This week in comp, September 30, 2016

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

Safety

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Older workers suffer fewer injuries, but they take longer to recover when they do get injured.

National Employ Older Workers Week is a chance to reflect on the safety and health needs of older workers
The number of people aged 55 years and older in the workforce grew from 15.5 million in 1994, to 23 million in 2004 to 33.9 million in 2014. Experts expect the number to hit 40.6 million by 2024. During National Employ Older Workers Week, the Department of Labor offered tips to help employers protect today’s multigenerational workforce from on-the-job injuries…MORE

OSHA increases scrutiny of whistleblower settlement agreements
OSHA announced new policy guidelines that provide enhanced scrutiny for whistleblower settlement terms that it views as restricting an individual’s right to engage in a protected activity, such as filing a complaint with a government agency, participating in a government investigation, or receiving an award under a government-sponsored whistleblower award program…MORE

Fraud

Interpreters sentenced in workers’ comp billing scam
A husband and wife who owned and operated a foreign-language interpreter firm have been sentenced to 90 days in jail for a fraudulent billing scheme. The firm’s interpreters accompanied Spanish-speaking workers’ comp claimants on doctors’ appointments. An investigation found that the couple billed for interpretive services where no medical providers submitted a bill, padded bills for services that were provided, and submitted bills for uncertified interpreters…MORE

Claims

New study explores claim trends among health care workers

OSHA is working to reverse the tend in workplace violence and strains/sprains among health care workers.

OSHA is working to reverse the tend in workplace violence and strains/sprains among health care workers.

A new study found that the severity of workers’ compensation claims in the health care industry has been increasing at a rate of 2 percent annually, but claim frequency is expected to decrease 1 percent annually. The report also speculated loss costs will increase 1 percent during the 2017 accident year…MORE

Texas Department of Insurance sets weekly benefit rates
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has set the state average weekly wage for dates of injury from Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017, at $912.69. TDI set the maximum weekly benefit rates for workers’ compensation income benefits at $913 and the minimum weekly benefit rate at $137 for that period.…MORE

Legislation

Comp world has eyes on ColoradoCare
Colorado’s Amendment 69, also known as ColoradoCare, would create a single-payer system for health care, including the care delivered to injured workers through the workers’ comp system. Amendment 69 proponents posit that ColoradoCare will better protect employers’ and injured workers’ interests. Opponents, including Colorado’s state-chartered workers’ compensation provider, stress that the workers’ compensation system is fundamentally a return-to-work system, not a health care system…MORE

Opioids

Employers’ role in reversing the opioid epidemic

A recent study found that one out of every three opioid prescriptions is being abused.

A recent study found that one out of every three opioid prescriptions is being abused.

Opioid abuse costs employers about $52 million per year in terms of lost productivity and health insurance. By addressing prescription medication abuse in their workplace drug policies, employers can help control the human and monetary costs of the opioid epidemic…MORE

Nation’s top painkiller prescriber charged with drug diversion
Federal prosecutors charged a former physician, who was the nation’s highest Medicare prescriber of opioid painkillers at the height of his practice, with illegally prescribing controlled substances and with health care fraud involving $9.5 million in unneeded and unused urine tests…MORE

Medical costs

What Medicare’s reimbursement changes mean for work comp
Congress’ new Medicare fee schedule will increase reimbursement 0.5% per year until 2019. The new schedule will affect workers’ compensation in the form of continued increases in reimbursement for cognitive services, office visits, physical therapy and similar services, according to Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters…MORE

 

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