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March 23, 2004 8:47 PM
Workers' Compensation News - March 24, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 13 CompAssist (tm)

NJ RULE PROPOSALS - DEADLINE TO COMMENT
Public Hearing: Tues April 6, 2004
Deadline to Comment: May 14, 2004
Topics: Camera & Audio Coverage; Medical & Temporary Bennefit Motions; Surviellance Tapes; Personal Service Required; Uninsured Employers Fund
See 36 NJR 1354 - Published 3.25.04

Related:
NJ WILG Objects to Rules
http://www.gelmans.com/FrontEnd/ReadingRoom/vwArticle.asp?ArticleId=409&PracticeAreaId=-1

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INSURANCE REGULATION
New Momentum for Letting U.S. Help Regulate Nation's Insurers
The prospect that Washington will seize a role in the regulation of insurance is gaining momentum after more than 150 years of control by the states.
At a meeting that ended Tuesday in New York, state regulators were given an outline of proposed steps for federal oversight and several leading regulators suggested in interviews that while they preferred to remain fully independent, giving ground to Washington seemed inevitable.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/18/business/18insure.html?th

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SMOKEFREE WPRKPLACES
Washington State Voters to Face Duel Ballot Initiatives
Health groups face off versus tobacco interests
In Washington State, two groups-- "Breathe Easy Washington" and the "Entertainment Industry Coalition" -- are preparing smokefree ballot initiatives. Each group needs to collect 200,000 signatures by July 2 to get on the November ballot.
http://www.smokefree.net/alerts.php

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MEDICAL EVALUATIONS
Evaluations by a Treating Occupational Medicine Specialist and by Independent Medical Examiners
Treating physicians’ and independent medical examiners’ (IMEs’) opinions were compared to identify differences of opinion and to develop a basis for understanding the differences. Twenty-three patients of an
occupational health center (OHC) who had been examined by an IME were studied. OHC and IME opinions regarding diagnosis, work relatedness, treatment recommendations, and disability assessment were categorized by degree of agreement. There was agreement on all four issues for only one patient. Opinions were most divergent with regard to disability assessment and least divergent with regard to diagnosis. Disagreement was unidirectional: the IMEs made fewer diagnoses, deemed fewer illnesses work-related, made fewer treatment recommendations, and assessed lower levels of disability than the OHC examiners. The results suggest that differences in opinion between the OHC and IMEs are due to differences in perspective, rather than skill or training. 
INT J OCCUP ENVIRON HEALTH 2004;10:1–12
http://www.ijoeh.com/pfds/1001_Lax.pdf

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ASBESTOS
Workers Say Changes Needed in Asbestos Resolution
The retired electrical workers playing cards at their union hall tell similar stories about the asbestos dust they encountered when they were building power houses or working on missile sites in North Dakota.
Bismark Tribune
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2004/03/19/news/state/sta04.txt 

Maryland Bill Could Restore State Cap on Asbestos Damage Awards 
Bill Could Restore Cap on Damage Awards
A proposal to restore caps on damage awards in asbestos cases has drawn fire from Peter G. Angelos, one of the state's most powerful litigators. But the insurance industry argues the legislation is necessary to remedy what it calls a biased interpretation of the law.
The bill, filed by Del. Van T. Mitchell (D-Dist. 28) of La Plata, would override two 2002 decisions from the Court of Appeals that removed damage caps from many asbestos-related personal injury cases.
The (Maryland) Business Gazette

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UNDERSTANDING THE MEDICARE SET-AISDE
A Practical Guide to Medicare Set-Asides in Section 32 Settlements (NY)
Christopher M. Whyland has written a good anaylysis of the impact of Medicare Set-Aside in the State of New York and reports of a meeting with the District 2 administrator of the Center for Medicare Service (CMS) The 14 page analysis is avaiable from him by request to: wcblues@twcny.rr.com 

Related: 
Approved SSA Release
http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-3288.pdf

NY WCB Guidlines for Annuities
http://www.wcb.state.ny.us/content/main/SubjectNos/sn046_119.htm

CMS Memo May 23, 2003
http://www.cms.hhs.gov/medicare/cob/pdf/wc_faqs2.pdf

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FlAVOR LITIGATION
International Flavors May Not Be in the Clear
The threat of additional liability is real, because the victorious plaintiff is one of dozens who have sued IFF, charging that its butter-flavoring mixture caused irreparable harm to their lungs. 
http://online.wsj.com/search#SB107990687666061217 ($)

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CALENDAR

THIS YEAR IN WORKERS' COMPENSATION - Wednesday, April 14:, 2004 -NJ / ICLE, New Brunswick, NJ 
http://www.njicle.com
Introductory Remarks – Emerging Issues in Workers’ Compensation:
Does Workers’ Compensation Need a Prescription Change?-Jon L. Gelman, Co-Moderator

Registration
http://www.njicle.com/cgi-bin/njicle?SessionID=40&doc=/Seminars/WC_4-14-04.htm

NOSSCR Social Security Disability Law Conference - National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives - May 12-15, 2004 San Diego, CA - Topics include intensive medical issues to Medicare and how it impacts WC. San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina 
http://www.nosscr.com

NYCOSH’S 25th Anniversary Awards Celebration, Friday, May 14th, 2004 6 - 8:30 P.M. 
http://www.nycosh.org/calendar.html

NCSI 2004 Annual National Council of Self-Insurers Meeting. May 16-19, 2004. Held at the Don CeSar Beach Resort & Spa in St. Petersburg, Florida. Additional information: Larry Holt, Executive Director, National Council of Self-Insurers, 1253 Springfield Avenue, PMB 345, New Providence, NJ 07974 (908/665-2152). Website: 
http:// www.natcouncil.com

CMS Regional Conference - Medicare Secondary Payer - Jun 23-25, 2004 - Atlanta GA 
http://www.mediproseminars.com/

SAWCA 56th Annual Convention. June 21-25, 2004. Held at the Inn at Loretto in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Sponsored by: SAWCA (Southern Association of Workers' Compensation Administrators), 25 Lazy Eight Drive, Port Orange, FL 32128 (386/304-1993).

SEAK 24t Annual National Workers' Compensation and Occupational Medicine Seminar. July 20-22, 2004. Held at the Sheraton Hyannis Resort in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Sponsored by SEAK, Inc., P.O. Box 729, Falmouth, MA 02541 (781-261-9972). Website: 
http://www.seak.com 

AASCIF 2004 American Association of State Compensation Insurance Funds Conference. August 1-4, 2004. Held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Additional information: (952/838-4245) or 
http://www.aascif.org

AIABC 90th Annual I Convention. August 5-10, 2004. Held at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers in New York City. Sponsored by the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC). Additional information: IAIABC (608/663-6355). Website: 
http://www.iaiabc.org

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