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NATL. - Marijuana Testing of Employees Expected to Face Further Restrictions

By Elaine Goodman (medical/business Reporter)
08/21/2019 | 469 | 0 | 35 min read

New laws in Nevada and New York City that limit pre-employment drug testing for marijuana have caused some to speculate that further restrictions may follow. In New York City, a bill enacted May 10 prohibits employers in the city from requiring a prospective worker to be tested for the presence of any tetrahydrocannabinols, marijuana’s active ingredient, as a condition of employment. The law will take effect on May 10, 2020. The bill provides exceptions for police officers, emergency responders, lifeguards, jobs that require driving or operation of heavy equipment, jobs that require a ... Read More

IL - New Law Puts Union Reps on Comp Commission

By William Rabb (Reporter)
08/21/2019 | 113 | 0 | 13 min read

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a law that guarantees labor organizations a seat on the Workers' Compensation Commission appeals board, a move that employers and insurance defense attorneys said will make the commission a more partisan body. The commission is made up of three, three-member panels that hear claims disputes upon appeal, after an arbitrator has made a ruling. The panels comprise a neutral party, an employer representative and someone from the "employee class." House Bill 2301, sponsored by state Rep. Debbie Meyers-Martin, D-Matteson, and Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunke... Read More

TN - Court Upholds PTD Award, Apportionment of Liability to Second Injury Fund

08/21/2019 | 55 | 0 | 70 min read

The Tennessee Supreme Court Special Workers’ Appeals Compensation Panel upheld a finding that a worker was permanently and totally disabled by her injuries from an on-the-job fall, and that 15% of the liability could be apportioned to the state’s Second Injury Fund. Case: Nolan v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., No. W2018-01382-SC-R3-WC, 08/16/2019, published. Facts: Carol Nolan worked for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. She suffered multiple injuries in a fall at work in April 2011. Dr. Tim Sweo assigned Nolan a permanent impairment rating of 37% to the left lower extremity, a... Read More

PA - Court Rejects Carrier's Challenge to Fee Review Decision

08/21/2019 | 114 | 0 | 19 min read

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled that a provider of durable medical equipment was entitled to payment for an electronic scooter it furnished to an injured worker. Case: State Workers’ Insurance Fund v. Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fee Review Hearing Office (Harburg Medical Sales Co.), No. 36 C.D. 2018, 08/19/2019, unpublished. Facts and procedural history: In March 2016, the Harburg Medical Sales Co. submitted a bill to the State Workers’ Insurance Fund requesting payment of $6,995.95 for an electric scooter it had provided to Lila Deans. The bill indicated t... Read More

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Press - APEX Investigation (SC) Announces Michael A. Gomez as Executive Vice President of Business Development and General Partner

08/19/2019 | 372 | 0

Orange, Calif., August 19, 2019 - APEX Investigation a leading provider of claims investigation services, today announced that Michael A. Gomez has been named as Executive Vice President of Business Development and General Partner, APEX Investigation (SC). In his new role, Michael will be responsible for insurance carrier, captive, third party administrator, self-insured and public entity sales and se... Read More

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CA - Gunn: Identifying and Dealing With Fraud in Your Comp Program

By Stacey Gunn
08/20/2019 | 298 | 0

Workers' compensation fraud costs employers hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Fraudulent claims create both a financial and administrative burden for employers, as well as create additional hardship for injured workers with legitimate claims. Consequently, early identification of potential fraudulent cases, and quick, appropriate action by workers’ compensation third-party administrators can play a significant role in making sure your workers’ compensation program runs efficiently and provides needed help for injured workers. The following are some best practic... Read More

TX - Worker Doesn't Have Viable Claim Against Contractor

08/21/2019 | 115 | 0 | 17 min read

A Texas appellate court ruled that a worker failed to state a viable claim against an independent contractor for failing to provide him with a safe work environment. Case: Sanchez v. Precision Drilling Co. LP, No. 01-17-00913-CV, 08/20/2019, published. Facts: COG Operating LLC hired the Precision Drilling Co. to drill several oil and gas wells. COG separately contracted with the Precision Drilling Holdings Co. to transport oil and gas rigs to the sites. Refugio Sanchez, Ivan Torres and Austin Matejowsky worked for Precision Drilling Holdings. In April 2013, the three worked to move a genera... Read More

NATL. - IAIABC Terminates Contract With ACORD; Next Steps Unclear

08/21/2019 | 159 | 0 | 8 min read

The International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions announced late Tuesday it had officially ended its contract with ACORD, a database-access and software group that had been developing new standards for electronic reporting. “Despite months-long discussions at the highest levels, the partnership agreement with ACORD was officially terminated,” said the emailed news release from IAIABC. “The decision to end the ACORD partnership was made following thoughtful deliberations by the IAIABC Board of Directors with consultation with jurisdictional ... Read More

NATL. - NCCI Court Case Update Reviews Exclusive Remedy, Air Ambulance Issues

08/21/2019 | 157 | 0 | 22 min read

The National Council on Compensation Insurance has released the latest edition of its Countrywide Court Case Update, looking at cases and decisions that may impact workers’ compensation across the U.S.  The report discusses court cases regarding workers’ compensation exclusive remedy; challenges to state adoption of third-party guides; marijuana issues; air ambulance reimbursement; and other federal and state developments. On the air ambulance issue, for example, state and federal courts thus far have largely found that the federal Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 preempts s... Read More

LA - LWCC Announces Mid-Year Dividend of $136 Million

08/21/2019 | 90 | 0 | 73 min read

The Louisiana Workers' Compensation Corp., or LWCC, this week announced a $136 million midyear dividend for about 20,000 businesses in the state. The dividend, amounting to an average of $6,800 per employer, will be paid in October. The payout could also be followed by an annual dividend by next summer, according to a news release from the mutual company that is the largest workers' comp carrier in the state. “This midyear dividend does not replace the potential for LWCC’s 2019 dividend,” the bulletin said. “While the board can’t guarantee future div... Read More

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Press - Prominent California Workers Compensation Firm Stockwell, Harris, Woolverton & Helphrey Inks Exclusive Agreement with Legal Facts, LLC for Casefriend Law Firm Management Platform

08/19/2019 | 177 | 0

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 19, 2019 Prominent California Workers Compensation Firm Stockwell, Harris, Woolverton & Helphrey Inks Exclusive Agreement with Legal Facts, LLC for Casefriend Law Firm Management Platform Los Angeles, Ca— August 19, 2019 Legal Facts, LLC proudly announces that the law firm Stockwell, Harris, Woolverton & Helphrey (“SHWH”) has agreed to exclusively use Casefriend as their legal work-flow management platform. SHWH is has been a leader in the California Workers’ Compensation defense community since 1957, counting some of the largest ... Read More

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AZ - Barb Fuchs Joins CopperPoint as Data Management SVP

08/21/2019 | 72 | 0 | 16 min read

CopperPoint Insurance Cos. has hired Barb Fuchs as senior vice president of data management. Fuchs will lead CopperPoint’s enterprise data warehouse program. She’ll be in charge of certain external reporting functions, coordination and ownership of business decision and information applications, and other data-driven business functions and support areas.   Fuchs is experienced in leading information technology, data and analytic functions within the insurance industry. Most recently, she was vice president of information management and analytics at Travelers. Befor... Read More

MT - Earned Premium, Policyholder Surplus Down in 2018

08/21/2019 | 58 | 0 | 3 min read

The Montana State Fund saw both its policyholder surplus and net earned premium fall last year, according to the carrier’s 2018 annual report, released Tuesday. Montana State Fund reports net premiums earned of $161.3 million for 2018, compared to $166.8 million in 2017. The carrier reports incurred losses fell to $117.1 million from $119.2 million, while incurred loss expenses increased to $21.4 million from $19.7 million. The state fund reported that its liability for unpaid losses increased to $824.8 million from $803.7 million. Liability for unpaid loss adjustment expenses increas... Read More

OR - Medical-Only Claim Reimbursement Cap Climbs to $2,200

08/21/2019 | 79 | 0 | 8 min read

Oregon employers will be able to pay up to $2,200 for medical costs next year to avoid losses that could negatively affect their experience modifications. The Workers’ Compensation Division announced the employer-reimbursed medical service costs cap will increase to $2,200 per claim starting Jan. 1. Carriers must notify employers about their right to reimburse medical costs on accepted, nondisabling claims. “Reimbursed medical service costs cannot in any way be used to affect the employer’s experience rating modification or otherwise be charged against the employer,”... Read More

NATL. - More Guidelines Emerge on Opioid Prescribing After Surgery

By Elaine Goodman (medical/business Reporter)
08/20/2019 | 405 | 0 | 47 min read

While some believe the overprescribing of opioids after surgery is widespread, a lack of evidence-based guidelines may be hampering efforts to reduce post-surgery opioid use, according to researchers from the University of Michigan. But in a research letter published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers found that distributing a guideline to surgery teams at 43 hospitals in the state reduced post-surgery opioid prescribing by almost a third.  The average prescription size dropped from 26 pills before the guideline was distributed in October 2017 to 18 pills ... Read More

NATL. - IAIABC May Rethink ACORD Relationship on Reporting Software After State Concerns

By William Rabb (Reporter)
08/20/2019 | 237 | 0 | 23 min read

The International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions, which has been leading the way on a new claims reporting standard nationwide, may be close to severing ties with its software organization, a move that could mean extra work for some state comp agencies. “That's something we're working through,” said Heather Lore, senior manager of membership and communications at the IAIABC. She declined further comment. ACORD, the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development, is a nonprofit organization that provides the insurance industry wi... Read More

TX - Conference Aims to Connect Contractors, Carriers on Home Modifications

By William Rabb (Reporter)
08/20/2019 | 134 | 0 | 18 min read

After catastrophic injuries, workers are often left paralyzed and in need of extensive home modifications. Doorways need to be widened to accommodate wheelchairs. Countertops and sinks may have to be lowered. Bathtubs must be made accessible. Light switches should be placed within easy reach. But contractors don't always know what changes the workers' compensation carrier will pay for. And sometimes a contractor isn't hired until just days before the worker is set to come home when some modifications can take months to complete. To help solve this problem, and connect constructi... Read More

GA - Court Upholds Dismissal of Malpractice Suit

08/20/2019 | 115 | 0 | 63 min read

The Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of an injured worker’s malpractice suit against his former attorney, finding the lawyer was not responsible for the forfeiture of a tort claim. Case: Bush v. Eichholz, No. A19A1388, 08/16/2019, published. Facts: Reginald Bush was a longshoreman with the Georgia Ports Authority. He injured his back while at work in May 2015. Bush hired attorney David Eichholz to pursue a tort claim and a workers' compensation claim. Georgia Code Section 50-21-26 requires that a party file a notice of claim against the state within a year of inj... Read More