Posts Tagged ‘opiates. drugs’

News Roundup: New must-read blog, opiate epidemic, nurses impact on claim costs & more more

Friday, June 12th, 2015

We’re catching up on the news with a Friday roundup — but first and foremost, we issue a warm welcome to Dr. Jennifer Christian, who has a new blog. Here at Workers Comp Insider, we’re unabashed fans of Dr.C – we have no doubt that her blog will be one to follow. See her recent post: Why aren’t we saying and doing THESE THINGS about the ADA?

Quest Data Shows Rise in Positive Test Rates for Workplace Illicit Drugs – Caroline McDonald, Risk Management Monitor: “Organizations in the United States that tested employees for drugs saw a 9.3% jump in the number of positive drug tests for illicit drugs in the general workforce, to 4.7% in 2014 from 4.3% in 2013, according to data from Quest Diagnostics. These results may mark a rising trend, as 2013 was the first year since 2003 in which the overall positivity rate for about 1.1 million tests increased in the general U.S. workforce. The analysis shows a potential reversal of a decades-long decline in the abuse of illicit drugs in the U.S. workforce, Quest said.”
NPR – Emergency Rooms Crack Down On Abusers Of Pain Pills
MCN: A Changing Landscape: America’s Opiate Epidemic
Boston Health News: Much Massachusetts news on the #heroin #overdose epidemic and #opioid abuse
Paradigm: Two New Approaches to Curbing the Opioid Epidemic

Health care cost drivers, or, Here’s where you’re getting screwed – Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters covers two recent studies in Health Affairs and their likely effect on workers comp costs: one indicating that orthopedic fees paid by private insurers are measurably higher in those markets with higher concentration and the second on hospital markups, the 50 hospitals with the highest charge to cost ratios.

Proving Value – Roberto Ceniceros, Risk & Insurance: “Sellers of workers’ compensation products that fail to grasp shifting marketplace dynamics or help buyers with the pressure they are under will increasingly lose to competitors.
You can see evidence of these changing dynamics in the challenges workers’ comp underwriters face. Their inability to earn adequate investment income is reshaping their view of the vendors they buy from.
Other buyers, including third party administrators and self-insured employers, are also re-evaluating their purchasing arrangements.”

How do nurses impact workers’ comp claim costs? – Melissa Hillebrand, “Medical and total loss dollars are reduced by double digit percentages when nurses become involved on a workers’ compensation claim, according to a report from Liberty Mutual Insurance and its wholly owned third-party administrator, Helmsman Management Services.
Based on the findings from an internal study of 42,000 claims, a nurse’s participation in the workers’ comp process decreases a claimant’s future medical costs by 18% and overall costs by 26%. The study, “The N Factor: How Nurses Add Value to Workers’ Compensation Claims,” pulled data points across four categories.”

South Dakota Supremes Declare Horseplay Compensable: Bob Wilson, Bob’s Cluttered Desk: “Workers’ compensation is no stranger to stupid stories. Lord knows we have seen our fair share of inane dumbassery. This story – make that this court decision – would be one of them.”

Overview of California Workers’ Compensation SystemConference Chronicles presents a recap of Dave Bellusci’s overview of California’s workers’ compensation system from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California’s (WCIRB) perspective. Dave is the WCIRB Chief Actuary.
Related: Dave DePaolo offers his perspective on the WCRIB goings-on on two posts: The Whole Person and The Value Image.

Cognitive Therapy, Cognitive Dissonance – Michael Gavin, Evidence Based: “”One of the most frequent recommendations I see resulting from our peer-to-peer discussions on chronic pain claims is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s challenges and, thus, change the way they feel about and deal with those challenges.
Despite the growing body of evidence regarding the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, it still seems to cause a great deal of cognitive dissonance in our industry. We want to mitigate chronic pain symptoms for injured workers so they can take fewer medications, have a higher quality of life, and perhaps even return to work. But we’re resistant to the idea that 6-12 CBT sessions can actually help with those goals, despite what the evidence suggests.”

Heat Hazard – Claire Wilkinson, Terms + Conditions – offers a variety of links to the growing risk posed by excessive heat and drought in various parts of the globe and in various industries.
Related: California Employers Take the Heat . . . of new Revised Heat Illness Standards

Other noteworthy news