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Workers’ Compensation

Opioid spending in comp continues to decline

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Workers compensation pharmacy costs continued to decline during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a steady reduction in opioid use, according to data released Wednesday by CompPharma LLC. The Maggie Valley, North Carolina-based consulting company for pharmacy benefits managers surveyed those managing prescriptions for injured workers and found that despite reports of increased opioid use among workers comp patients during the…

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Early therapy benefits back injury outcomes in comp

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Early manual therapy for injured workers with lower back pain is associated with lower utilization of medical services, lower medical and indemnity payments, and shorter disability, according to a study released Tuesday by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute. Using data from 18 study states, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based institute examined outcomes of manual therapy, which it describes as a type of…

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Comp pays more than group health on similar medical services

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Workers compensation insurers pay more for medical services than that of group health to treat comparable injuries, according to a research report released Friday by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. In examining the workers comp experiences from NCCI’s medical data call, which captures transaction‐level detail — service, charges, payments, procedure codes and diagnosis codes — on medical bills processed…

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Former Glen Carbon police officer alleges retaliation for workers’ compensation claim over COVID-19 cleaning chemicals

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A former Glen Carbon police officer alleges he was fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim after suffering respiratory problems from the COVID-19 fogger disinfectant used in Village buildings. Bronson Painter filed a complaint Aug. 20 in the Madison County Circuit Court against Village of Glen Carbon, IL., Todd A. Link, individually and in his official capacity alleging violation of…

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Perspectives: Pandemic reshapes workers comp line

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The aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for years to come in the workers compensation industry, as its impact on jobs, wages and workers will continue to shape the evolution of the line. Since the start of the pandemic, the workers compensation system has dealt with myriad changes. Some have ultimately been positive, some have placed — or…

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‘Long COVID’ presents comp conundrum

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Long-term health issues following a COVID-19 diagnosis will likely affect workers compensation claims acceptance, management and disability indefinitely, experts say. Under the catch-all phrase “long COVID,” symptoms include fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, joint or muscle pain, and difficulty concentrating. At least one study (see box) found 55 possible long-term effects of COVID-19. “Navigating a patient through long COVID…

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Why You Shouldn’t Bet Blindly on Uber or Lyft

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Just when it looks like litigators are finally ready to leave companies like Uber Technologies and Lyft alone, POW! These outfits and their investors get blindsided. On Friday, Aug. 20, a California state judge ruled that Proposition 22 is unconstitutional. Prop 22, which was approved by the state’s voters in November, allows Uber and Lyft drivers to remain contractors rather…

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Long COVID creates uncertainty for workers’ compensation claims

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It’s been about 10 months since Kary Martin caught COVID-19 from a patient who had a false negative. And since then, she hasn’t worked. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin served primarily as a respiratory therapist in a newborn intensive care unit. But with her skills in high demand as more and more COVID patients flooded the Sacramento-based hospital where…

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Illinois Cooperative Faces $303K in Fines, Cited for Grain-Handling Violations

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A central Illinois grain-handling cooperative exposed workers to serious engulfment hazards when soybeans collapsed inside a Monticello bin and engulfed an employee up to their waist, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleges. An OSHA investigation by the at Topflight Grain Cooperative Inc. found that two workers were clearing the bin of crops and debris when…

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