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June 25, 2007 11:09 PM
Workers' Compensation News - June 25, 2007, Vol. 5 Issue 106

NYC CONNECTS AN EXPOSURE TO 911
For the First Time, the City Connects a Death to 9/11 Dust 
New York City’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Charles S. Hirsch, has for the first time directly linked a death to exposure to dust from the destruction of the World Trade Center. 
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/24/nyregion/24dust.html 

WCRI STUDY COMPARING WC MEDICAL TREATMENT OUTCOMES
This study examines how nine states compare on this key value proposition by juxtaposing worker outcomes in each state within the areas of recovery of health and functioning, return to work, access to medical care, and satisfaction with medical care with data on the costs and utilization of workers’ compensation medical care. Information on worker outcomes can help policymakers address a wide range of issues, including whether state systems that have higher medical costs or utilization of medical care, for example, are associated with better outcomes for injured workers. 
• Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin provided a “better” value proposition for employers and injured workers. Employers paid less for medical care, yet workers achieved outcomes that were better than or in the middle of the range compared to workers in other study states. Workers in these states had generally better recoveries, were more likely to return to sustainable employment (and do so more quickly), experienced more timely medical treatment, had fewer problems accessing their medical care, and were less likely to be dissatisfied with their care. 
• Medical costs and utilization in pre-reform California and pre-reform Texas were higher than in the other study states. Employers paid more for medical care compared to the seven other states studied, yet workers experienced worse outcomes (or, at best, outcomes that were in the middle of the range).These states are described as having a “worse” value proposition for employers and injured workers. We also describe pre-reform Tennessee and pre-reform Florida as providing a “worse” value proposition. Despite costs that were in the middle of the range, outcomes for injured workers (prior to reforms in Florida and Tennessee) were also generally in the middle or worse compared to the other states in the study. 
• In North Carolina, medical costs and utilization, as well as worker outcomes, were consistently in the middle of the range (except with respect to access to care where higher percentages of workers were dissatisfied with their time to initial treatment by the primary provider). We describe North Carolina as having a “moderate” value proposition. 
Table of Comparison: http://www.wcrinet.org/studies/public/abstracts/abstables/wkrsurvey_9states-ab_tblA.html
Abstract: http://www.wcrinet.org/studies/public/abstracts/wkrsurvey_9states-ab.html
Executive Summary: http://www.wcrinet.org/studies/protected/exec_summaries/wkrsurvey_9states-es.html

US SENATE HOLDS HEARINGS ON BANNING ASBESTOS June 12, 2007
“This is an important hearing for millions of Americans who have been exposed to asbestos, for their families, and especially for the thousands of American families who have lost family members to asbestos-related lung disease and cancer. Millions of Americans are still being exposed to asbestos today, and if we don’t act, countless more people will get sick and die in the future.” Senator Barbara Boxer
http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=498D5153-802A-23AD-4E86-202DCF61E229

Full Committee Hearing
http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=01B2074A-802A-23AD-4795-CDAAFCE6A2D4

NJ CONCLUDES 6 MONTH STUDY ON THE USE OF INTERACTIVE TYPED FORMS
Suggested workflow issued.
http://www.state.nj.us/labor/wc/forms/062107_interactiveforms.pdf

NJ DWC ANNNOUNCES JUDICIAL ASSIGNMENTS
http://www.state.nj.us/labor/wc/forms/judicialassignments_060707.pdf

FIREFIGHTERS SEEK TO SUE SIREN COMPANIES FOR HEARING LOSS
Academic researchers often serve as trial expert witnesses. But doing research while helping a litigant could be a conflict of interest
http:/www.WSJ.com

ASBESTOS BAN MAY BE MANDATED BY CONGRESS
After six years of frustrating failure and a rising death toll, Sen. Patty Murray said Tuesday that she is optimistic that legislation banning the sale and use of cancer-causing asbestos will pass this year. 
"It's been shocking to me that after six years and a number of deaths of good people, we're still sitting in a committee. I have more hope this year than I've had in six years," Murray said after her bill was the focus of a hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. 
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/319482_asbestos13.html 

NH COURT RULES PERSONAL WORKOUT AT EMPLOYER’S CLUB COMPENSABLE
As a matter of first impression in New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that for purposes of a workers' compensation statute providing that injuries arising from athletic/recreational activities are not excluded from the definition of "injury" if the employee reasonably expected that participation in those activities was a condition of employment, a fitness trainer's participation in his personal workout at his employer's health and sports club was a "condition of employment." The trainer was a salaried employee. Also, the workout occurred during the course of the trainer's normal working hours. Lastly, the employer both permitted and encouraged its personal trainers to perform workouts while they were on duty in order to provide a direct benefit to the club by securing additional clients. 
In re Malouin 2007 WL 1695591 
http://www.westlaw.com

CALIF COURT RULES EMPLOYER NOT RESPONSBLE FOR ALL PERMANENT DISABILITY
The California Supreme Court has rejected an appeal of an injured electrician, affirming a lower court's ruling that an employer is not responsible for permanent disability it did not cause. The case, Larry Gossett vs. WCAB and Morrow-Meadows Corp., questioned whether an employer is responsible for all of an injured worker's permanent disability when there was pre-existing arthritis but the injured worker had no symptoms many years before his 2003 workers' compensation injury.

NC: SACRCOIDOSIS 
"There is no evidence that defendant's plant poses a risk of exposure to such heavy metals..."
Glenn v TDM Corop., 2007 WL 1748957 (N.C.Ind.Com.) May 30, 2007
http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2007/06/22/81047.htm

KY WC RULES LEAVES AMPUTEE TO TOUGH CHOICE
KY: Workers' comp rules leave amputee tough choice
It's either meager benefits or nearly impossible suit 
http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007705190442 

HEALTHCARE REMAIN NUMBER ONE ELECTION ISSUE
This June tracking poll finds that health care remains the top domestic issue that the public wants presidential candidates to address, trailing only Iraq on the public’s overall priority list.
Kaiser Family Foundation
http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/pomr062007pkg.cfm

Moore's 'Sicko' Lands Blows on U.S. Health Care
Director Michael Moore has found critical and popular success with documentaries that blend comedy and pathos to attack powerful interest groups. But those films are nearly always challenged as misleading. His latest work, Sicko, is an indictment of the U.S. health care system, highlighting insurance horror stories and profiling countries with universal health care.
NPR All Things Considered
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11285514

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AAJ WORKERS’ COMPENSATION AND WORKPLACE INJURY SECTION Sunday, July 15, 2007 Chicago
Moderator: Deborah G. Kohl, MA
Program Theme: Proof Problems in Complex Workers’ Compensation Cases
Psychological Aspects of Workers’ Compensation Claims
Anthony Ray Reeves, FL
Ethical Issues in the Preparation and Trial of Workers’ Compensation Cases
Thomas M. Domer, WI
Long-Term Disability Claims and Workers’ Compensation Claims—Proof
Issues: The Similarities and Differences
Jonathan Marc Feigenbaum, MA
http://www.atla.org/sections/workerscomp/index.aspx

WORKERS' COMPENSATION CARVE-OUT CONFERENCE/ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR). August 2, 2007. Held at The Hilton Garden Inn, Emeryville, California. Sponsored by The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC), 1515 Clay Street, Suite 901, Oakland, CA 94612. Additional information contact: Janice Yapdiangco at (510) 622-3959. Website: http://www.dir.ca.gov/chswc/conferences.html

NJ CLE -WORKERS' COMPENSATION FRAUD
Insurance fraud is the number two white collar crime in the nation, robbing the economy of millions of dollars each year. 
Aug. 8, 2007 6-9p Pines Manor, Edison, NJ
http://www.njicle.com/seminar.aspx?sid=318

WORKSAFE POLICY PROGRAM 
Working with a national ad hoc group to develop a framework for the future of workplace safety and health 
Oct 7-8, 2007 Hilton Garden Inn
1800 Powell Street
Emeryville, CA 94608
(510) 658-9300
http://www.worksafe.org/about/policypapermeetings.cfm 

WCRI'S 2007 ANNUAL ISSUES & RESEARCH CONFERENCE. October 24-25, 2007. Held at The Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, Boston, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), 955 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, 617-661-WCRI (9274). Website: www.wcrinet.org/conference.html. 

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