Seven Seconds!

According to a recent article by CBS news, on average a worker is hurt in our country every seven seconds!  The article, based primarily on a report from a major worker’s compensation insurance company (Travelers), reveals that injuries happen in all professions and to all ages and types of workers.

Interestingly, according to the article (What Happens Every 7 Seconds: A Workplace Injury), about one-quarter of work injuries occur in an employee’s initial year of work.

WIth this volume of injuries across all industries, disputes are bound to occur over the existence of the injury, the extent of a worker’s disability, and whether permanent limitations are necessary.  Disputes also are endemic in a system primarily involving for-profit insurance companies (as well as rising medical costs).

The key is that every seven seconds a work injury happens–meaning every seven seconds a claim could be denied and attorney involvement required.     

 

Menards Agrees to Work Law Changes After Violations

Check out this article about the large Wisconsin home improvement retailer, Menards, and their previous disregard of workers’ rights: Menards Promises Changes After Violations of Federal Labor Laws.

As other stories have outlined,the company’s handbook allegedly threatened penalties for supervisors if they managed stores that unionized.  These tactics show the (sometimes extreme) lengths some employers may go at the expense of their workers.

Need Joint Replacement and on Medicare? Better Not Be Sick.

Having a lung ailment may make it more difficult to obtain coverage for joint replacement.

A new Medicare rule that took effect April 1, 2016 retools Medicare payments for hip and knee replacements.  Patients with serious medical conditions such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and lung ailments may not be able to find an orthopaedic surgeon willing to perform the joint replacement because hospitals face financial incentives to avoid patients with a high risk of complications. 

Hospitals will be given a “target price” for total joint replacements for the patient’s entire care from the hospital stay to outpatient rehabilitation through 90 days after discharge, according to a new rule from the Center for Medicare Services.  If the reimbursement is less than the target price, the hospital may receive an additional payment from Medicare as an incentive for good outcomes.  On the other hand, the hospital may be required to pay back part of their reimbursement that goes above the target.  The rule is intended to control costs on the $7 Billion Medicare spends for hospital care and for almost one-half million beneficiaries who receive a hip or knee replacement each year.  However, since Medicare will pay only one “bundled payment” for the patient’s entire care after total joint replacement surgery, the hospital will be accountable for the quality of care through the incentives and penalties.  The surgeon shares responsibility when a patient is re-admitted to the hospital and receives a “black mark” even when the re-admission has nothing to do with the joint replacement.  An unintended consequence of this payment model may be “cherry picking” of low risk patients.  Patients claiming a work-related connection to joint replacement surgery who have been denied by Medicare may face additional hurdles in obtaining their surgery. 

Stay tuned…

The Security of Metadata in Workers’ Compensation Claims

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from workers-compensation.blogspot.com

Confidentiality is a crucial element in workers’ compensation matters and the removal of metadata in electronically transmitted documents are a critcal factor in the process of maintaining the level of security embraced by the system. Metadata is all hidden data in a PDF file, including text, metadata, annotations, form fields, attachments, and bookmarks.

"….Metadata is loosely defined as "data about data." More specifically, the term refers to the embedded stratum of data in electronics file that may include such information as who authored a document, when it was created, what software was used, any comments embedded within the content, and even a record of changes made to the document.

"While metadata is often harmless, it can potentially include sensitive, confidential, or privileged information. As such, it presents a serious concern for attorneys charged with maintaining confidentiality — both their own and their clients. Professional responsibility committees at several bar associations around the country have weighed in on attorneys’ ethical responsibilities regarding metadata, but the opinions vary significantly. Source: The American Bar Association
The NJ Supreme Court announced yesterday, in an Administrative Determination, that all documents in electronic format should be "scrubbed" of metadata.

"The Court addressed an important ethical question raised by New Jersey practitioners in the context of their contemporary…

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Kids’ Chance is a Family That Changes Lives

Today’s post was shared by WC CompNewsNetwork and comes from www.workerscompensation.com

This is a great article about Kids Chance. I’m one of the founding members of Kids Chance of WI, providing scholarships to children of severely injured parents in Wisconsin.

I spent last Friday and Saturday in Little Rock, Arkansas, attending the annual convention of Kids’ Chance, an organization that provides scholarships and secondary education opportunities for children who have had a parent seriously injured or killed on the job. The group that gathers for this event each year are primarily volunteers from the 33 state Kids’ Chance chapters and 3 affiliate organizations, along with representatives of the national organization and interested parties. This is my second time attending. There is one thing you learn very quickly at a Kids’ Chance event; Kids’ Chance is family, and it is a family that is changing lives.

This is a grassroots, volunteer organization, a group whose members work vociferously towards a successful end goal – "More money for more kids". In its almost 30 year history, Kids’ Chance has issued well over 5,000 scholarships totaling around $16 Million. Just as impressively, the group has doubled in size over the last 4 years, growing From 19 states to the current 36. Two of the country’s most populated states, Florida and Texas, just formed chapters, and simply by population size they should have significant impact on those numbers in coming years.

If you spent a day with the KC veterans from around the nation you would quickly understand my assessment of them as “family”. They are passionate volunteers joined by a common cause. They refer to their scholarship recipients as their “kids”. And…

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Workers’ Compensation Reforms by State

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from projects.propublica.org.

Scary stuff for injured workers in Wisconsin around out country…

Over the past decade, states across the country have been unwinding a century-old compact with America’s workers: A guarantee that if you are injured on the job, your employer will pay your medical bills and enough of your wages to help you get by. In all, 33 states have passed laws that reduce benefits, create hurdles to getting medical care or make it more difficult to qualify for workers’ comp." Related Story »

Ever filed for workers’ comp? Help ProPublica investigate.

Methodology

Over the past 10 months, ProPublica has analyzed reams of insurance industry data, studied arcane state laws, and interviewed hundreds of workers, businesses, attorneys, policymakers, doctors and insurance experts. Journalists obtained often confidential medical and court records and reported on the ground in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

To track the impact of the reforms nationwide for this graphic, ProPublica assigned a starting value for each state by combining a ranking of average statutory benefits conducted by Actuarial & Technical Solutions of Bohemia, N.Y., and a report from the U.S. Department of Labor that monitored how many recommendations of a 1972 presidential commission on workers’ comp that each state was following. ProPublica then analyzed state reform laws, using data from the National Council on Compensation Insurance Annual Statistical Bulletin, which rates the effects of legislation on benefit payments. In addition, ProPublica…

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Paid Family Leave and $15 Minimum Wage Coming to New York

Today’s post was shared by Workers Comp News and comes from www.jdsupra.com

New York has enacted legislation that, over the next several years, will phase in 12 weeks of paid family leave for all employees, as well as a $15 minimum wage in New York City and other parts of New York State.

PAID FAMILY LEAVE

The paid family leave provisions were enacted as an amendment to the temporary disability provisions of New York’s Workers’ Compensation Law. New York’s temporary disability law provides partial wage replacement during an absence due to an employee’s own (non-work-related) medical condition. Paid family leave complements temporary disability by providing partial wage replacement when an employee is absent from work to care for a family member.

Just like temporary disability in New York, paid family leave is an insurance-style program that will be funded entirely through a nominal weekly payroll deduction. Employers will not be required to fund paid family leave.

Benefit Amount and Length of Leave

Both the benefit amount and maximum length of paid family leave will gradually increase between 2018 and 2021. Beginning January 1, 2018, an eligible employee may take up to 8 weeks of paid family leave within any 52-week calendar period and will receive 50% of his or her average weekly wage or 50% of the state average weekly wage, whichever is lower. On January 1, 2019, it increases to 10 weeks of leave and 55% of the employee’s average weekly wage, not to exceed 55% of the state average weekly wage. On January 1, 2020, it…

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FL Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument on Constitutionality of Workers’ Compensation

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from workers-compensation.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 Daniel Stahl v Hialeah Hospital, et al., SC15-725 statewide – starts about 9:00 a.m.

Mr. Stahl, a nurse who was injured while working at Hialeah Hospital, filed a claim for benefits under Florida’s workers’ compensation law but was denied the benefits he believed were appropriate. He challenged the constitutionality of the law, pointing to its failure to provide benefits for workers who are permanently and partially disabled from on-the-job injuries. The First District Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of the workers’ comp law and this appeal followed.

Video Portal: Florida Supreme Court Online Video Portal

Florida Supreme Court DocketCase DocketCase Number: SC15-725 – Active DANIEL STAHL vs. HIALEAH HOSPITAL, ET AL.Lower Tribunal Case(s): 1D14-3077, 04-022489

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