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February 02, 2005 6:14 PM
Workers' Compensation News - February 3, 2005 Volume 3 Issue 302

 2nd Annual THIS YEAR IN WORKERS’ COMP: TOP 10 ISSUES & CASES - Tues., Mar. 8, 2005
A panel of state and national experts address TEN issues that can make or break your case, including a concise analysis of key cases that have been decided during the past year 
http://www.njicle.com/cgi-bin/njicle?SessionID=47&doc=/Seminars/WC_3-8-05.htm

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NEWS
-Proposed Federal Asbestos Act Will Create Massive Inequities in Both Workers' Compensation and Medicare 

-Halliburton's $4.2 Billion Asbestos Settlement Plan Approved By Bankruptcy Court 

-New Report Reveals That Medicare is Covering $23 Billion in Medical Costs That Should be Paid by Workers' Compensation 

-Bush Should Ban Asbestos Now 

For these stories and others visit our web site http://www.gelmans.com

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HOT TOPIC: MERGING WORKERS' COMPENSATION AND MAJOR MEDICAL COVERAGE
At the NASI conference in Washington DC the NCCI, AFL-CIO and other experts discussed the potential merger of workers' compensation and major medical as a more promising and cheaper delivery system of medical benenfits including prescription brand drugs. 

Prescription Drug and Other Medical Cost Drivers: Lessons from Workers' Compensation, Barry Llewellyn (National Council on Compensation Insurance) and John Burton (Rutgers University)
http://www.ncci.com/media/pdf/rx_04.pdf

Also, New Survey Assesses Senior's Views of Medicare Drug Law
Seniors are most likely to say they would turn to their doctor, pharmacist, or the Medicare program, for help in making decisions about the new Medicare drug benefit set to begin Jan. 1, 2006, according to new data from the Kaiser Health Poll Report tracking survey. The tracking survey also provides updated tracking data on seniors’ knowledge and views of the new Medicare law. 
Foundation President Drew E. Altman, Ph.D., released the data on Jan. 27, 2005, as part of a speech at the National Academy of Social Insurance's (NASI) National Conference.
http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/pomr012705pkg.cfm

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OSHA BERYLIUM INSPECTORS AFFLICTED WITH THE DISEASE
OSHA workers tainted by beryllium exposure. Agency criticized for downplaying metal's hazards
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, long criticized for downplaying the dangers of beryllium, has discovered that several of its employees have been affected by exposure to the deadly metal.
By Sam Roe, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0501170210jan17,1,6120077.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed

TERRORISM INSURANCE: GAO RECOMMENDS THAT TRIA BE ALLOWED TO EXPIRE
As part of the response to Treasury’s TRIA-mandated study requiring an assessment of the effectiveness of TRIA and evaluating the capacity of the industry to offer terrorism insurance after TRIA expires, we recommend that the Secretary of the Treasury, after consulting with the insurance industry and other interested parties, also identify for Congress an array of alternatives that may exist for expanding the availability and affordability of terrorism insurance after TRIA expires. These alternatives could assist Congress during its deliberations on how best to ensure the availability and affordability of terrorism insurance after December 2005. 
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04307.pdf

WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGES IN CALIFORNIA LAYED OFF
The Workers' Comp Appeals Board Commissioners are being told that unless the legislature votes down Governor Schwarzenegger's government reorganization plan they will be out of jobs on July 1, 2005.
State of California Memo
http://www.compline.com/ebabmemo.doc

CONNETICUT SUIT AGAINST MARSH & INSURER FOR MISLEADING WC
The attorney general of Connecticut sued the Marsh & McLennan Companies and a unit of the Ace Group of Companies yesterday, accusing them of working together to mislead the state and increase costs on an $80 million contract for workers' compensation insurance. 
New York Times 
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/22/business/22insure.html?adxnnl=1&oref=login&adxnnlx=1106514897-htknGZiMNPnsnFO5L6tbSAJanuary 22, 2005

CALIFORNIA WORKERS FORM ON-LINE PROTEST GROUP
Voters Injured at Work.org is a non-profit political organization of injured workers and their families established for the purpose of protecting and enforcing California's constitutional guarantee of a fair and adequate system of compensating workers 
and their dependents for injury or disability from a work injury.
http://viaw.org/

9-11 TRAGEDY - REPORT INDICATES OVER 100,000 NEW YORKERS MAY DEVELOP MESOTHELIOMA
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) today released an alarming research report on the effects of 911. The report concludes that over one hundred thousand individuals present in Manhattan during and immediately after the collapse of the Twin Towers are at risk to become future victims of the terrorist attack.
http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/050127/lath058_1.html

***RECENT CASES

ACTION AGAINST WORKERS' COMPENSATION INSURANCE FOR NON-COMPLIANCE
Employer who disregards requirements of district hearing officer's order does so at its peril; if employer is ordered to pay workers' compensation claim, refuses to do so, and loses its appeal of Industrial Commission's decision, then employer may be liable for compensatory and punitive damages resulting from claim of intentional tort.
Torrez v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 306 F.Supp.2d 722 (N.D.Ohio,2004) No. 3:03 CV 7106

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE ADMITTED TO PROVE COMPENSABILITY OF FLU SHOT ADVERSE REACTION
Medical expert's testimony in workers' compensation case, that health care worker's optic neuritis was caused by the flu shot provided by her employer, which relied on differential diagnosis, was based on sufficiently reliable scientific methodology to support admission of the testimony; case studies published in ophthalmology and medical journals, some authored by expert, suggested a causal relationship between the receipt of a flu shot and optic neuritis, vision loss, and blindness.
In re Hicks's Case, 2005 WL 78499 (Mass.App.Ct. 2005)

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Calendar:

2nd ANNUAL HOT TOPICS IN WORKERS' COMPENSATION
March 8, 2005 4-8pm, Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ
http://www.njicle.com/cgi-bin/njicle?SessionID=37&doc=/Seminars/WC_3-8-05.htm

WEST VIRGINIA TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
Workers' Compensation Section
April 1, 2005, The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia
Workers' Compensation Recoveries While Navigating the Treacherous Waters of The Medicare Secondary Payer Act
http://www.vtla.com/

25th ANNUAL NATIONAL WORKERS' COMPENSATION AND OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE CONFERENCE JULY 2005
July 19-21, 2005, Hyannis, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
-Managing Workers' Compensation Claims While Navigating the Treacherous Waters of the Medicare Secondary Payer Act
-Trial Demonstration: The Contested Hearing Loss Case
http://www.seak.com/semjul05WC.htm

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