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NJ - Legislation Might Remove Hurdle to Medical Marijuana Reimbursement

By Elaine Goodman (medical/business Reporter)
07/16/2018 | 65 | 0 | 3 min read

A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced a bill that would clarify that state law doesn’t prohibit workers’ comp payers from reimbursing an injured worker for the use of medical marijuana. The legislation, Assembly Bill 4097, was introduced just weeks before a New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation judge on June 28 ordered Freehold Township to reimburse an injured worker, Steven McNeary, for the use of medical marijuana to treat an injury. The case is at least the second time that a New Jersey workers’ comp judge has ordered reimbursement for medical marijuana. That... Read More

CT - Commission Finds Few Denials by Fraudulent Doc; The Hartford Offering Remediation on Claims

By William Rabb (Reporter)
07/16/2018 | 51 | 0 | 8 min read

A month after Connecticut authorities discovered that disgraced New York doctor Spyros Panos had set up a fraudulent utilization review firm in Connecticut, regulators and insurers there are breathing a cautious sigh of relief. "We went through every open file, and only found a handful that were significant denials, and those have been addressed," said Stephen Morelli, chairman of the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission. Most of the 220 claims that Panos' company, Excel O, reviewed in Connecticut were done for The Hartford, and the carrier has launched a remed... Read More

CA - Carrier Seeks Public Ruling on Jurisdiction for Ex-NFL Player's Comp Claim

By WorkCompCentral
07/16/2018 | 66 | 0 | 2 min read

A workers’ compensation insurance carrier last week asked the 4th District Court of Appeal to order publication of its ruling finding that an out-of-state football player could not pursue a cumulative trauma claim in California. The court had released its ruling in Tripplett v. WCAB (Indianapolis Colts) as an unpublished opinion on June 28. Unpublished opinions are citable only for their persuasive value in California. If the court grants the request of the Great Divide Insurance Co., the ruling becomes binding precedent. Great Divide had been the comp carrier for the Indianapoli... Read More

NATL. - 3rd Circuit Upholds Black-Lung Awards to Miner, Widow

By WorkCompCentral
07/16/2018 | 45 | 0 | 2 min read

A federal appellate court ruled that a coal miner was entitled to compensation under the Black Lung Benefits Act, and that his widow was also entitled to survivor benefits.   Case: Consolidation Coal Co. v. Director of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, No. 17-2067, 07/12/2018, unpublished. Facts: John Funka worked underground in coal mines for over 40 years. Funka spent the first 20 years of his career as a maintenance supervisor and section mechanic for the Matthews Coal Co., which is now Consolidation Coal Co. Funka then became an electrical inspector for the Office... Read More


NY - Court Tosses Police Officer's Tort Claim for Injuries Sustained in Pursuit of Suspects

By WorkCompCentral
07/16/2018 | 42 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that an injured police officer could not pursue a personal injury claim against a general contractor in charge of a construction site where the officer allegedly fell while pursuing robbery suspects. Case: Palladino v. Monadnock Construction, No. 2016-07638, 07/11/2018, published. Facts and procedural history: Anthony Palladino had worked as a police officer. He allegedly suffered injuries when he fell on the site of a construction project while pursuing the suspects in a robbery. Palladino filed a personal injury action against the general contractor for th... Read More

Column

NATL. - Langham: A Comp Laude Overview, Community and Commitment

By David Langham
07/13/2018 | 77 | 0

The Comp Laude awards have become a part of the American workers' compensation landscape. Judge David Langham Each year, nominations are opened and we encourage participation. Some thoughts from 2017 are here. Some broader overview thoughts from 2016 are here. And, as a proud honoree, I was privileged to share my thoughts on Comp Laude in the WCC World Blog last fall. That is a sampling. I have written fairly often about the Comp Laude efforts instigated by late WorkCompCentral founder David DePaolo to recognize what is good and right in workers' compensat... Read More

OH - Cleaning After Use of Toilet Doesn't Break Causal Connection Between Accident, Back Injury

By WorkCompCentral
07/16/2018 | 48 | 0 | 1 min read

An Ohio appellate court ruled that a worker’s act of cleaning herself after using the restroom did not break the causal connection between her prior work accident and the herniation of a disc in her back. Case: State ex rel. Bravo Brio Restaurant Group v. Industrial Commission, No. 17AP-189, 07/12/2018, published. Facts: Kellie A. Farricker worked for the Bravo Brio Restaurant Group. Farricker suffered injuries to her head, neck and back while at work in March 2009. The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation accepted her injuries as compensable, and by 2012, she was at maximum medical ... Read More

Sullivan On Comp

NJ - City Employee Can't Bring Tort Claims for Injuries From Car Accident Caused by Colleague

By WorkCompCentral
07/16/2018 | 36 | 0

The New Jersey Superior Court’s Appellate Division ruled that a city employee could not proceed with a tort claim against his employer and co-employee after he settled a workers’ compensation claim from a car accident caused by the coworker. Case: Campos v. Cruz, No. A-3825-16T2, 07/12/2018, unpublished. Facts and procedural history: Victor Campos worked for the City of Passaic Department of Public Works. Miguel Cruz worked for the city as a police officer. On Dec. 23, 2013, Campos began to feel sick while working at City Hall and decided to go home before the end of his normal ... Read More

KY - Medical Committee Meets Thursday to Tackle Formulary Requirements of HB2

07/16/2018 | 42 | 0 | 1 min read

A medical advisory committee, tasked with devising ways to implement a drug formulary and prescribing guidelines as required by House Bill 2, will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday. Joseph Guerriero This will be the second meeting of the committee, and the group will hear from two organizations about formularies and guidelines used in some states, according to the agenda. The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine will make a presentation, followed by Joe Guerriero, senior vice president of the ReedGroup, which produces MDGuidelines, one of two major U.S. sources for disability... Read More

MD - Memorial Service for Longtime Commissioner Leeds Set for July 21

07/16/2018 | 40 | 0

A memorial service will be held Saturday for former Maryland Workers' Compensation Commissioner Jacques Leeds Jr. Leeds died July 1 at age 90. The service will be at 10 a.m. at the Diamonds Ball Room, 9980 Liberty Road, Baltimore, the commission announced.  "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of former Commissioner Jacques Leeds," the commission said. Leeds was appointed by Gov. Harry Hughes in 1986 and served until 1998. He was a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law, class of 1954. Estep Brothers Funeral Home is in charge of the servic... Read More

NATL. - Work Comp Rates Fall Again in Second Quarter, MarketScout Reports

07/16/2018 | 42 | 0

Rates for most lines of U.S. commercial property and casualty insurance increased in the second quarter, with the exception of workers’ compensation rates, which fell 3%, according to the latest Market Barometer report from MarketScout. The 3% drop for workers’ comp rates in the second quarter follows a 2% decrease in the first quarter, according to the MarketScout survey. MarketScout is a managing general agent and wholesale broker that operates the MarketScout Exchange. Commercial auto rates jumped 6% in the second quarter, and commercial property rates were up 4%. Rates for bu... Read More

NATL. - Morrish Steps in as NCOIL Vice President

07/16/2018 | 33 | 0 | 9 min read

Louisiana Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish has been named vice president of the National Council of Insurance Legislators, or NCOIL. Sen. Dan Morrish Morrish will complete the term of Vermont Rep. Bill Botzow, who did not seek re-election in the state legislature and resigned as NCOIL vice president. The NCOIL Executive Committee elected Morrish to the position during the group’s summer meeting in Salt Lake City last week. Morrish is serving his third term in the Louisiana Senate. The Jennings Republican also served in the House of Representatives, where he was first elected in... Read More

NATL. - Vik Agrawal Joins EnableComp Board of Directors

07/16/2018 | 42 | 0

EnableComp LLC, a provider of workers' compensation billing and collection services, has announced the appointment of Vik Agrawal to its board of directors. Vik Agrawal Agrawal is a health care technology entrepreneur and investor who launched several businesses over the past 20 years. Agrawal is chairman of Levrx Technology and managing partner for Vik Brothers NY. He was previously executive chairman for Etransmedia, a health care IT firm he co-founded in 2000 that grew to 700 employees in nine locations.   Before starting Etransmedia, Agrawal worked at Ariba, Symantec an... Read More

CA - Employers ID Cumulative Trauma as Work Comp Quagmire

By Jim Sams (Senior Editor)
07/13/2018 | 1715 | 7 | 29 min read

ANAHEIM, California — California employers on Thursday gave the state labor secretary a trophy to take back to Gov. Jerry Brown for bringing stability to the workers’ compensation system, while sending a message to the next governor that they want something done about cumulative trauma claims. Labor Secretary David Lanier accepts an award as CCWC Chairman Dan Bagan looks on. Labor Secretary David Lanier accepted the glass award from California Coalition on Workers’ Compensation Chairman Dan Bagan during the groups’ annual conference. Lanier had spent the previous 2... Read More

TX - Memo Reminds Attorneys on Overbilling; Texas Mutual Says 'It's Not Over'

By William Rabb (Reporter)
07/13/2018 | 274 | 0 | 13 min read

After news broke last month that a claimants' attorney had been indicted on fraudulent billing charges and that other attorneys had billed for thousands of hours per year, many in the state expected regulators to launch some sort of investigation. Leslie Casaubon That may yet happen, officials said, but so far the Division of Workers' Compensation has only reminded attorneys to be accurate when submitting fees for approval. "In certifying an application for attorneys’ fees, the attorney certifies that every statement, numerical figure and calculation is within the ... Read More

NATL. - NCCI: Hospital Consolidation Likely Impacting Comp Costs

By Elaine Goodman (medical/business Reporter)
07/13/2018 | 189 | 0 | 9 min read

Hospital mergers have substantially reduced operating costs for acquired hospitals but increased hospital prices by double-digit percentages, a trend that is expected to impact workers’ compensation medical costs, according to a new report. “For workers’ compensation, hospital consolidation is likely to affect both the quantity and price of medical services,” the National Council on Compensation Insurance said in the report released Thursday. Hospital mergers, which have surged over the last several years, are typically touted as a way to streamline patient care ... Read More