Health Wonkery, Cost Shifting, Profiteering, DBA, PEOs, Women in Risk Management & More

June 6th, 2013 by Julie Ferguson

New Health Wonk Review – Jason Shafrin has posted Health Wonk Review: Jeopardy Edition at Healthcare Economist. Put your health wonkery to the test.
Cost shifting – A recent study by NIOSH researchers reports that many work-related injuries treated in emergency rooms aren’t being billed to workers comp. The figure approaches 40%, according to Celeste Monforton, who discusses this study in a post at The Pump Handle, Hefty portion of work-related injury costs not paid for by workers’ comp, others picking up the tab. “The analysis involves four years of data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS), a representative sample of U.S. emergency room visits. An estimated 458 million emergency department (ED) visits occurred between 2003-2006, based on the representative sample of 146,296 cases. The researchers specifically examined the subset of emergency room visits which were coded as a work-related injury or illness.” She notes that while not all workers are covered by workers comp, other may prefer private insurance out of fear of some disciplinary action. The impact of the study is enormous, both in terms of the economic cost-shifting implications and the accuracy or work-related injury data.
On the case – Joe Paduda looks at The next revenue-generator for work comp profiteers.
Healthcare hygiene“With drug-resistant superbugs on the rise, according to a recent report by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and with hospital-acquired infections costing $30 billion and leading to nearly 100,000 patient deaths a year, hospitals are willing to try almost anything to reduce the risk of transmission.” Anemona Hartocollis of the New York Times writes about the lengths that hospitals are going to and the strategies they use to get workers to wash their hands. She notes that the incentives for action are strong because under new federal rules, hospitals stand to lose Medicare money when patients get preventable infections. In a related initiative, NIOSH is looking to improve poor compliance with respiratory protection requirements and proper use recommendations in healthcare settings. NIOSH issues an invitation to be part of formulating a solution: Improving Respirator Use and Compliance in Healthcare
NFL vs CA – Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance offers an update on the ongoing California-NFL court battles about work comp indemnity rights. “A California appellate court has given a temporary victory to 32 insurers that are battling the National Football League over defense and indemnity rights under 187 commercial general liability policies purchased over 45 years.”
The Modern Claims Adjuster – At Risk & Insurance, Peter Rousmaniere looks at the image myths vs reality of the modern claim’s adjuster, and in the process, offers some clues as to what a savvy TPA shopper should be looking for in measuring performance.
Patriot CoalTrouble ahead: What the Patriot Coal ruling means for the future of Southern West Virginia’s coalfields – Ken Ward talks about the recent federal bankruptcy judge ruling which approved Patriot Coal’s plan to dump its union contract and its retiree health-care plan. He looks at what this decision and other issues might signify about the viability of the industry.
Defense Base Act – “The final withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq in December 2011 may have brought to a decisive conclusion an almost decade long conflict in the region, but much remains in question when it comes to how U.S. Government Contractors are protected from tort liability should their employees be injured, become ill or die in country while on company business. U.S. corporations should be aware of which form of workers’ compensation applies to their employees should a work-related incident occur.” Michal Gnatek of the Lockton Companies offers a whitepaper: After the Fire: Status of Defense Base Act in Postwar Iraq.
PEOs – In his post Surprise! PEOs Not As Bad As Thought, Dave DePaolo talks about the recent NCCI report on PEOs. Despite a few high profile bankruptcies, “…the NCCI report suggests that non-PEO employers might do better if they managed risks as well as PEOs do. / “The conventional but untested wisdom has been that PEOs are a problem,” NCCI Chief Economist Harry Shuford tells WorkCompCentral. “Our analysis suggests that this is not supported by the data.
The Most Dangerous Job in the World?How did 900 bus drivers end up dead in Guatemala City? – a riveting read about the mind-boggling dangers some workers face just to put bread on their family’s table.
Risky Women – When it comes to women in the senior ranks, Lori Widemer says that the United States is lagging far behind most other countries. “The proportion of women in senior management in the United States paled by comparison to countries such as Russia, with 36% of all senior execs being women, and Thailand, which topped Grant Thornton’s survey with 45% of senior managers being women.” She looks at the tea leaves, and makes the case for Why Women Should Lead Risk Management in Risk Management magazine.
Call for Evangelists – Annmarie Geddes Baribeau issues a call for more work comp evangelists to convert CEOs to the cause of worker’s comp. We agree – every organization’s priorities are set in the corner office and if you don’t have deep-rooted employer commitment to make comp a priority, it won’t be.
OSHA – OSHA introduces a new campaign for fall protection in construction
First RespondersThe Boston Marathon Bombings: Lessons Learned for Saving Lives – a video featuring first responders, sponsored by WBUR and Harvard in the Harvard School of Public Health’s Forum series.
Pro-tip to fraudsters – If you are going to commit fraud, it’s probably a good idea to avoid TV game show appearances. (hat tip to Hank at InsureBlog for the pointer.)
Brief Takes