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NATL. - Two More States Considering Drug Formularies

By J. Todd Foster (Reporter)
01/18/2018 | 246 | 0 | 0 min read

Massachusetts would create its own formulary, and Indiana would adopt the Official Disability Guidelines formulary, under a pair of new bills pending before lawmakers. The Massachusetts legislation is sponsored by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker as part of his response to the opioid epidemic and his goal of taking “the fight to the disease.” Bill H.4033 is nicknamed the CARE Act (for An Act Relative to Combatting Addiction, Accessing Treatment, Reducing Prescriptions and Enhancing Prevention). The proposed legislation is before the House Committee on Mental Health, Substa. Read More

CA - Sobol to Pay $2 Million for Kickback Scheme; Randall Restitution Hearing Vacated

By Greg Jones (Deputy Editor)
01/18/2018 | 789 | 0 | 0 min read

A federal judge ordered a doctor to pay $2 million for accepting kickbacks to refer workers’ compensation patients to Pacific Hospital of Long Beach on the same day she determined it would be too burdensome to calculate restitution for a marketer who orchestrated a similar kickback scheme at another Southern California hospital. U.S. District Court Judge Josephine Staton on Tuesday signed a $2 million personal money judgment of forfeiture against Dr. Philip Sobol, who pleaded guilty in 2015 to a conspiracy charge. Staton on Tuesday cited the inability of prosecutors to prove actual los. Read More

NATL. - NCCI: Medical Pot, Air Ambulances, Attorneys' Fees Among Notable Court Rulings

By Emily Brill (Reporter)
01/18/2018 | 227 | 0 | 0 min read

Workers’ compensation attorneys who keep an eye on trends influencing how courts interpret the grand bargain in 2018 have likely noticed recent cases concerning air ambulances, medical marijuana, attorneys’ fees and treatment guidelines. Dean Dimke These issues have made waves in the courts in recent years, and the legal division at the National Council on Compensation Insurance took notice. As part of a new section on its website called Insights, which contains research on legal and economic issues relevant to workers’ compensation, NCCI has compiled a list of rece. Read More

NATL. - Commercial Use of Self-Driving Vehicles Could Come Quickly, Some Predict

By Elaine Goodman (medical/business Reporter)
01/18/2018 | 150 | 0 | 0 min read

The introduction of self-driving vehicles could have a major impact on workers’ compensation, some say, as work injuries from driving accidents are vastly reduced and a large number of transportation jobs are eliminated. But how soon the autonomous vehicles will hit the road is a matter of debate. A report last year from the Center for Global Policy Solutions noted that 2.86% of the U.S. workforce is employed in driving occupations. A rapid transition to autonomous vehicles could result in the loss of 4 million jobs, the center estimated. The states with the highest percentage of worke. Read More


WA - Employers' Reform Proposals in Play for 2018 Session

01/18/2018 | 70 | 0 | 0 min read

An employer-backed bill proposing changes to subrogation rules, claim acceptance authority, occupational disease standards, the minimum age to settle a claim and how courts in Washington should construe the state’s workers’ compensation laws was carried over to the 2018 legislative session. Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, last year introduced HB 1729, proposing statutory fixes to areas of concern identified last year by a 12-member business coalition that included the Washington Self-Insurers Association, the National Federation of Independent Business and Associated General Co. Read More

Column

CA - Young: 2018 California Workers' Comp Quiz

By Julius Young
01/18/2018 | 153 | 0 | min read

Every new year I kick off January with a quiz on likely developments in California workers’ comp. Readers can test their insight into probable 2018 happenings in the comp world by taking the following test. Julius Young Note that in some cases there may be more than one correct answer. Ready to get out your crystal ball and play? 1. As California elects a new governor in November 2018, the following will apply:   a) Workers’ comp will hardly be mentioned in the gubernatorial campaigns and debates. b) Applicant attorneys and labor unions will n. Read More

NJ - Worker Wasn't Entitled to Increase in Award for Psyche Disability

By WorkCompCentral
01/18/2018 | 67 | 0 | 0 min read

The New Jersey Superior Court’s Appellate Division ruled that an injured worker was not entitled to an increase in psychiatric disability from a forklift accident after he was diagnosed with depression. Case: Batts v. Flag House, No. A-5616-15T4, 01/16/2018, unpublished. Facts: Larry D. Batts sustained an injury to his right foot in April 1998 when a coworker drove a forklift over it. Batts filed a workers’ compensation claim, and in 2003, he secured an award for a payment of benefits based on a 50% disability for the foot, and a 10% psychiatric disability for chronic depres. Read More

Sullivan On Comp

PA - No Benefits for Paraplegic Worker Whose Accident Was Outside COE

By WorkCompCentral
01/18/2018 | 75 | 0 | 0 min read

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania overturned an award of benefits to a paraplegic worker, finding he had a fixed place of employment and that he was outside the scope of his employment when he suffered his catastrophic injuries in a car accident. Case: Tri Star Auto Group v. WCAB (Bortz), No. 549 C.D. 2017, 01/17/2018, unpublished. Facts: The Tri Star Auto Group operated a collection of car dealerships with six locations throughout western Pennsylvania. The company hired James Bortz in 2007 to serve as a commercial account manager. Tri-Star originally told Bortz that his office wo. Read More

CA - 2nd DCA Upholds Worker's Conviction for Insurance Fraud, Attempted Perjury

By WorkCompCentral
01/18/2018 | 424 | 0 | 0 min read

A California appellate court upheld a worker’s conviction and sentence for insurance fraud and attempted perjury after he lied about needing a cane because of a plethora of alleged on-the-job injuries. Case: People v. Hernandez, No. B279922, 01/11/2018, unpublished. Facts: Luis Hernandez worked in the sanitation department for a Farmer John facility. In 2009, he reported an eye injury after he was splashed by a toxic liquid. Farmer John sent him to an ophthalmologist for treatment, and in April 2013, the company informed Hernandez that the doctor had concluded that the injury had. Read More

MN - Court Clarifies Employer's Obligations to Injured Worker Under Human Rights Act

By WorkCompCentral
01/18/2018 | 70 | 0 | 0 min read

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that an employer was not required to engage in an interactive process to determine whether an injured worker could be accommodated, and that the employer had defeated the worker’s claims of discrimination and retaliation under the state Human Rights act and Workers’ Compensation acts. Case: McBee v. Team Industries, No. A17-0060, 01/16/2018, published. Facts: Thaleaha McBee worked for Team Industries as a machine operator. Team maintained a foundry and aluminum die-casting facility in Detroit Lakes, where McBee worked. Her job required t. Read More

AZ - Filing Deadline Didn't Bar Suit by Worker Compensated for Injuries Out-of-State

By WorkCompCentral
01/18/2018 | 63 | 0 | 0 min read

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the state's time limit for a worker to file a third-party claim did not apply to a truck driver in-training who had received benefits under the laws of another state. Case: Jackson v. Eagle KMC, No. 1 CA-CV 16-0704, 01/16/2018, published. Facts: Stephanie Jackson worked for Drivers Management as a truck driver. Jackson was a resident of South Carolina, and Drivers was based in Nebraska. Drivers contracted with Eagle KMC to provide training to Jackson. Eagle was headquartered in Arizona. Jackson suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident in Feb. Read More

TN - 36% of High Court's 2017 Comp Decisions Concerned Causation, Pre-Existing Conditions

01/18/2018 | 73 | 0 | 0 min read

More than one-third of the workers' compensation cases that went to Tennessee's highest court in 2017 dealt with the topics of causation or the advancement of pre-existing conditions, according to a summary of last year's high-court opinions compiled by the Advisory Council on Workers' Compensation. Of the 36 decisions the Tennessee Supreme Court's Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel issued in 2017, eight had to do with causation and five had to do with the advancement of pre-existing conditions. The vast majority of the decisions — 31 out of 36, or. Read More

NC - Proposed Opioid Guidelines Published; Public Hearing Set

01/18/2018 | 98 | 0 | 0 min read

The Industrial Commission on Tuesday published its proposed opioid-prescribing guidelines in the state Register and will hold a public hearing on March 2. The proposed guidelines would limit daily dosages for acute pain to a 50-milligram morphine equivalent dose for initial prescriptions, not to exceed a five-day supply. Initial prescriptions of any targeted controlled substance for post-operative pain would be limited to a seven-day supply. Health care providers would be prohibited from prescribing fentanyl, benzodiazepines and the potent muscle relaxer carisoprodol for acute pai. Read More

FL - Telemedicine Bill Advances Past Committee

01/18/2018 | 94 | 0 | 0 min read

A bill that would urge insurers, including those that write workers’ compensation, to cover services provided through telehealth passed the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee by an 11-0 vote Tuesday. Senate Bill 280, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Jacksonville, has not yet been referred to another committee. An insurer that offers a rate plan approved under Section 4 of 627.0915 of the Florida Statutes would be “encouraged” to cover telehealth services, defined as a provider using telecommunications technology to treat patients in remote locations. An identi. Read More

LA - Rules Revised on Forms and Fees

01/18/2018 | 83 | 0 | 0 min read

The Workforce Commission has amended portions of the Louisiana Administrative Code related to workers’ compensation fees and forms. The Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration will receive the following fees as court costs for dispute resolution: Filing of LWC-WC-1008, $50. Filing of LWC-WC-1011 when no 1008 form is pending for the same parties, same accident and same issues, $50. Service of process on the secretary of state, $50. Copies of any paper record, 25 cents a page. For each certification, $1 per page. Filing by fax or electronic transmission, $5 transmissi. Read More

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Press - Law Firm adds Senior Partners to Marquee

01/02/2018 | 590 | 0 | min read

The law firm of Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP, headquartered in Westlake Village California, noted for being at the forefront of workers’ compensation defense firms in California for three decades, is undergoing a name change.   With the retirement of senior partner Todd Kelly, the firm has . Read More