News roundup: Spitzer probe, NY Security Fund, FL exclusive remedy ruling, & more

February 15th, 2005 by Julie Ferguson

Spitzer probe expands to managed care firms
The New York Attorney General’s office is expanding its inquiries to encompass managed care practices. At Managed Care Matters, Joe Paduda reports that Concentra has received a subpoena. In his post, Joe discusses some industry practices that might be under scrutiny, although he rightfully notes that this is not to infer that Concentra engages in such practices � Concentra may simply be a target of inquiry because it is the largest workers compensation managed care firm.
New York Security Fund at risk
State legislators are meeting today to address the impending crisis in the New York Workers’ Compensation Security Fund. This fund is designed to cover the claims of insurers that have become insolvent. Without some emergency measures being taken, it is expected that funds will be depleted by March 1, leaving the medical and wage-replacement benefits of some 7,500 claimants at risk. According to the Insurance Journal, “The administration has asked that $50 million be funneled into the workers’ comp pool from the property casualty pool. It is also recommending that the current 1 percent of written premium assessment on workers’ comp carriers be raised to 2 percent to provide additional monies.”
Florida exclusive remedy ruling
Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance reports on a ruling by Florida�s 5th District Court of Appeal that extends the exclusive remedy principle to third party administrators (TPAs). Essentially, exclusive remedy means that in exchange for providing timely medical and wage replacement benefits to any employees injured at work, the employer will be free from suit. Barring some few exceptions such as in cases of employer misconduct, workers comp is the sole or exclusive remedy for the injured worker. In Protegrity Services Inc. v. Theresa Brehm (PDF), the court noted that immunity from suit is an essential element of the workers’ compensation system, and extended the same immunity that an employer or insurer would be afforded to the TPA.
State health facts
Diane Pfadenhauer at Strategic HR Lawyer points us to State Health Facts, a great resource hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The site provides data on more than 450 health topics. It includes a 50-state comparison of demographic, economic, and health-care information.
RIMS reminder
Are you planning to attend the RIMS 2005 Annual Conference in Philadelphia from April 17-21? If so, you only have a few days left for a discounted registration rate. The early bird cut-off date is February 18.