Archive for March, 2012
David Williams has posted Health Wonk Review: Supreme Court week edition at at Health Business Blog – it’s a good way to keep up on what’s happening in the health care world that may affect your workers comp business. Plus, David’s blog is always an interesting read.
More news we’ve noted
- AIG Exits Workers Compensation As Comp Medical Issues Grow
- 1992 Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien joins concussion class action suit against NFL
- Farmers Union Cooperative Supply sentenced for grain elevator death of employee
- Gov. Scott quietly signs state worker drug testing into law
- Workplace Stress Can Make You Sick
- 911 Dispatchers Suffer PTS Symptoms from Indirect Exposure to Traumatic Events
- Violence victimizes claimants and employers
- MetLife study: Up to 31 million people ages 44-70 want “encore careers”
- Training program teaches hand signals for miners during emergencies
- Lawyers Add Net Benefit to Work Comp Claims
- NAIC Clarifies Role: It Is Not a Regulator
- How to maintain physician professionalism in social media
- When drafting harassment policies, don’t forget about disabilities
And some resources of note:
- What’s Wrong with this photo?
- WCGuru Blog
- The Workers Comp Gazette
- OSHA Law Update
- NIOSH Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Fact Sheet: Warehousing and Storage (NAICS 493)
- eLCOSH free use construction safety & health images
Here’s a quick summary. In a 50 state overview, there were no “A” students.
The State Integrity Investigation is a $1.5 million public collaborative project designed to expose practices that undermine trust in state capitols — and spotlight the states that are doing things right. It describes itself as “an unprecedented, data-driven analysis of each state’s laws and practices that deter corruption and promote accountability and openness. Experienced journalists graded each state government on its corruption risk using 330 specific measures. The Investigation ranked every state from one to 50. Each state received a report card with letter grades in 14 categories, including campaign finance, ethics laws, lobbying regulations, and management of state pension funds.”
Click on the U.S. map to see your state’s corruption risk report card. No states scored an “A.” New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, California, and Nebraska scored in the “B” range. Eight states flunked, scoring 60% or less: Michigan, North Dakota, South Carolina, Maine, Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Georgia. All the remaining states were “C” and “D” students, with our home state of Massachusetts scoring a lackluster 74%, coming in at 10th “best” overall.
How did the insurance departments score?
As citizens, both corporate and private, we find the whole report fairly intriguing, but for the purposes of this blog, we were particularly interested in the ratings for State Insurance Commissions. PropertyCasualty360’s Mark Ruquet did a good analysis of this in his article 16 State Insurance Commissions Fail Integrity Evaluation.
The state Insurance Commissions were evaluated on these questions:
- Is the state insurance commission protected from political and special interest influence?
- Does the state insurance commission have sufficient capacity to carry out its mandate?
- Are there conflicts of interest regulations covering members of the board and senior staff of the state insurance commission?
- Are the conflicts of interest regulations covering members of the board and senior staff of the state insurance commission effective?
- Can citizens access the asset disclosure records of the state insurance commission?
- Does the state insurance commission publicly disclose documents filed by insurance companies?
One of the things we like about the map and the site is that you can keep drilling down. Click your state, then click a specific category – such as “State Insurance Commissions,” “Ethics Enforcement Agencies” or “Public Access to Information” and then click again to see the specific areas that were evaluated. Click any one of those criteria to see how the score was derived, and click again for further detail. You can also read or submit comments. On each individual state page, there is also a narrative story behind the score and a running list of related news articles.
We’ll be spending some time exploring the site further, but our first reaction is positive and we applaud the effort: we love sunlight when it comes to the public good and think it benefits everyone. We’d love to hear reactions about how accurate or inaccurate readers think reports are relative to their own state scores.
Today, we slip back in time to 1925 and put on our Flash Gordon glasses to speculate about the future, a time when a doctor not only “sees what is going on in the patient’s room by means of a television screen” but also employs a robotic-like instrument called the Teledactyl (Tele, far; Dactyl, finger — from the Greek) to “feel at a distance.”
This image and the story comes from a delightful Smithsonian blog called Paleofuture in a post entitled Telemedicine Predicted in 1925. The post discusses an article by Hugo Gernsback that appeared in the February, 1925 issue of Science and Invention. You can read more about the intriguing robotoic Teledactyl device and Gernsback’s predictions for medicine of the future.
Fast forward to 2010, and we see how remarkably prescient Mr. Gernsback’s predictions were. Courtesy of a blog comment by Christoph Hadnagy, we find this link to a New York Times story on Denmark Leads the Way in Digital Care, in which 77-year old patient Jens Danstrup talks about what it’s like to be a telemedicine patient:
“You see how easy it is for me?” Mr. Danstrup said, sitting at his desk while video chatting with his nurse at Frederiksberg University Hospital, a mile away. “Instead of wasting the day at the hospital?”
He clipped an electronic pulse reader to his finger. It logged his reading and sent it to his doctor. Mr. Danstrup can also look up his personal health record online. His prescriptions are paperless — his doctors enters them electronically, and any pharmacy in the country can pull them up. Any time he wants to get in touch with his primary care doctor, he sends an e-mail message.
All of this is possible because Mr. Danstrup lives in Denmark, a country that began embracing electronic health records and other health care information technology a decade ago.
Adoption of Electronic Health Records in the US
The Centers for Disease Control issues an annual survey on the use of electronic health records in physician’s offices. Last year, partly bolstered by meaningful use incentives in the Affordable Care Act, use grew by 6%. Dr. Elliot King blogs on the EHR increase, noting that:
“In 2011, 57 percent of office-based doctors used electronic medical records/electronic health records (EMR/EHR), according to the CDC. That number compares to the 50.7 percent of physicians’ offices using EMR/EHR’s in 2010 and 48.3 percent in 2009.”
Some physicians are also taking to telemedicine via Skype, FaceTime and other video conferencing services. In Doctors who Skype: Renegades or Heroes?, Jean Riggle looks at the pros and cons of video chat as used by physicians. She notes that there currently aren’t any guidelines for electronic communication between physicians and patients and there there are several important questions yet to be solved:
- How can these chats be integrated into the patient’s medical record?
- Can the actual video be captured and inserted into the record or should a summary of the call suffice?
- How should physicians be reimbursed for the time they spend using social media?
Guinness is good for you – That’s the news from Tinker Ready, who is hosting the Health Wonk Review: Wearing the Green for the St. Patrick’s Day Edition at her blog Boston Health News. We think it’s pretty fitting to have a Boston blog hosting this particular edition!
From the bizarre file – Thomas A. Robinson ofRisk Management Magazine offers a list of the 10 most bizarre workers compensation cases during 2011. Robinson rightly notes that, “Despite their unusual nature, however, one must always be respectful of the fact that while a case might be bizarre in an academic sense, it was intensely real, affecting real lives and real families.” So true. We hope he’ll follow with a collection of the 10 most bizarre employer acts – we’ve seen a few in our day.
OSHA whistleblowers – Just a reminder: Don’t fire someone for reporting safety hazard. A Florida charter school is learning this lesson the hard way. OSHA is suing Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, Fla seeking reinstatement of the former employee with full benefits; payment of back wages, punitive damages, and compensatory damages, among other things.
New York’s Reg. 194 – There’s a big brouhaha in New York over N.Y. Reg. 194, with risk manager groups and agent groups coming down on opposite sides of the fence. N.Y. Reg, 194 is a broker-disclosure rule that requires agents to advise clients that they receive commissions from insurers. The ruling was proposed by the Division of Insurance in the aftermath of the Spitzer investigations against several large brokerage firms. Last week, a NY Appellate Court upheld the rule.
Exploding pig farms – We posted a link to this issue before – but the mysterious hog farm explosions continue to stump scientists. A strange, potentially explosive foam is surfacing near manure pits in about 1 ou tof every 4 hog farms, and has caused six explosions since 2009. According to the article: “This has all started in the last four or five years here. We don’t have any idea where it came from or how it got started,” said agricultural engineer Charles Clanton of the University of Minnesota. “Whatever has happened is new.” The National Hog Farmer has more background: Foaming swine manure poses explosive risks.
Wellness focus – Of cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, and the number one cancer killer in non-smokers. Why not issue a reminder to your employees: Colorectal cancer screening saves lives.
Market conditions – Roberto Ceniceros notes that captives are thriving as the work comp market hardens. Rising prices for traditional insurance vehicles always means that alternative insurance programs see growth.
• Commercial Property
• Inland Marine
• Boiler and Machinery
• Commercial Automobile
• Commercial General Liability
• Commercial Umbrella
• Workers Compensation
Coverage Sections, Limits of Insurance, and Coinsurance Structures you own or lease as a part of your business, your business personal property, as well as the personal property of others make up the standard coverage sections of commercial property insurance. Commercial property insurance may be sold separately as an individual line policy (known as a monoline policy), or it
could be sold as part of a Commercial Package Policy (CPP), which combines 2 or more commercial coverage parts for instance
Personal Property of Others refers to property that is in your business’s care, custody and control. The type of business you operate will determine if you need to safeguard
Whether or not a property loss is covered is determined by the policy language, exclusions, and endorsements. Causes of loss will be separated into 2 main
Commercial property coverage will include a provision to determine what valuation technique is to be used to pay the loss. One of the most common policy valuation method is Actual Cash Value (ACV). Unless otherwise described within the policy, ACV is considered to be Fair Market Value. There are 2 other methods of property valuation: agreed value and replacement cost. Agreed value waives any coinsurance penalty and will pay 100% of the stated amount (agreed upon amount) for any covered loss. Replacement cost covers the amount it takes to replace your property with new property of like kind and quality up to the limits of insurance. Similar to
There are numerous coverage forms and endorsements in addition to the basic property coverages already discussed which can customize coverage in a commercial property insurance policy. What follows are the most common coverage forms and endorsements found in
and specific perils covers $100 per pane of glass up to $500 per occurrence. A glass form must be added for scheduled glass coverage whenever there is a substantial glass exposure to insure. A glass form includes the number of panes, dimensions, location, lettering, and ornamentation. A separate glass deductible may be scheduled also
value tend to be the most common time element coverages. Business interruption coverage replaces lost business income following a covered loss. Certain key employees can be named, permitting the company to continue to pay their wages until the business restarts operations following a loss. Additional expense coverage mainly applies to service or product associated businesses where the business has to continue to ensure the survival of the company. Extra expense can pay for office space, equipment rental, advertising, or most expenses deemed reasonable for maintaining the company operating after a covered loss. Loss of rents and rental value protect loss of rental income to the property owner caused by damage or destruction of a building rendering it unfit for occupancy.
Depending on the individual risk characteristics of your business, the broker-agent will show you with different coverage options for purchasing commercial insurance. A broker-agent’s proposal is simply that, a proposal. When all is said and done it is your responsibility to make an educated choice and select the insurance that best fits your business plan. The partnership that you build with a broker-agent is extremely important in this specific critical decision making process. A seasoned broker-agent has handled hundreds of businesses much like your own. Given that commercial insurance can be complex, you must feel free to discuss any terms, conditions, or concepts that are unclear to you with your broker-agent. It is a broker-agent’s obligation to answer the questions you have and to help you comprehend the insurance coverage you are acquiring