This week in comp, September 16, 2016

This week in comp is a weekly digest of workers’ compensation news from around the country.


OSHA issues two new temporary worker guidance documents

OSHA requires staffing agencies and host employers to share responsibility for keeping temporary workers safe.

OSHA recommends staffing agencies and host employers  share responsibility for keeping temporary workers safe.

OSHA has issued new guidance documents that provide tips for protecting temporary workers from bloodborne pathogens and powered industrial truck hazards. The documents are part of OSHA’s initiative to reverse injury trends among temporary workers…MORE

Worker burned by hot grease when restaurant floor collapses
A worker at a fast-food chicken restaurant near Houston suffered burns over 65 percent of her body when a damaged floor collapsed and caused dozens of gallons of boiling grease from nearby fryers to spill. The incident underscores the importance of keeping workplaces in good condition and repairing damage as soon as possible…MORE


Berkshire accused of stealing workers’ comp premiums
A complaint filed in New York accuses Berkshire Hathaway of executing a reverse Ponzi scheme on consumers. The complaint states victims of the scheme are led to believe their capital is being paid into protected cells and will eventually be returned to them. Instead, it is siphoned off through an unregistered Hawaiian entity, leaving New York employers and injured workers without the funds required by New York State to cover losses related to worker injuries…MORE

Man accused of stealing dead person’s worker’s compensation checks
A Florida man is facing a charge of organized fraud in connection with the alleged theft of $20,000 in workers’ compensation checks for a Melbourne man who died in January 2015…MORE

Opioid epidemic

Texas closed formulary reduces costs, opioid use

Texas’ closed formulary requires prior approval before a doctor can prescribe certain drugs, also known as N drugs.

Texas’ closed formulary requires prior approval before a doctor can prescribe certain drugs, also known as N drugs.

Texas’ closed formulary has contributed to a 15 percent drop in total drug costs, an 80 percent drop in N-drug costs and an 81 percent drop in prescriptions for N-drug opioids, according to a Texas Department of Insurance report…MORE

Cost of opioid misuse treatment services grew 1,000% over four years
Between 2011 and 2015, professional charges for services provided to opioid abusive or dependent patients grew from $71.66 million to 721.80 million, a 1,000 percent increase. The two most expensive groups of billable codes researchers found for those diagnosed with opioid abuse were for emergency department services…MORE

Drugs in U.S. workplaces hit highest level in decade
Following years of decline, the percentage of employees in the combined U.S. workforce testing positive for drugs has steadily increased over the last three years to a 10-year high, according to a new report. The report did show a decline in positive tests for certain prescription opiates but an increase in positive tests for heroin…MORE


A.M. Best special report: Workers’ comp has likely entered soft market

During a soft market, competition among carriers increases and pricing decreases.

In a soft market, competition among carriers increases, and pricing decreases.

Rate declines that began in the first quarter of 2015 persisted through the second quarter of 2016 and ushered the workers’ compensation market into the soft phase of its cycle, according to a new report by A.M. Best. The report also notes that in 2015, seven of the 18 state funds had market shares of at least 50 percent in their respective states, and each ranked first in its state based on direct premiums written…MORE


Uber-like video service lets adjusters assess damage from their desks
Uber’s ride-sharing model has infiltrated the insurance industry. A new service allows insurance adjusters to get videos of losses without leaving their desks. The videos are supplied by an Uber-like network of 64,000 contracted smartphone users called Droperators…MORE

Regulatory roundup

Oklahoma Supreme Court declares opt out unconstitutional
Oklahoma’s opt out law is an unconstitutional “special law” that creates impermissible, unequal, disparate treatment for injured workers, according to a ruling by the state’s Supreme Court. The ruling leaves Texas as the only state that allows employers to opt out of the workers’ compensation system…MORE



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