News Roundup: ACA, WC & Profitability, Pain, Opioids & More

June 26th, 2015 by Julie Ferguson

The big news that’s dominated the week is the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act subsidies. NAIC’s statement on the ACA ruling sums things up well:

“Uncertainty in insurance is not a good thing. The decision allows regulators, consumers and the industry a level of certainty that supports stability for insurance markets in our states. The NAIC will continue to support state insurance departments – as we have done since the passage of the ACA – and ensure consumers are protected, regardless of the type of exchange in any given state. There are still a number of challenging issues facing health insurance consumers across the country, and U.S. insurance regulators are working together through the NAIC to promote stable and competitive markets.”

Here are some related news stories / opinions we found noteworthy

Is Workers Comp Profitable?
If you haven’t yet checked it out, don’t miss Joe Paduda’s three part posting on the profitability (or lack thereof) of workers comp. Part 1: If workers’ comp is so profitable, why is Liberty Mutual de-emphasizing the business? Part 2: Workers’ comp profitability, Part 3: Workers’ comp profitability.
Related: Boston Globe, Liberty Mutual shedding its workers’ comp roots

New Blog
We’d like to welcome a new work comp related blog to our blogroll – Work Comp Psych Net – an eponymous blog from an organization of the same name. Work Comp Psych Net is a New Jersey-based network of behavioral health practitioners who facilitate return to work. They specialize in addressing psychological and mental health obstacles delaying return to work. such as PTSD, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, adjustment and mood disorders, and the like.

Worker Misclassification – What Employers Need to Know in Light of New Enforcement Efforts
D. Earl Baggett, Amanda Weaver | Williams Mullen, JDSupra Business Advisor: “The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (“DOLI”) has recently announced the implementation of a new Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (“VOSH”) policy directed at preventing the misclassification of workers in VOSH cases. VOSH will be seeking to identify workers who have been misclassified as independent contractors during the course of VOSH inspections and investigations. Misclassification occurs when an employer improperly classifies a worker as an independent contractor when the worker should be classified as an employee. The new policy, which takes effect July 1, 2015, comes on the heels of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s 2014 executive order establishing an inter-agency task force on worker misclassification and payroll fraud in Virginia.”

Nancy’s super-simple guide to pain, Jennifer Christian: “Nancy Grover’s June 15 column on Work Comp Central is a super simple guide to pain for anyone who isn’t really interested in the latest science of neurophysiology — but who wants a basic understanding of how the science of pain is changing our view about how to treat it.Nancy interviewed me and wrote her column after reading a white paper entitled Red Herrings and Medical Over-Diagnosis Drive Large Loss Workers’ Compensation Claims released by Lockton Companies. I am one of the co-authors, along with Keith Rosenblum, senior risk consultant at Lockton Companies and Dr. David Ross, a Florida neurologist who is CEO of NeuroPAS Global…”

Massachusetts: Task Force Says Opioid Abuse an EpidemicClaims J0urnal: “Massachusetts is in the midst of an epidemic of deadly opioid abuse, according to a task force created by Gov. Charlie Baker that said Monday that drug addiction must be considered a medical disease.
The 18-member group released a total of 65 recommendations in the areas of prevention, education, intervention, and treatment and recovery, after holding a series of meetings around the state in recent months.
“Over the past decade, more than 6,600 members of our community have died because of opioids, and behind those deaths are thousands of hospital stays, emergency department visits, and unquantifiable human suffering inflicted upon individuals, families and our communities,” the task force said in an overview of its report.”

Don Blankenship / Massey Energy
New York Times: ‘The People v. the Coal Baron’ – At Coal Tattoo, Ken Ward Jr. dissects the recent NYT story on Don Blakenship, correcting the record on several counts. Ken Ward offers a sterling example of why local journalism is so vital. As the October 1 criminal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship approaches, we expect more national media coverage, but for the definitive source, you can’t do better than Ken Ward and his coverage at the Charleston Gazette.

More Noteworthy News

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