PA - Partner Alleges Mismanagement in Complaint Seeking to Dissolve Pond Lehocky Firm
| 16 min read
The powerhouse claimants' firm of Pond, Lehocky, Stern, Giordano is in the headlines again after founding partner David Stern this week filed suit alleging Sam Pond has mismanaged the firm and tried to force Stern out.
Pond “manages the firm in a hypocritical fashion through fear and intimidation,” reads the complaint, filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. “As a result of certain imaginary complaints that Pond wrongly believed Stern had made toward him, Pond has gone on the warpath against Stern, attempting to make his life at the firm so untenable th...
NATL. - MedRisk: Physical Therapy Visits, Duration of Care on Decline
| 13 min read
The average number of physical therapy visits per case and the duration of physical therapy care is on the decline, according to a new industry trends report published by MedRisk.
The company, which provides managed physical medicine services for the workers’ compensation industry, said it saw an 11.9% reduction in the number of physical therapy visits per case from 2015 to 2018. The average of 14.3 visits per claim in 2015 fell to 12.7 in 2018, according to MedRisk’s 2019 industry trends report.
MedRisk attributed the decrease to factors including the use of evidence-based guide...
LA - 5th Circuit Applies LHWCA's Protections to Worker at Riverfront Storage Facility
| 24 min read
A federal appellate court ruled that a foreman at an oil and gas storage facility along the Mississippi River qualified as a maritime worker covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.
Case: International-Matex Tank Terminals v. OWCP, No. 18-60662, 11/25/2019, published.
Facts: International-Matex Tank Terminals owns an oil and gas storage facility on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Gretna, Louisiana. Although the facility is accessible by railroad and commercial truck, all products depart by ship, and most arrive by ship, too.
TX - Court Issues Revised Decision Upholding Dismissal of Tort Claim
| 34 min read
A Texas appellate court upheld the dismissal of a worker’s civil claim accusing an independent contractor of negligently causing an accident that resulted in the amputation of his leg.
Case: Sanchez v. Precision Drilling Co., No. 01-17-00913-CV, 12/05/2019, 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 w...
Press - Call for presentations for the 2020 NCSI Annual Meeting
The National Council of Self-Insurers' has supported the interests of workers' compensation self-insurers since 1946. We welcome speakers in a wide variety of topics that are geared towards the specific needs of our members. The theme for our 2020 conference is: How to build a better Self-Insurance Program.
Do you have an idea for a great presentation or have a subject matter that you would like covered that fits with our theme? If so, submit your proposals here!
All presentations must focus on ways for self-insured employers to improve the ...
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AL - Holden: Attorney Evaluation Remains Privileged
On Nov. 27, the Alabama Supreme Court released its opinion in Ex parte Dow Corning Alabama Inc., et al. In this case an employee was injured while working for Alabama Electric Co. Inc. The injury occurred at Dow Corning Corp., which sought to enforce an indemnification agreement that it alleged it had with the employer, Alabama Electric Co. Inc.
Also involved in the matter was Alabama Electric Co.'s insurance carrier, National Trust Insurance Co. Inc. Prior to the settlement, the Dow defendants demanded a defense and indemnification fr...
DE - Lack of Credibility Sinks Worker's WC Claim
| 20 min read
The Delaware Supreme Court upheld a denial of benefits to a former fast-food worker due to his lack of credibility.
Case: Powell v. OTAC Inc., No. 151, 2019, 12/04/2019, published.
Facts: Steven Powell worked for OTAC Inc. as a cook at a Hardee’s restaurant. On Nov. 4, 2016, Powell fell off of a curb outside his sister's home and landed on his right shoulder. He sought treatment at the emergency room and had an X-ray.
Sometime after this, Powell allegedly fell at work. He claimed he reported the accident immediately to a woman named Catherine and then went home beca...
NATL. - NCCI: Indemnity Benefits Keep Pace With Wage Growth in Most States
| 18 min read
Indemnity benefits on a wage-adjusted basis have kept pace with wage growth since 2000 in most of the states where the National Council on Compensation Insurance provides ratemaking services, according to a new report.
NCCI said that in many states, work comp indemnity benefits are tied to the injured worker’s average weekly wage. Therefore, as wages increase, workers’ compensation benefits are also expected to increase.
On a nominal basis, permanent partial disability benefits and temporary total disability benefits have increased by 50% to 100% in most states, NCCI reports. One...
MO - Department Approves 1.6% Drop in Loss Costs
| 55 min read
The Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance has agreed with a rating organization's recommendation for a 1.6% average decrease in loss costs for 2020.
The National Council on Compensation Insurance in August recommended the decrease for the voluntary and assigned risk markets. The cut is one of the smallest in the country this year and one of the smallest for Missouri in recent years.
While some states have seen decreases of as much as 19% for 2020, Missouri continues to face escalating medical costs, officials said.
“Missouri’s lost time claim frequency continues ...
TX - DWC Re-Adopts Range of Rules
| 18 min read
The Texas Division of Workers' Compensation announced this week that it has re-adopted all rules in the Texas Administrative Code, Chapters 102-116.
The regulations govern a wide range of areas, from communications with the division, rulemaking procedures, coverage for state employees, self-insurance and the subsequent injury fund. The division is required by law to review the regulations every four years, and the DWC said in a bulletin Tuesday that it had re-adopted the rules.
“DWC determined that the reasons for adopting the chapters continue to exist,” the bulletin fr...
Press - Athens Administrators Named #3 in Best Places to Work in Insurance
Michael Landa, Executive Vice President
Concord, CA, November 20, 2019 - Athens Administrators today announced it has been named third in the medium employer category in the annual Best Places to Work in Insurance program, which recognizes employers for their outstanding performance in establishing workplaces where employees can thrive, enjoy their work and help their companies grow.
Founded in 1976 Athens Administrators is a national third-party administrator of Workers' Compensation and...
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OK - Fee Schedule Changes to Be Posted Jan. 27, Commission Says
| 14 min read
If stakeholders are wondering what's happening with the Oklahoma medical fee schedule review, the Workers' Compensation Commission says it still has a few months to go before posting the fees.
“The process is not over yet,” the commission said in a notice posted this week.
In keeping with state law, the commission in August contracted with a consultant to analyze the fee schedule, and recommend changes. Fair Health Inc., a consulting firm, has been busy comparing fees and maximum allowable rates to other states' schedules and has received comments on the system, the c...
NATL. - EFI Global Acquires Destek Engineering
| 1 min read
Sedgwick subsidiary EFI Global Inc. acquired Destek Engineering, a provider of forensic engineering and investigation services for the property and casualty industries as well as the U.S. telecommunications sector.
EFI said in a statement that Destek’s forensic engineers will help address a growing need for structural engineering services in the eastern U.S.
Destek’s engineers are licensed in 49 states plus the District of Columbia, providing engineering and risk management services for projects associated with insurance carriers, loss adjusting firms, and wireless and telec...
NATL. - Orchid Medical Announces New Vice President of Business Development
| 2 min read
Ancillary medical management and cost-containment firm Orchid Medical on Thursday announced Kelly Noonan as its new vice president of business development for the Midwest.
In her new position, Noonan will be responsible for increasing sales and growing revenue, as well as improving client relations in the Midwest.
Noonan has more than 25 years of experience in the work comp market, most recently as a senior sales manager for MyMatrixx, focusing on pharmacy benefit management and ancillary services.
Before that, she was the regional account manager with the Universal SmartComp, a ph...
CO - Ski and Ride School Workers Most at Risk on the Slopes
| 10 min read
With an early start to Colorado's ski season, state-chartered Pinnacol Assurance reviewed its claims data and found ski and ride school workers were found most at risk of being injured on the slopes.
Pinnacol reports ski and ride instructors suffered 67 injuries during the 2018-2019 ski season. The carrier said this is the largest group of employees at most ski resorts, and the average instructor spends four to six hours per shift on the snow, longer than most others.
The most frequent injury causes include:
Falls on ice or snow.
Falls (same level).
MA - Report Shows High Number of Comp Claims From Violence Against Health Care Workers
| 12 min read
A new study by the Massachusetts Department of Health shows that health care continues to be one of the most dangerous types of work in the state, and violence against health workers is one of the leading causes of injuries.
The report, which says it took an unprecedented look at Massachusetts workers' compensation claims data, gives fresh ammunition to nurses who have been calling for state and federal legislation aimed at protecting health workers from attacks by patients, family members and people who are mentally ill.
“Every facility needs to have a plan to protect workers,&rdq...