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CA - Legislature Quiet on Comp in 2017 Session

By Greg Jones (Deputy Editor)
09/21/2017 | 623 | 0 | 0 min read

Expectations for California's 2017 legislative session for the most part held true: Although there was some debate on bills addressing utilization review and victims of workplace terrorist attacks, it was generally a quiet session for workers’ compensation. California lawmakers passed a bill that would prohibit apportioning permanent disability to pregnancy and childbirth. They passed a measure that would require employers to provide nurse case managers to victims of a terrorist attack. And they passed bills to clean up legislation passed in 2016 targeting providers accused of defra. Read More

NATL. - Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction Raises Questions

By Elaine Goodman (medical/business Reporter)
09/21/2017 | 218 | 0 | 0 min read

As treatment of injured workers’ opioid addiction is finding its way into more workers’ comp claims, the industry’s next debate could turn out to be over what type of addiction treatment is best. Medication-assisted treatment is an option that uses milder forms of opioids to keep patients off of more potent drugs. In addition to methadone, which has been used for decades to treat opioid addiction, there is buprenorphine, which was approved for clinical use in 2002. Medication-assisted treatment can help reduce recidivism and may help speed the detoxification process, accord. Read More

PA - Lawmakers Vow No Raid on Workers' Compensation Security Fund

By J. Todd Foster (Reporter)
09/21/2017 | 140 | 0 | 0 min read

Pennsylvania lawmakers won't be taking out another loan from the state's workers' compensation guaranty fund to help plug a $2 billion hole in the state's budget. Rep. Frank Ryan Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Palmyra, said Wednesday there will not be a repeat of the $165 million that was transferred from the Workers' Compensation Security Fund to the general fund last year to help cure similar budget woes. J.J. Abbott, press secretary to Gov. Tom Wolf, confirmed that the WCSF will not be tapped this year. In fact, House lawmakers on Sept. 13 passed a $2.2 billion . Read More

IL - Courts Determine Wet Pavement Is Not 'Hazardous Condition'

By Emily Brill (Reporter)
09/21/2017 | 124 | 0 | 0 min read

An employee who slipped and fell on wet pavement while walking to her car to take a lunch break is not eligible for workers' compensation benefits because she was not exposed to any greater risk than the general public would have been, the 2nd District Appellate Court of Illinois decided Tuesday. The court upheld the Circuit Court of Cook County's decision to deny benefits to Barbara Dukich. The circuit court's decision matched that of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, though the commission arrived at the ruling via a split decision. The commission had overturned . Read More


NY - Governor Appoints New Workers' Compensation Board Chair

09/21/2017 | 192 | 0 | 0 min read

Clarissa M. Rodriguez of Queens County has been appointed chair of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board to replace Kenneth Munnelly, who retired last week. Clarissa M. Rodriguez The board chair is appointed by the governor, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not issue a press release. Rodriguez’s appointment was confirmed by Joseph Cavalcante, the board’s assistant director of public information. Cuomo appointed Rodriguez as a board member in mid-2016 for a term that ends in 2022. She will make $120,800 a year as chair. “It is very encouraging to see that the gov. Read More

Column

IL - O'Gorman: Worker Needs to Show More Than Simply Being at Work to Get Benefits

By Timothy O’Gorman
09/21/2017 | 141 | 1 | min read

Herff Jones v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, 2017 IL App (4th) 160346WC-U again confirms that the Illinois courts have rejected the use of the “positional risk” doctrine in the state workers' compensation system. Timothy O'Gorman The claimant in Herff Jones alleged that WC benefits were owed for a right hand injury as a result of an alleged fall while at work. She testified initially that she believed her fall was caused by a rock she stepped on while taking a break and going on a walk on a normal city street with a co-worker. The clai. Read More

KS - No Work Disability Award for Employee Fired for Striking Supervisor

By WorkCompCentral
09/21/2017 | 120 | 0 | 0 min read

The Kansas Court of Appeals ruled that a meatpacking employee who was fired for striking her supervisor was not eligible for a work disability award for an injury that pre-dated the altercation. Case: Hernandez v. National Beef Packing Co., No. 117,351, 09/15/2017, unpublished. Facts: Yudid Hernandez began working for the National Beef Packing Co. in September 2009. She suffered a repetitive-trauma injury to her lumbar spine and filed an application for workers' compensation benefits in March 2014. In February 2015, Hernandez was involved in a physical altercation with her supervisor, R. Read More

Sulivan On Comp

MD - Worker's Disability Retirement Benefits Can't Be Offset From Comp Benefits

By WorkCompCentral
09/21/2017 | 94 | 0 | 0 min read

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that a former school teacher’s workers’ compensation benefits were not subject to an offset for the disability retirement benefits she was receiving through the state retirement and pension system for a different disabling condition. Case: Kinna v. Board of Education Baltimore County, No. 0337, 09/15/2017, unpublished. Facts and procedural history: Keavy Kinna worked as a teacher for the Board of Education of Baltimore County. In July 2014, Kinna filed an application for disability retirement benefits because of fibromyalgia. The. Read More

PA - Court Upholds Modification of Worker's Award, Resumption of TD Benefits

By WorkCompCentral
09/21/2017 | 128 | 0 | 0 min read

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania upheld the modification of an award of benefits to an injured worker based on his two periods of post-injury employment, as well as the resumption of total disability benefits after his last period of employment ended. Case: J. Conley & Sons Plumbing v. WCAB (Gainer), Nos. 883 and 884 C.D. 2016, 09/19/2017, unpublished. Facts and procedural history: Jesse Gainer injured himself in January 2013 while working for J. Conley & Sons Plumbing. A workers’ compensation judge found Gainer was totally disabled by the injury and t. Read More

WV - Clerical Worker Entitled to Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

By WorkCompCentral
09/21/2017 | 90 | 0 | 0 min read

A divided West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that a clerical worker was entitled to benefits for her carpal tunnel syndrome. Case: Casteel-Ellison v. New River Health Association, No. 16-0949, 09/15/2017, published. Facts: Debra Casteel-Ellison worked as a data-entry clerk for the New River Health Association. She filed a workers’ compensation claim after Dr. Whitney Boggs diagnosed her with carpal tunnel syndrome. A claims administrator denied the claim, since Casteel-Ellison had not undergone testing to establish the diagnosis. Casteel-Ellison underwent a nerve test in November 2014. Read More

MS - Testimony of Worker's Colleagues Was Sufficient Basis to Deny Claim

By WorkCompCentral
09/21/2017 | 93 | 0 | 0 min read

The Mississippi Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a worker’s claim for a back injury, based on the testimony of the worker’s colleagues contradicting his account of the accident. Case: Walker v. Kinder Morgan, No. 2016-WC-01415-COA, 09/19/2017, published. Facts: Christopher Walker had a long history of back problems before he began working for Kinder Morgan in September 2011. Walker claimed he never told Kinder Morgan about his prior back injuries though he was undergoing physical therapy when he started the job. In February 2015, Walker was involved in a non-work moto. Read More

MS - Worker's Inconsistencies in Reporting Alleged Injury Were Fatal to Claim

By WorkCompCentral
09/21/2017 | 94 | 0 | 0 min read

The Mississippi Court of Appeals upheld the denial of workers’ compensation benefits to a worker who delayed reporting his alleged injury to his employer and provided inconsistent accounts of his symptoms to his treating doctors. Case: Price v. MTD Products, No. 2016-WC-00925-COA, 09/19/2017, published. Facts: Timothy Price worked for MTD Products, a manufacturer of lawn equipment. His job duties included using a “tow motor” — a modified forklift — to pick up and transport boxes. But if the production line became backed up, Price would p. Read More

WA - L&I Proposes 2.5% Rate Cut

09/21/2017 | 94 | 0 | 0 min read

The Washington state Department of Labor and Industries on Wednesday recommended a 2.5% workers’ compensation rate cut for 2018. The department said the proposed rate cut comes about as a combined result of increased attention to workplace safety, as well as internal efforts to reduce long-term disability and get injured workers back on the job. “L&I has several initiatives underway that are lowering costs by focusing on better outcomes for injured workers,” the department said in a statement. “Some examples include promoting workplace safety, ensuring injured wor. Read More

TX - DWC Seeks Input on Designated Doctor Audits

09/21/2017 | 103 | 0 | 0 min read

The Division of Workers’ Compensation is asking stakeholders for help in developing a designated doctor plan-based audit to measure the quality of designated doctor reports and the necessity for additional testing or referrals to resolve claims. The proposed audit plan is here. Texas Labor Code §413.002 directs the agency to “monitor health care providers, insurance carriers, independent review organizations and workers’ compensation claimants who receive medical services to ensure the compliance of those persons with rules adopted by the commissioner relatin. Read More

NY - Former Insurance Broker Sentenced for Fraud

09/21/2017 | 152 | 0 | 0 min read

A former insurance broker has been sentenced to three to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to grand larceny and fraud. Kimberly Graziano Kimberly Graziano, 44, of Middle Island, also must pay $1.8 million in restitution to the victims she defrauded through her firm, K.A.G. Insurance Brokerage in Islandia. Most of the victims were cement truck fleet operators, towing companies and snow-removal businesses. They lost thousands of dollars in fines for operating without valid workers’ compensation coverage the firms believed they had purchased through Graziano, Suffolk County Di. Read More