This week in comp, September 2, 2016

This week in comp is a weekly digest of workers’ compensation news.

Safety

Temporary worker safety: A shared responsibility

OSHA's temporary worker initiative includes free resources for preventing workplace accidents.

OSHA’s temporary worker initiative includes free resources for preventing workplace accidents.

Employers increasingly hire temporary workers to cut costs, lower liability and fill needed slots when permanent help isn’t unavailable. Unfortunately, temporary workers are more likely to get injured, according to an expert who spoke at a national safety conference this week. OSHA expects host employers and staffing agencies to share responsibility for keeping temporary workers safe…MORE

Prevent hot car deaths
Of the 755 children who have died in hot cars since 1990, 55 percent were unknowingly left behind. Manufacturers are introducing technology that can help reduce these tragedies, but there are also low-tech option parents can use…MORE

Fraud

Charges target 16 in ‘massive’ $175M insurance fraud scheme
A federal court has charged 16 conspirators involved in a massive compound medication scheme that generated more than $175,000,000 in criminal proceeds. The conspirators face from five to 25 years in prison, along with fines ranging from $250,000 to 500,000…MORE

Former claims examiner sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for taking bribes

Contrary to popular belief, workers' compensation fraud is not a victimless crime.

Statistics show insurance fraud is not a victimless crime.

Perry Rowell, a former senior claims examiner at the Department of Labor’s Office of Worker’s Compensation Program (DOL/OWCP), was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of bribery received by a public official. A former DOL/OWCP claims supervisor who now represents claimants before the OWCP paid Rowell $24,000 in brides over a two-year period. In exchange, Rowell expedited claim payments and decisions…MORE

Claims

Nonprofits provide a helping hand for return-to-work
Employers who bring injured workers back to the team under modified duty can increase productivity and reduce costs. But what happens if modified duty isn’t an option? Some employers allow injured workers to contribute their time to nonprofits until they can return to work…MORE

WCRI study shows variations in hospital outpatient care costs across states

Texas was one of 33 states included in a WCRI study of outpatient care costs.

Texas was one of 33 states included in a WCRI study of outpatient care costs.

Hospital outpatient payments per surgical episode varied significantly across states in 2014, ranging from 69 percent below the study-state median in New York to 142 percent above the study-state median in Alabama, according to a new study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute…MORE

Opioid epidemic

FDA issues new labeling requirements for opioids, benzodiazepine
The Food and Drug Administration has issued new labeling requirements that warn consumers about the dangers of mixing opioids and benzodiazepine. The new requirements, part of the FDA’s Opioids Action Plan, will affect approximately 400 products. Between 2004 and 2011, overdose deaths involving both classes of drugs nearly tripled…MORE

Houston Doctor accused of running illegal pain clinic

K2

Synthetic drugs such as K2 are chemically made versions of legal drugs that are slightly altered to avoid being classified as illegal.

Houston doctor Melanie Mencer-Parks is accused of running an illegal pain management clinic. When patients arrived at Parks’ Synergy Medical and Wellness Group office, a staff member met them in the parking lot to collect cash payments before ushering them inside, according to court documents…MORE

Synthetic drugs evade detection
Standard drug tests typically detect marijuana, heroin and other traditional drugs. But there is a new class of drugs, called synthetic drugs, that does not show up in traditional tests. That’s why employers should learn to recognize the signs of abuse…MORE

Technology

In claims, all roads lead to innovation
Virtual reality and the Internet of Things are just two examples of how claims departments are leveraging technology to improve efficiency, effectiveness and customer experience…MORE

Cybersecurity ‘has to be everyone’s problem,’ says former NYPD commissioner
There are four primary catastrophic events that can impact business, according to Ray Kelly, the New York Police Department’s longest-serving commissioner. Kelly says all four involve cyber security…MORE

The best of the rest

Opposing sides file briefs in challenge to Oklahoma’s work comp opt-out
In 2013, Oklahoma legislators passed a law allowing employers to opt out of the workers’ comp system. The law requires opt-out employers to provide alternative benefit plans equal to or better than comp. An employee whose work-related injury was denied as a pre-existing condition by an alternative plan is now challenging the law…MORE

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