very friendly and helpful.
 
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.

Why Workers Comp Laws Are State, Not Federal

 

Current Debate Regarding Single Federal Work Comp Law

 

There currently is a debate in progress regarding the benefits of eliminating state laws and replacing them with a single federal law. However, no one seems to be discussing why comp laws began as state laws and have remained so. Even the federal government has retained non-uniform laws under those areas it controls.

 

There is not one single federal comp law. There is one for federal employees, one for harbor workers, one for residents of the District of Columbia, one for employees of the District of Columbia, and one for each territory, possession or commonwealth of the United States. The federal government could easily consolidate those laws which it adjudicates, but never has done so.

 

 

Eliminate Different Workers Comp Rates

 

One of the arguments in favor of federalization is the elimination of different comp rates. However, the maximum federal employee weekly comp rate is approximately $1436/wk, with annual cost of living increases. That would NOT come down with federalization, and few, if any, states could survive such increases in comp rates.  (The federal government is able to tolerate such rates because of its draconian adjudication procedures, which no union would tolerate in a state system. Most work comp attorneys have handled one federal comp claim – few have handled two.)

 

 

 

Laws Are State For Local Economic & Political Advantages

 

But why did comp laws start, and remain, as state laws? They started as state laws in the first decade of the 20th century because the needs of comp system were drastically different from state to state. New York’s first law only covered heavy factory and construction work. States in the west often excluded farm and ranch work. Each state was drafting its law to conform to economic reality. New York could not afford to have the families of the seriously disabled on public assistance. Wyoming could not risk bankrupting ranches and farms with comp premiums. (People who owned ranches and farms, at the time, often went through periods of what can only be called medically dangerous malnutrition.)

 

The reasons that comp laws remained state laws are for local economic and political advantages. Insurance laws are generally regulated by states, not the federal government. No governor has EVER willingly lessened that economic control, perhaps the largest control of state financial resources available to a governor.

 

In addition, state comp laws have built in advantages for union negotiations on a yearly basis in the state legislatures.

 

 

Opposition from Unions and Insurance Companies to Federalize

 

When national health care was proposed in 1993, there was a tiny period of time where it was suggested that federal health care eliminate the health care provisions of work comp. Persons on the health care task force, mostly academics, were stunned to see that the opposition to federalizing comp came from unions as much as insurance companies.

 

Other nations with comp laws based on the initial British system, Canada and Australia, have also retained laws by province and territory instead of having one national law.

 

Prognosis for the future? More of the same.

 

 

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.

 

©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.

Chemical Safety Board Develops New Employee Participation Investigation Policy

 

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) reported that it has developed a new policy on employee participation in investigations that the Board hopes will enhance the vital role played by plant workers in determining root causes of incidents and promoting facility safety.
 
 
The policy, which was approved by a unanimous 3-0 vote of the Board earlier this year, follows a roundtable involving accident victims, family members, and worker representatives convened by the CSB. [WCx]
 
 
The new policy implements a key provision of the CSB enabling statute at 42 U.S.C. § 7412(r)(6)(L), which provides that employees and their representatives have similar rights in CSB accident investigations as they do during OSHA inspections under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
 
 
The 10 key elements of the new policy include
 
 
  • If the CSB initiates an investigation at a union-represented site, the CSB will promptly identify and notify facility unions of its plans to investigate. At non-union sites, the CSB will seek to identify other employee representatives, such as employee members of any established Health and Safety Committee, or other employee representatives, if possible
  • The CSB will seek participation by contract employees and their representatives, similar to facility employees.
  • The CSB will establish direct, face-to-face communications with employee representatives from the outset of its investigations.
  • The CSB will take measures to avoid interference by any party with the proper exercise of employee participation.
  • CSB investigators will allow and encourage employee representatives to accompany the CSB team during site inspections and tours. Such participation is often critical for understanding complex processes and learning of important safety concerns and hazards.
  • Where necessary to obtain information, CSB investigators will conduct separate meetings with employee representatives.
  • During CSB interviews, any non-supervisory employee may be accompanied by another non-supervisory employee, a personal attorney, or a family member as described in 40 CFR 1610.
  • The CSB will provide employee representatives with the opportunity to review and comment upon evidence and equipment testing protocols and to observe testing, similar to the opportunities for companies and other parties. Employee representatives will also have access to any test results, to an extent equivalent to other parties.
  • The CSB will provide employee representatives with the opportunity to review and comment on the factual accuracy of CSB reports, recommendations, and interim statements of findings prior to public release, to a degree equivalent to any opportunities provided to company representatives.
  • The CSB will monitor the implementation of the policy to ensure that participation by facility employees and representatives in CSB investigations does not result in prohibited whistleblower retaliation under 42 USC § 7622. Documented instances of retaliation will be referred to appropriate federal enforcement agencies.
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems. [WCx]
 
 
The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA.
 

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

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

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.

Federal Workers Comp Cobwebs Swept Aside with Bill Passage

It’s been nearly 40 years since the federal workers compensation program has received any updates, but now, thanks to the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Federal Workers Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act (H.R. 2465) has passed.
 
 
The unanimously passed bill, known as FECA, according to committee reports, “updates the federal workers compensation program to better protect taxpayer resources and modernizes benefits to reflect the realities of today’s economy.”(WCxKit)
 
 
Since 1916, a federal program has provided compensation benefits to federal employees who become injured or ill through a work-related activity.
 
 
“I am pleased we’ve been able to work together and move forward with commonsense reforms that will improve the efficiency of the federal workers compensation program and promote better use of taxpayer dollars,” said Chairman John Kline (R-MN). "Leaving government programs on auto-pilot for decades is simply unacceptable.”
 
 
George Miller (D-CA), senior Democrat of the committee said, "The legislation will make important program integrity improvements and will update benefit levels not adjusted for inflation since 1949. I agree with the majority that other programmatic changes recommended by the administration require further examination.”
 
 
According to the Committee, H.R. 2465 will reform the federal workers compensation program by:
1.      Enhancing efficiency to ensure the program reflects best practices in medical treatment and developments in the workforce.
2.      Improving integrity by granting greater authority to the Department of Labor to verify workers’ earnings.
3.      Modernizing the benefits federal workers receive to ensure the assistance they need reflects the realities of today's economy.
 
 
The report notes that committee leaders also requested a comprehensive review from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) of additional reforms that may be needed to strengthen the program and the impact of the potential reforms on beneficiaries. (WCxKit)
 
 
“FECA is the safety net for over 2 million federal workers who are injured or killed on the job, and the bill we are introducing today strengthens the law," said Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), senior Democrat of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. "As we heard from many witnesses at a May 12 Committee hearing, more analysis is needed before we consider the proposed cuts to benefits for permanently injured workers and their survivors. So I am pleased there is a bipartisan effort to secure GAO’s input before we embark on further legislative efforts.”
 
To learn more about H.R. 2465, click here. To read the legislative text of H.R. 2465, click here.
To learn more about the federal workers compensation program, click here.

Author Rebecca Shafer
, JD, President of Amaxx Risks 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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.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.

How to Use Nurse Case Management to Lower Federal (FECA) Workers Compensation Costs

Taming Federal Workers Compensation (FECA) with Medical Expertise
I had an interest in learning more about how Federal workers compensation cost controls operate, so I asked Lisa Firestone, owner of Medical Care Advisors (MCA), what type of cost containment can be done on the federal side of workers compensation. Here’s what she told me.
 
 
After spending years in the alphabet soup of federal contracting, Managed Care Advisors (MCA) has thrown its hat in the ring of acronyms-as-words with  CARE: Concentrated Action for Recovery and Employment. They take a special approach to nurse case management.
 
 
One of the tools utilizing the skills of the multi-team approach in the federal sector includes the CARE team meeting face-to-face with the relevant representatives of the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). In the federal sector, the OWCP is responsible for the official adjudication of claims. This contact drives case progression in three deliberate phases:
 
1.     Before – Case summaries are submitted to the assigned OWCP Claims Examiners prior to a meeting. While offered as a form of preparation, this step sometimes prompts action and resolution for cases even before the CARE team arrives.
2.     During – The meeting itself provides a platform for clear communication, and brainstorming for case resolution. Simply put – no one has to play phone tag. What might have taken months to happen before can now be decided in minutes.
3.     After – Most importantly, these meetings help establish rapport between a Federal Agency client and an OWCP Claims Examiner and other members of the claims staff up to the level of the District Director. When a Claims Examiner has a to-do list a mile long, being able to put a face with a name can be the difference between getting squeezed in today and waiting three weeks for a reply.
 
"The CARE unit of nurse case managers focuses on resolving our clients' long term cases," says Firestone,  including those on the federal workers’ compensation periodic roll. While management of older cases has always been an integral aspect of MCA's approach to case management, CARE is another step along the evolution of that commitment, she explains. The CARE team brings industry best practices to bear on these challenging cases.
 
 
I asked her "What do you do with a case of 1-30 years?" and she explained that while every case is different, a CARE nurse often begins with a methodical review of case records ranging from one to 30 years of treatment and administration, with emphasis on identification of obstacles to resolution. This information is often distilled into a one-page summary, which can immediately bring any stakeholder in the case up to speed. The CARE team then works with the client to formulate a resolution strategy. While plans are a good starting point, the CARE unit's real strength is finding creative ways to jump-start these stalled cases, and following through on identified plans and actions.
 
 
Since many of these cases involve ongoing lost time days, MCA’s approach to case management stresses objective verification of total disability, analysis of medical care utilization, empowerment of the injured worker, and clarification with employer and claims team that appropriate benefits are being provided and administered. The result of this team approach is reliable cost control. CARE nurses maintain the integrity of the injured worker and treating provider’s roles while analyzing objective data.
 
 
CARE nurses are able to progress these cases by using a variety of techniques. Telephonic contact with the injured worker ensures commitment to the healing process, and fosters a positive mindset for increased activity, including returning to work. Case reviews by the MCA Medical Director, an MD, identify gaps in medical reasoning, and avenues for case progression. Written contact with the treating provider opens communication and can lead to appropriate reductions of restrictions.
 
 
Lisa Firestone is an owner of Managed Care Advisors, Inc. (MCA) is an innovative, woman-owned small business enterprise specializing in managed care, employee health benefits and workers compensation consulting and case management services. Contact http://www.managedcareadvisors.com/

Author Rebecca Shafer
, JD, President of Amaxx Risks 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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.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.

Federal Employee Illness and Injury Record Keeping Costs Staggering


Do you have any idea
how much time and money U.S. employers spend when it comes to federal employee illness and injury record-keeping? The answer is 2,967,237 hours and a staggering $136,753,120.
On the bright side, the hour mark is down 105,741 hours less than the task used to take, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which developed the estimates. (WCxKit)
The estimates are included in OSHA’s request for public comment and recommendations on the paperwork requirements of 29 CFR part 1904, Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (1218–0176). The notice (Docket No. OSHA–2010–0055) was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 13.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act and 29 CFR part 1,904 require employers to maintain records of job-related injuries and illnesses. OSHA uses the records to carry out enforcement and intervention activities, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses them to report on occupational illness and injury rates.
OSHA currently has approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to collect the required information until Feb. 28. The OSHA Notice requests OMB to extend its approval of the measure past that date and that it accept OSHA’s new, reduced “burden hour estimate” associated with the standard.
The current paperwork estimate is 3,072,978 hours, which assumes that each employer takes two hours annually to complete the required information. (WCxKit)
OSHA is also soliciting comment on its existing paperwork burden and seeking public responses to several questions related to the development of OSHA’s estimates. Comments must be submitted (postmarked, sent, or received) by March 14.


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.

  

WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
WC GROUP:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/
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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.

ACOEM Surveys Occupational Medicine Physicians in Federal Workers Compensation System

In case you are one of the many people who doesn't know much about what happens when an employee of the federal government is injured, you aren't alone. Over the next few months, we'll be adding information to educate our readers about this aspect of workers compensation. 
 

The federal civilian
workforce, nearly 3 million employees, is covered by the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) in the event of a work-related injury or illness. This program, administered by the Department of Labor's Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP) covers civilian employees across the states and those assigned internationally.  
 

Occupational medicine
(OM) physicians are uniquely qualified to support the federal workers compensation system in a variety of roles, including treating provider, specialty consultant, case reviewer, and independent medical examiner. The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) a very highly regarded organization, is exploring opportunities for its members to become more involved in the federal workers compensation system. To learn more about ACOEM, their website is: www.AEOEM.org
 
 
Treating Providers
Some federal agencies employ occupational medical (OM) providers in their employee health units as treating providers, often offering care to injured workers who choose to use the agency's medical services. Physicians interested in providing care for injured federal employees may enroll with ACOEM as a provider. Providers are subject to a fee schedule.
 
 
Independent Medical Examinations
OM physicians interested in performing independent medical examinations (IMEs), not subject to the fee schedule, should write to their local , OWCP District Director, and ask to be added to the Physician Directory System.
 
 
OWCP independent medical exams are scheduled using a rotation system among the local available providers in the required specialty. If you are contacted to perform an OWCP IME, you need to enroll as a federal provider in order to be paid for the exam. Registration does not commit a provider to providing FECA injury treatment.
 

Source: American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. “ACOEM E-News,” http://www.acoem.org/ACOEMNewsletters.aspx, January 2011, Volume 9 Issue 1. 
 
 
ACOEM is partnering with Managed Care Advisors, Inc., a company specializing in federal workers compensation. To learn more about ACOEM member experience and interest in the federal system http://www.acoem.org/.
 
 
Managed Care Advisors, a sponsor of Workers Comp Kit Blog, is an innovative, woman-owned small business enterprise specializing in managed care, employee health benefits and workers compensation consulting and case management services. Learn more about Managed Care Advisors at:  http://www.managedcareadvisors.com/.

 

WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
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Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

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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Nationalization – Federalization of Workers Compensation, or Not

Recently there has been some chatter on blogs and in the news about nationalization or federalization of workers compensation. Some writers think it would be a great thing, others think it would be a catastrophe, depending on the writer's location on the political spectrum. 
There has been talk of a federal workers comp system since 1970 when OSHA was created. The OSHA law created a special commission to study state workers compensation laws. When the study was completed in 1972, the commission did not recommend the nationalization of workers comp. The study did make many recommendations adopted by many states have.
The talk about nationalization of workers comp got a boost in January, 2009 when Congressman Joe Baca, Democrat from California and 18 other ultra-liberal members of the 111th Congress, including Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, introduced House Resolution (HR) 635, to form a National Commission on State Workers Compensation Laws.  HR 635 was referred to committee but no further action has been taken. (The same bill was also introduced in the 110th Congress where it died in committee). Some of the current 18 co-sponsors are former plaintiff attorneys. (WCxKit)
The talk of federalization of workers compensation also arose from early on in the health care debate when Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat from West Virginia, filed an amendment with the Senate Finance Committee designed to merge auto medical insurance, workers compensation and healthcare into the health coverage plan. This proposal was opposed by the insurance industry and never considered by the Senate Finance Committee. 
The people who are promoting federalization of workers compensation point to the problems arising from each jurisdiction having their own workers comp statutes. They point to the European nations with national workers comp. They believe one workers comp system would make administration of workers comp easier for everybody involved. The promoters of federal workers comp point out there is already federal workers compensation for employees covered by the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Act, for employees of railroads and for federal government employees. 
Last year during the debate on overhauling the health care system, the idea of the government being the sole insurer and provider of medical care was dropped early on in the discussion. However, when the health care overhaul bill was passed, it did include the Libby Health Care Plan. It is named after Libby, Montana, where asbestos was mined. The Libby Health Care Plan has Medicare controlling the delivery of medical services to those affected by asbestosis. The Libby Health Care Plan is seen by some as a step toward federalizing workers compensation.
During the height of the clean up of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, some promoters of nationalization of workers compensation claimed the Gulf Coast states would be unable to handle the huge influx of expected workers comp claims. This reason for federalization of workers comp fell apart as (1) anyone injured while working on a clean-up boat would be covered by another federal law – the Jones Act, and (2) the OSHA mandated precautions taken by the clean-up workers on the beach resulted in few workers comp claims. It is unknown at this time if the clean-up workers on the shore will have future workers comp claims due to the exposure to oil and dispersants.
There is already a federal office for workers compensation in the Department of Labor. The Office of Worker Compensation Programs administers the federal workers comp programs for federal employees, for the Department of Energy and it contractors and subcontractors injured due to radiation exposure, for those employees covered by the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Act, and the employees covered by the Division of Coal Mine Workers. 
Some of the proponents of nationalization of workers comp envision the Department of Labor controlling all workers comp claims.   Other proponents of nationalization of workers comp see a system like those used in the monopolistic states, for instance, Ohio.
Many of those opposed to the nationalization of workers compensation point to the problems and cost associated with the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) – the largest federal workers comp program affecting private employers. The people who opposed the federalization of workers comp point out that under the LHWCA, the program is anti-employer because:

1.     The employee is free to select the doctor of his choice (or his attorney's choice) without any input from the employer.

2.     The indemnity compensation rate, $1,224.66, is higher than any state rate, and more than double the compensation rate in several states.

3.     Return to work programs are difficult to manage when the employees’ indemnity compensation rate is higher than their normal take home pay.

4.     There are far more questionable workers comp claims [did the injury happen at work or did the injury occur elsewhere?] under LHWCA due to the generous indemnity benefits.

5.     The waiting period for indemnity benefits to start under the LHWCA is 3 days.

Whether you are for or against the nationalization of workers compensation, there are already significant in-roads in to state workers comp by the federal government. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) already require certain large workers comp claims to have a Medicare Set-aside Arrangement approved by CMS (the federal government). (WCxKit)
While it is doubtful there will be a nationalization of workers compensation in the near future, it will continue to be a subject discussed by the plaintiff's bar association and other liberal groups.   The insurance industry will continue to oppose their elimination from the workers compensation business. The takeover of workers comp by the federal government will remain a subject for political discussion.

Author Rebecca Shafer
, JD, President of Amaxx Risks 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.
C
ontact:  RShafer@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.

Florida Mail Carrier Travels to New Zealand and China While on Disability

According to sentencing papers a former mail carrier was vacationing on the government's dime. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that between 2005 and 2009, the woman collected close to $200,000 in disability pay while doing a number of different sporting activities. Keep in mind, this is OUR money, us taxpayers…

She pleaded guilty to theft of government funds and 16 other felony counts involving workers compensation fraud. The guilty plea led to a sentence of 18 months in prison, followed by three years' supervised release. (WCxKit)
The woman, who moved to the United States from England in 1990, became a citizen and got a job with the post office three years later.
Prosecutors said the woman stopped working at the Port Orange Post Office in 2005 when she injured her neck while picking up a tray of mail. Placed on disability status, she was offered a desk job in early 2009. She didn't take the position because of her injury, according to records.
At a hearing in January in federal court prosecutor Bishop Ravenel told the judge postal authorities became suspicious when they sent the woman fake promotional questionnaires. The "direct mail" fliers asked her about activities she "enjoyed."
"The idea was, if somebody indicated an activity which was different from what they said their limitation was," the prosecutor stated, "you'd have a pretty good idea they were defrauding the government."
Investigators said they learned the woman had acquired a real estate license and was working after she went on disability. She traveled to China, New Zealand, and rode on expensive boats. When a search warrant was served at her home last year, investigators said they found more evidence of fraud than they expected. (WCxKit)
"During the time period in which she's supposed to be permanently disabled, we have a video of her doing a back flip off a trapeze," the prosecutor noted.
At her sentencing hearing, the woman admitted she did not report outside income or improvement in her medical condition saying, "I rode on a horse. I rode on a jet boat. I purposefully did not exert an excellent effort when I took a functional exam. I take full and complete responsibility."
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD is President of Amaxx Risks 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 industry employers to reduce their workers compensation costs, and her client base includes airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com  or 860-553-6604.
  
 
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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.
  
©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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