Fresh Health Wonk Review & Other Noteworthy News

September 26th, 2013 by Julie Ferguson

Check out the latest Health Wonk Review
At Healthcare Talent Transformation, Peggy Salvatore has posted The 700th Anniversary Blog Question Is….Will a Government Shutdown Stop ObamaCare? lots of opinions from various sources. (And while on the topic of stopping Obamacare, don’t miss Joe Paduda’s take on the Ted Cruz affair. )
Prescription Drugs
New research on prescription drug expenditures from NCCI reveals that prescription costs per claim continue to grow, with utilization being a major driver of total cost changes; the share of Rx costs for physician dispensed drugs continues to increase; narcotics account for 25% of drug costs; and more than 45% of narcotics costs are for drugs with Oxycodone HCL as an active ingredient. For the full report: Workers’ Compensation Prescription Drug Study, 2013 Update. (PDF)
Related – See CompPharma’s 1oth Annual Survey Summary on Prescription Drug Management in Workers’ Compensation – for an overview, see Joe Paduda’s summary. Also the Workers Compensation Research Institute recently issued The Prevalence and Costs of Physician-Dispensed Drugs – a 24-state reference book that allows policymakers and others to see how their state compares with other states as well as what actions other states have taken with regard to this issue.
In what has become a familiar routine, the insurance industry finds itself trying to persuade legislators of the importance of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), the federal backstop that allows insurers to provide coverage for unpredictable acts of terrorism. It’s schedule to expire at the end of the year – the last two times this occurred, there were eleventh hour “saved by the bell” approvals, but not without wreaking the havoc of uncertainty in a busy renewal season. Think that TRIA has outlived its usefulness? See the terrorism threat map from the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America to see threat events (actual and thwarted) since September 2001 – click by state. The American Insurance Association (AIA) makes the point that TRIA enables a stable terrorism risk insurance market for a peril that would be otherwise uninsurable. “TRIA enables insurers to cover what would otherwise remain an uninsurable risk because unlike weather events, it can’t be modeled. See their full statement on TRIA. Also, check out what Robert Hartwig had to say in his testimony before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Future of Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) Program
Emergency Planning
The Boston Marathon bombing, the recent Navy Yard shooting, the horrific Nairobii shopping mall attack … these events pose a challenge for risk managers. The September cover story of The American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Professional Safety journal focuses on Emergency Response & Business Continuity: The Next Generation in Planning PDF), a timely topic for September as National Preparedness Month.
Immigrant workers
At Working Immigrants, Peter Rousmaniere makes the case for why we must address immigrant work safety now. One compelling reason? “Foreign-born workers (including legal and undocumented) comprised about one tenth of the country’s workforce in 1990. Today they amount to about 17 percent, and are much more widely distributed geographically. ” His post addresses various ways that, as an industry, we’ve been failing to address the problems.
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