Midsummer news roundup

August 9th, 2013 by Julie Ferguson

Happier times ahead? – Joe Paduda says that if higher total premiums are your barometer, things are looking decidedly sunny: Brighter days for workers comp. And related to these happier times that Joe notes is the resurgence of manufacturing. See : Are Engineering Schools the Unsung Hero in America’s Industrial Rebound?
WV “epicenter of the Oxycontin epidemic” – Ken Ward talks about Coal’s role in Appalachia’s drug problem. His post also points us to the documentary Oxyana, which is described as. ” A portrait of Oceana, WV, an old coal mining town that has become the epicenter of the Oxycontin epidemic, earning the nickname Oxyana.” You can see the Osyana trailer here and click through to watch the entire documentary online for $3.99. Related: At CompTime, Roberto Ceniceros recently wrote about Heroin and the Work Comp Connection. He’s also written about about a shift away from OxyContin use toward heroin abuse.
Obesity and workers comp study – In light of the recent AMA classification of obesity as a treatable disease, the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) has issued a report that examines the effect on California workers’ compensate. “Using data from 1.2 million claims from accident years 2005 to 2010, the Institute found that claims with an obesity co-morbidity have had significantly higher rates of lost time from work, permanent disability, and attorney involvement, and have been much more likely to involve additional co-morbidities such as arthritis, hypertension and mental health issues, as well as prescriptions for opioid painkillers and psychotropic drugs – all of which are associated with higher claim costs. Indeed, after case-mix adjustment, the study found that paid losses on claims with the obesity co-morbidity averaged $116,437, or 81.3% more than those without; and that these claims averaged nearly 35 weeks of lost time, or 80% more than the 19 week average for claims without the obesity co-morbidity. The Institute notes that to the extent that such differences continue in the future, these results suggest that any increase in the number of job injury claims in which obesity is treated could have significant cost implications for workers’ compensation.” Access the full 8/7 report at CWCI.
ACAState Premium Watch: Pricing In The New Insurance Marketplaces – a good update from Kaiser Health News, who note that: “A growing number of states have released approved 2014 premiums and other details about individual and small group insurance plans that will available on the marketplaces, also called exchanges. Those rates do not take into account the federal tax credits that many people will be eligible for. In addition, the federal government must give final approval to the plans in September.”
Emerging risks – You’ve heard of distracted driving – anyone who works in workers comp and has seen the devastating impact of slips trips and falls will not be surprised that this is now a thing: Distracted walking is no joke
Aftermath of a disaster9,640 Fukushima plant workers reach radiation level for leukemia compensation – “According to figures compiled by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. in July, 9,640 people who worked at the plant between March 11, 2011, when the nuclear accident started, and Dec. 31 that year were exposed to 5 millisieverts or more of radiation. Workers can receive compensation if they are exposed to 5 millisieverts or more per year and develop leukemia one year after they began working at the plant. TEPCO figures showed that 19,592 people worked at the Fukushima No. 1 plant during the nine-month period and were exposed to 12.18 millisieverts on average.”
FMLA – Think that including a description of your FMLA policies and procedures in an employee handbook will protect you in court? Think again: Failure to Provide FMLA Notice Dooms Employer’s Effort to Terminate Employee for Excessive Use of Leave
Fraud corner Jon Gelman reports on an Illinois first: Employer Convicted of a Felony for Failure to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
Ohio delivers $55 million fraud smackdown
Risk RoundupCavalcade of Risk # 189: What’s Going On In The World Of Risk – Check it out!
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