TRIA, mining fatalities, FL repackaged drugs, 2015 trends, 2014 recap & more noteworthy news

January 12th, 2015 by Julie Ferguson

Senate Passes TRIA; Bill Goes to President Obama’s Desk – “In addition to reauthorizing the TRIA program for six years, the bill raises the trigger amount needed in total losses before the TRIA program kicks in from the current $100 million to $200 million, over five years, beginning in calendar year 2016. Also over five years, starting Jan. 1, 2016, the mandatory recoupment rises from $27.5 billion to $37.5 billion, increasing by $2 billion each year. For all events, the bill raises the private industry recoupment total from the current 133 percent of covered losses to 140 percent of covered losses.”

Additional sources:

What Happens To Uber Drivers And Other Sharing Economy Workers Injured On The Job?
Ellen Huet inForbes: “As much as workers like Omar may think of themselves as employees of peer-to-peer marketplaces like Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Instacart, Postmates or Homejoy, they’re not, legally speaking. Companies are under no obligation to provide the same worker protections for independent contractors as they are for employees — protections like overtime, paid sick days, health insurance and workers’ compensation.”

Do Not Fail to Care, Roberto Ceniceros, Risk & Insurance: “With the predicted spread in pricing — as some insurers reduce policy prices to gain market share while others tighten up their offerings — it stands to reason that those employers that manage their claims experience well will receive the better policy renewal deals and a broader range of coverage choices when arranging insurance.
Employers that fail to support safety programs that prevent injuries, or fail to take care of their workers once they are hurt, will eventually pay the cost of more complex claims and the increased services those claims require.”

MSHA Says Coal Mining Deaths at Historic Low – “Preliminary data released by MSHA show 40 miners died in work-related accidents at the nation’s mines during 2014, two fewer than the previous year, according to the agency’s news release. Coal mining deaths dropped from 20 in 2013 to 16 in 2014, the lowest annual number of coal mining deaths ever recorded in the United States.” Related – Ken Ward, Coal Tattoo: Is a record low for mining deaths enough?

OSHA orders pilot to be reinstated after being illegally fired for refusing to fly unsafe medical transport helicopter – “Faced one night with a trip over mountainous terrain in a medical transport helicopter with a faulty emergency locator transmitter, a pilot refused to fly the unsafe aircraft and was later terminated in retaliation for doing so. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration followed. As a result, Air Methods Corp. was ordered to reinstate the pilot, pay $158,000 in back wages and $8,500 in damages, and remove disciplinary information from the employee’s personnel record. In addition, the company must provide whistleblower rights information to all employees.”

Quicker Care with Telemedicine, Katie Siegel, Risk & Insurance – “Telemedicine can help combat an impending physician shortage and possibly lower cost of care for workers’ comp payers. ”

Florida repackaged drug payments to physicians dropped in 2013: Report – Stephanie Goldberg, Business Insurance: “Physician repackaged drug payments in Florida fell by nearly 39% in 2013, according to a recent report by the state Division of Workers’ Compensation.”

NH: Final Report of the Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Costs (PDF) Related: NH Governor Hassan Issues Statement on Workers’ Comp Commission Report
721 Hospitals Penalized For Patient Safety – “Medicare is penalizing 721 hospitals with high rates of potentially avoidable mistakes that can harm patients, known as “hospital-acquired conditions.” Penalized hospitals will have their Medicare payments reduced by 1 percent over the fiscal year that runs from October 2014 through September 2015.”

Did agents go too far in trying to catch a claimant in workers’ comp fraud? – “A federal judge in Portland chided government agents Friday for running a series of elaborate ruses to catch a U.S. mail carrier they accuse of fraudulently obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.” Perhaps setting up a phony business, luring a claimant into a deep sea fishing expedition, posing as a vocational rehab specialist and setting up 1,000 hours of surveillance is a bit over the top?

More news of note

2015 Forecast & predictions

Recapping 2014