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Paduda: What's in the Inbox?

By Joe Paduda

Monday, November 4, 2019 | 264 | 0 | min read

The inbox has been stuffed with important new research and news. Here’s what most interested me.

Joe Paduda

Joe Paduda

Work comp

Perhaps the best annual summary of the state of the workers’ comp world is just off the press. The National Academy of Social Insurance’s report is here, free to download. 

NASI’s latest finds:

  • Employers’ costs have fallen from just over $1.50 per $100 of covered wages in 1997 to $1.25 in 2017.
  • Worker benefits decreased even more, from $1.17 20 years ago to $0.80 per $100 of covered wages in 2017.

My takeaway: Workers are getting less in benefits than they have in the past, and that’s a bad thing. It is great that employers’ costs are declining, but that shouldn’t be at the expense of injured workers and their families.

The fine folks at the California Workers' Compensation Institute published their latest research on utilization review in the Golden State. Despite what some on the applicant attorney side argue, results show that 94.1% of services performed or requested from Jan. 1, 2018, to Oct. 31, 2018, were either approved (92.5%) or approved with modifications (1.6%).

Yup, 17 out of 18 services were approved. 

WCRI’s annual conference returns to Boston — register here — now, or risk missing out, as the event fills up every year. Don’t be one of these people.

Check out the Workers Compensation Research Institute's upcoming webinar on medical prices paid and work comp fee schedules. Lots of great information on facility costs, the biggest problem (outside of opioids) in work comp today.

Drugs

From Alan Fein at DrugChannels, a most excellent video by John Oliver on everything you should know about compounding pharmacies. You gotta watch this. Can you believe Oliver actually knows about stuff we work comp pharmacy nerds think about?

The video is both hysterically funny and terrifying. Watch it.

From the funny to the deadly serious: If you haven’t read Gary Anderberg’s most recent GB Journal, you likely don’t know this:

Research showed that “57% of those who died from opioid-related deaths had at least one prior workplace MSD (musculoskeletal disorder).

I’ve long opined that the opioid industry has done horrendous damage to the work comp industry, injured workers, taxpayers and employers. Gary’s reporting shows it is even worse than we thought.

When are you going to hold the opioid industry accountable for its criminal actions?

That’s it for now. For those attending the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference Expo this week in Las Vegas, make sure to say thanks and farewell to Peter Rousmaniere and Roberto Ceniceros. These gentlemen are both retiring, and our industry will be much the worse for it.

I’ve known them both for decades, learned much from them and deeply respect their contributions to our industry. They’ve certainly earned a respite. Here’s hoping Peter and Roberto weigh in from time to time. Their wisdom and experience are irreplaceable.

I won’t be there; family vacation in Zion, Utah. With three grown kids, we have to work around their schedules, proving once again that I am completely not in control of anything.

Joseph Paduda is co-owner of CompPharma, a consulting firm focused on improving pharmacy programs in workers’ compensation. This column is republished with his permission from his Managed Care Matters blog.

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