This Week in Comp, June 19, 2015

Texas Mutual kicks off safe driving campaign
Safe Hand Kickoff
A safe driving roundtable and a defensive driving course conducted by Woody Hill headlined our annual safe driving campaign kickoff event in McAllen this week…MORE

Workers’ compensation eyes telemedicine as treatment option
Telemedicine could deliver more than $6 billion a year in health care savings to U.S. companies, but only if the technology is widely-adopted, according to a report by Towers Watson. A Texas Department of Insurance study found two areas of the Texas workers’ compensation system that could benefit from telemedicine: the designated doctor and spinal surgery second opinion processes…MORE

Ruling that drivers are employees upends Uber business model
Is Uber responsible for ensuring its drivers’ personal vehicles are road-ready? Does the company have to provide workers’ compensation coverage for drivers in case they get injured behind the wheel? Those are just two questions muddying up Uber’s business model after a California court ruled it must treat its drivers as employees, not contractors…MORE

Liberty Mutual shedding its workers’ comp roots
With increasing medical costs and changing state regulations squeezing its profits, Liberty Mutual is pulling back from the workers’ comp market. The company will focus on more-profitable portions of its business, such as safety consulting and managing the claims and paperwork for companies that insure themselves for workers’ comp…MORE

NIOSH proposes additions to hazardous drug list
NIOSH has proposed that 33 new drugs, along with three others that have safe-handling recommendations from the manufacturer, be added to the agency’s hazardous drug list for health care settings in 2016…MORE

Major medical chain pleads guilty, repays Texas Mutual $6.5 million
Handcuff FraudAccording to court documents, Texas Mutual’s investigation revealed that Nova Healthcare Management, also known as Nova Medical Centers, or Nova, overbilled Texas Mutual for physical therapy by billing services as more expensive one-on-one physical therapy when what it provided was group therapy…MORE

Regulatory roundup
Texas Mutual’s weekly roundup of EHS news…MORE

Slow growth in Texas workers’ compensation claims, says WCRI study

Costs per claim in Texas grew 2.5 percent per year from 2008 to 2013, among the slowest growth in a 17-state study conducted by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute. Medical payments per claim,  however, grew about 4 percent per year, just slightly faster than the typical state. Study authors speculate that the data reflects, at least in part, the results of House Bill 7, passed by the Legislature in 2005. Containing medical costs was one of the bill’s objectives…MORE

Study: Agencies that use technology experience more growth
MoneytrendA new study shows that insurance agencies that use technology in sales and marketing, managing customer relationships and other sales processes sell 43 percent more policies per producer than agencies that rely less heavily on technology…MORE

Texas Mutual rolls out network provider app
The app makes it easy for injured workers covered by the Texas Star Network to locate a network provider, access their prescription card and find a pharmacy…MORE

California comp premium soared 11% in 2014
IncreaseThe increase reflects growth in average premium rates and covered payroll, as California’s economy continued its recent return to health following the deep recession starting in 2008. Volume at State Compensation Insurance Fund skyrocketed more than 37 percent last year, to nearly $1.53 billion…MORE

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