News Archive


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Update on Medical Marijuana

03.20.2017

By: Tom Lynch

Yesterday, while attending WCRI’s Annual Conference in Boston, we wrote about the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) new research results concerning the effectiveness of  medical marijuana (cannabis) in the treatment of chronic pain. The NAS research concluded there is “conclusive support” that cannabis is effective with respect to chronic pain. A number of states are allowing cannabis to be employed in this regard.

However, marijuana is federally...
03.20.2017

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Formulary Implementation for Legacy Claims

03.20.2017

By: Karen Atkins

The Tennessee drug formulary has been deemed applicable to all dates of injury, including legacy claims. By legacy claims, I mean those claims where an injured worker was prescribed a certain drug or series of drugs well before the formulary implementation date. The concern with legacy claims is that the immediate cessation of drug use could have dangerous side effects. This prompted me to think more about formularies in general, and specifically the best way...
03.20.2017

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Is Mental Injury Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

03.20.2017

By: Robert Wilson 

Yesterday Peter Rousmaniere published a rather scathing opinion piece on this site accusing the insurance industry in general of intentionally misleading the federal government and others when it comes to mental injury claims. It was his position that workers’ compensation insurers are shirking their responsibilities in the area of mental health, and of being intentionally deceptive regarding the matter. While I personally agree that we are not meeting acceptable standards regarding certain...
03.20.2017

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Subrogation and the Admissibility of Expert Testimony

03.20.2017

By: Gary L. Wickert 

The use of expert witnesses has become an integral and indispensable aspect of American litigation, and it is often the side with the best expert who wins the day. The same holds true for subrogation files in which the subrogated carrier must invest in an expert to assist in meeting the plaintiff’s burden of proof. Experts can be expensive, so it is best to pick and choose an expert who will be...
03.20.2017

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Appraising the Grand Bargain

03.20.2017

At the 2017 WCRI Annual Issues and Research Conference, a panel debated the state of the workers’ compensation “grand bargain” in 2017. The panel was:

David Dietz, MD – David Dietz & Associates Dr. David Michaels – Milken Institute School of Public Health of George Washington University Dr. Emily Spieler – Northeastern University School of Law Bruce Wood – American Insurance Association

This session was conducted question and answer style:

Question: Why now are...
03.20.2017

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Trump Administration May Bring a Surge in Occupational Disease Claims

03.09.2017

Mesothelioma death rates remain high in the US even on the eve of an anticipated national ban of the asbestos fiber. Things may radically change for the worse as the Trump Administration goes forward with its announced intention to dismantle environmental regulation now in place and placed on-track for enactment during the former Obama Administration. With anticipated less EPA and OSHA regulation under the Trump administration, there is the potential for a serious surge of future ...
03.09.2017

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Recent Developments in Telemedicine in California Workers Compensation

03.09.2017

By: Michael P. Burns 

The past decade has seen an explosion in online access and improvements in technology. These changes have naturally resulted in changes in medicine. Smartphone applications and videoconferencing are methods by which business, and now medicine, is conducted. California’s workers compensation system is no stranger to these advancements. But what happens when technology is applied to the century-old workers' compensation system? Several recent cases outline the attempt to bring the system into...
03.09.2017

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Preventing the Vortex of Failure

03.09.2017

By: Lydia Hendrix, COO, NeuLife Rehabilitation

Those of us that have years of experience working with catastrophically injured individuals see the disturbing pattern time and time again…The patient presents to the trauma center with the initial injury and subsequently travels through a fragmented healthcare delivery system that all too often stops woefully short of meeting the individual’s long term needs.

While naturally there is significant focus on the early life-saving and acute...
03.09.2017

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Workers Compensation for Uber and Lyft Drivers

03.09.2017

By Ericka Murray

How many times this week have you grabbed your phone and requested a ride from a service such as Uber or Lyft?

Most people in urban areas have access to such services these days. Some people only use them for the occasional Saturday night out, and others use them daily to get to and from work.

It might surprise you to find out that your Uber driver has one of the most...
03.09.2017

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Advocating for our Industry

03.09.2017

By: Kimberly Brown, SVP Government Relations, Sedgwick

Sedgwick is proud to support the Association of Claims Professionals (ACP) to advance our industry and sustain future growth and positive outcomes. The companies that make up the ACP are leaders in the claims management industry and include independent claims adjusting companies and third party administrators. ACP companies respond every day to individuals and businesses who suffer a loss such as a workplace injury, property or casualty damage, or...
03.09.2017

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Clues to CMS Future Gleaned from WCRC Solicitation Notice

02.21.2017

By: Sidney Wong  

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) moved forward with requests for proposal regarding the Workers’ Compensation Review Contractor (WCRC) contract by releasing a full solicitation notice before the holidays. Because the request is for a five-year contract, the solicitation information can provide clues to CMS’s long-term strategy regarding Medicare Set-Asides (MSAs).

Insights into Liability Medicare Set-Asides change timeline

The CMS solicitation notice...
02.21.2017

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Cyber Risks for Public Entities

02.21.2017

At the 2017 PARMA Conference, a panel discussed cyber liability concerns for public entities. The panel was:

John Chino – Arthur J Gallagher Steven Robinson – Risk Placement Services, Inc. Elissa Doroff – XL Catlin

Common Patterns of Cyber /Claims:

Missing or stolen laptop or storage devices Mismailing Erroneous data posting Willful release based on fraudulent instruction (social engineering, Phishing), this is sometimes not covered under Cyber but instead crime Compromised system (hacking) Loss or theft of...
02.21.2017

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In the Weeds on Marijuana and Workers’ Compensation

02.21.2017

By: Darrell Brown, Chief Claims Officer, Sedgwick

It’s a topic that gets much buzz – how will the cloud of legislation surrounding recreational and medical marijuana use impact businesses, specifically when it comes to compensability for workers’ compensation? I am sure you have all caught up on news about additional states voting to legalize marijuana for medical use and adult recreational use during the Nov. 2016 election. Let’s take a look at those changes,...
02.21.2017

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Accelerated Justice Is Problematic on Appeal

02.20.2017

Workers' Compensation matters were intended by the legislature to be summary and remedial actions. Accelerated justice does have its consequences on appeal, and should be implemented prudently. In an effort to move case dockets at a quicker pace, New Jersey implemented an accelerated award procedure, "a trial on reports," that allowed for the disposition of cases at the pre-trial conference stage. It was to be utilized either by the consent of the parties where the only issue presented was...
02.20.2017

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FUN WITH TEMPORARY DISABILITY

02.20.2017

By: Cynthia K. Karlen

Despite much confusion, calculating temporary disability (TD) can be easy—and fun—if we keep a few simple rules in mind.

All employees receive the maximum Temporary Disability rate UNLESS there is documentation proving the employee is not a max earner. First, get a wage statement from the employer and determine if the applicant is a full time or part time employee. When was he/she hired? Are there...
02.20.2017

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What is Lost in the Debate Over Workers’ Compensation Reform?

02.02.2017

By: Robert Wilson

While perusing the news early this morning I came across several articles related to reforms pending or proposed in two key states. One such article was discussing potential reforms in a state dominated by a Republican governor and legislature; another was discussing a state with a Republican Governor but a legislature permanently controlled by Democrats. The former article was largely focused on the efforts of the state Chamber of Commerce to protect their members. The latter...
02.02.2017

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RICO Suits To Disappear As WC Bad Faith Claim

02.02.2017

Synopsis: RICO Claims To Disappear from U.S. Workers’ Comp World And Good Riddens.

Editor’s comment: If you don’t know, the Federal RICO concept was, in my opinion, created to stop Mafia folks from defrauding and extorting money from our citizens. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties...
02.02.2017

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The Biggest IL WC News In History That No One Is Reporting!

02.02.2017

Synopsis: The Biggest News in Illinois Workers’ Comp History No One is Reporting—I Assure You The IL Workers’ Comp Commission Is Set To Close Thirty Days From Today!

Editor’s comment: I had a reader tell me Illinois State Government appears to be filling in for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus that is soon to close. Everything that is happening in our state government...
02.02.2017

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Chesapeake Insurance Could be Starting a Trend in the Fight Against Opioid Addiction

02.02.2017

Chesapeake Employers Insurance Company, Maryland’s largest writer of workers’ comp insurance, has created a message kit for employers that is designed to help reduce opioid addiction. Information on the Chesapeake web page indicates that the kit is free. The kit promotes opioid use prevention and includes posters, flyers and tip sheets employers can post in break rooms and other places where employees gather. Per Chesapeake, 75 percent of injured workers are prescribed...
02.02.2017

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LIBERTY VERSUS TYRANNY: More States Pass Laws Outlawing Cell Phone Use While Driving

02.02.2017

By: Gary L. Wickert

Every year, more than 170 billion cell phone texts are sent and received. Each year, an average of 3,000 people die and 450,000 are injured in motor vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers. Ten percent of all drivers who are 15 to 19 years of age involved in fatal crashes were distracted when the accident occurred. The significant safety problem of distracted driving has grown exponentially over the past decade and has reached epidemic proportions.

Precisely which distractions are...
02.02.2017

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