Health Wonk Review and other news briefs

February 5th, 2010 by Julie Ferguson

Get the latest scoop from the health policy blogosphere at this week’s excellent “Health Wonk Review – so what do we do now?” edition. Joe Paduda at Managed Care Matters is our most capable host this week. Kudos to Joe, who is the visionary and founder of Health Wonk Review, a biweekly compendium of best posts from more than 80 participating health policy bloggers, journalists, and organizations. It’s been a particularly useful guidepost to the health care reform efforts.
Happy birthday to RIMS – RIMS is celebrating its 60th anniversary as an organization this year. You can look back at the 60 year-history in the current issue of Risk Management, which now is available in digital editions. The current January/February issue also includes articles on the the soft property/casualty market continuing in 2010, a multi-generational perspective on communication, steps to avoid when investigating an employee for fraud, and steps to reduce stress.
Mea culpa, medical styleWhat happens when doctors who err say they are sorry to their patients? Kevin O’Reilly examines the issues surrounding medical disclosure and apologies when things go wrong in an article in American Medical News. Thirty-five states have laws offering some kind of legal protection for physicians who express regret or empathy to patients who experience an adverse event, and some hospitals that have adopted “I’m sorry” policies have experienced drops in both the numbers and costs of claims. But in looking at some of the legal issues, some attorneys counsel caution. Thanks to David Harlow of HealthBlawg for pointing us to this interesting article, in which he is quoted.
Social networking – At the LinkedIn Workers’ Compensation Forum, there have been some lively discussions this week . One on an Illinois Supreme Court ruling which found that an employer is liable for continued TTD benefits to an employee who was accommodated on light duty and terminated for cause, and another on proposed Colorado legislation that would put limits on an employer’s ability to spy on employees in workers’ comp cases.
Preventing retail fatalities – There has been a decade-long drop in the number of retail workers who died as a result of workplace violence – from 286 in 1998 to 167 in 2007. Of that number, nearly half were employed in late-night establishments: 39 in convenience stores, 32 in gas stations, and 7 in liquor stores. OSHA has updated its guidance for prevention: Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Late-Night Retail Establishments.
Manufacturing declines – At Comp Time, Roberto Ceniceros looks at the the steep downward slope of manufacturing jobs in California and in the nation, and raises the question of this decline’s long term impact on workers comp premium production and services.
Workplace wellness – The Health Affairs blog recently featured a pair of posts on workplace wellness programs. Jaan Sidorov makes the case for why wellness incentives belong in the workplace. In response, Alec Balch examines more issues surrounding incentives: whether financial rewards and penalties should be tied to an employee’s coinsurance premiums, and to what extent incentives should be based on the employees ability to meet certain health standards vs wellness program participation.
Regulatory forecast – A rundown of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) regulatory agenda for 2010 is available on Human Resources News. There’s a strong emphasis on safety. Thanks to HRhero for the pointer.
Case law – Featured on the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation Law CenterThe Top 10 Bizarre Workers’ Comp Cases for 2009 makes for a fascinating read.
Bad employee of the month – we offer our nominee. She will just have to try harder if she wants to earn a slot in the Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame – the class of 2009 features some rather egregious offenders.