Effective Tuesday, July 6, 2004 the NJ Division of Workers' Compensation is operating under new rules concerning: initial pleadings; motions for temporary & medical benefits; suveillance tapes; substitutions of attorney; and the Uninsured Employers Fund. Administrative discussion of the comments submitted and the new rules are listed below.

Workers' Compensation News - July 7, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 227

CMS - MEDICARE SECONDARY PAYER - ATTORNEY OUTREACH PROGRAM LAUNCHED. The Coordination of Benefits (COB) Contractor is available to address attorney groups to fully explain Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) liability issues and policies. The COB Contractor and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) representatives will provide educational seminars regarding the COB operation and CMS’s rights in no-fault, liability, and workers’ compensation (WC) cases. 

NIOSH releases FREE workplace violence DVD

  A new NIOSH training and educational DVD, Violence on the Job DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-100d, provides employers, employees, safety professionals, and others with recommendations and resources for preventing work-related homicides and assaults. 

CMS Entering Into Data Sharing Agreements

 The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act includes a provision establishing the Medicare Integrity Program (MIP). This provision gives the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) authority to enter into contracts with entities to promote the integrity of the Medicare program. The MIP includes a range of Medicare program areas such as cost report auditing, medical review, anti-fraud activities, and the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) program. 

CMS Reports National Health Care Expenditure Grew To $1.3 Trillion in 2000 & Seeks Coordination with State Workers' Compensation Programs

 Payments of Medicare and Medicad are continuing to grow at a rate faster than the nominal gross domestic product. By 20111national health costs will constitute 17% of the GDP, up from the 200 level of 3.2% and will total $2.8 trillion. The Center for Medicare and Medicare Services are actively reviewing payments that should have been made under Workers' Compensation programs and co-ordinating benenfits through a vast network of benefit coordinators and a growing effort of investigation, reporting and enforcement activities.

National Gypsum Asbestos Bankruptcy Claims Settlement Announced

Who is National Gypsum? Incorporated in Delaware in 1925.Manufacturer and supplier of services for the building and construction industry. Miner of asbestos fibers. Popular trade name: Gold Bond Products
Asbestos products types – drywall, joint compounds, textures, shingles, cement boards, adhesives, acoustical plaster, fireproofing, insulation cement, raw asbestos fiber.

Workers' Compensation News - June 16, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 24 CompAssist (tm)

NEW 2ND INJURY FUND PROCEDURES--Notice to the Bar - June 7, 2004--Effective immediately the Division of Workers’ Compensation will no longer require that a Motion to Yoin the Second Injury Fund be filed and an Order of Joinder be entered. The Second Injury Fund Application and Verified Petition properly filed pursuant_to 14A5-95.l is sufficient to join the Fund in a Workers’ Compensation case.

Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] Issues the Secondary Claim Development Questionnaire

 The Secondary Claim Development (SCD) Questionnaire is a Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) questionnaire that is sent to obtain information about other insurers that may pay before Medicare. The SCD is mailed when a claim is submitted to Medicare with an explanation of benefits (EOB) attached, a self-report is made by you or your attorney identifying an MSP situation, or a third party payer submits MSP information to a contractor, or the Coordination of Benefits (COB) Contractor. 

Workers' Compensation News - June 9, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 23 CompAssist (tm)

 MEDICAL GUIDELINES IN WC CASES APPROVED BY TEXAS SP CT--"In this opinion, we conclude that the Legislature authorized TWCC to set upper limits on reimbursement amounts and establish a reasonable time limitation on requests for medical dispute resolution

Worker Health Chartbook 2004 Issued by NIOSH

NIOSH has prepared the Worker Health Chartbook 2004 as a resource for agencies, organizations, employers, researchers, workers, and others who need to know about occupational injuries and illnesses. This concise, chart-based document consolidates information from the network of tracking systems that forms the cornerstone of injury and illness surveillance in the United States.

Serzone Removed From The Market After Allegations It Causes Liver Failure and Death

We are now investigating claims involving Serzone® (nefazodone), an old line anti-depressant drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1994. Last week, drug maker Bristol-Myers, Squib Co. announced it would pull this drug off the market with distribution to end on June 14. Even though Bristol-Myers blamed lagging sales as the reason, the facts are that Serzone® is blamed for dozens of cases of liver toxicity, resulting in liver failure, death or transplantation.

Indoor Mold, Building Dampness Linked to Respiratory Problems and Require Better Prevention

Scientific evidence links mold and other factors related to damp conditions in homes and buildings to asthma symptoms in some people with the chronic disorder, as well as to coughing, wheezing, and upper respiratory tract symptoms in otherwise healthy people, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. However, the available evidence does not support an association between either indoor dampness or mold and the wide range of other health complaints that have been ascribed to them, the report says. Given the frequent occurrence of moisture problems in buildings and their links to respiratory problems, excessive indoor dampness should be addressed through a broad range of public health initiatives and changes in how buildings are designed, constructed, and maintained, said the committee that wrote the report. 

The following is a Momorandum issued by Peter J. Calderone, Director and Chief Judge of the NJ Division of Workers' Compensation. It was issued on May 3, 2004.

Workers' Compensation News - May 26, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 22

FRUSTRATIONS OF 9-11 VICTIMS SEEKING WORKERS' COMPENSATION--Many Who Served on 9/11 Are Still Pressing Fight for Workers' Compensation. It is in places like Judge Mark Solomon's workers' compensation courtroom in Brooklyn that lingering questions about the health consequences of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center are fought over day after day.

Report to Congress on Workers' Home Contamination Study

In 1992, the U.S. Congress passed the Workers' Family Protection Act (Public Law 102-522, 29 U.S.C. 671), which requested that the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety And Health (NIOSH) conduct a study to "evaluate the potential for, prevalence of, and issues related to the contamination of workers' homes with hazardous chemicals and substances...transported from the workplaces of such workers."

Workers' Compensation News - May 12, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 20 CompAssist (tm)

Asbestos: Federal Mediation Fails to Reach Accord. AIA remains committed to meaningful reform of deeply flawed litigation system. The following statement is in response to the end of negotiations over legislation to establish a national asbestos victims compensation trust fund (S. 2290). The negotiations were mediated by retired Federal Judge Edward Becker. This statement should be attributed to Robert E. Vagley, president of the American Insurance Association (AIA) 

Workers' Compensation News - May 5, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 19

CMS/MSP New Address --  New Address for Receipt of Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-aside Arrangement (WCMSA) Proposals (and all subsequently requested documents) for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Review. 

Handling Employment Law Cases

 Employers can be sued for more than employment discrimination, whistleblowing or breach of contract. Causes of action that have been brought against employers range from assault and battery to defamation and intentional infliction of emotional stress. In order to successfully litigate an employment tort claim, you need to be aware of the elements of various tort actions and understand the potential impact of workers’ compensation laws and insurance and indemnification issues.  Presented in cooperation with the NJSBA Labor & Employment Law Section 

Study Shows Millions of Working Americans Have No Health Coverage, Suffer Health Gaps as a Result

 A comprehensive analysis of government data shows that a significant number of working Americans in every state do not have health care coverage, with at least 20 million working Americans not having coverage. In six states, at least one in five working adults is uninsured. In 38 other states, at least one working adult in every 10 does not have health insurance. The report further reveals that in every state, adults who do not have health insurance experience significant gaps in medical care compared to those who do. 

Workers' Compensation News - April 28, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 18

Statement by OSHA Administrator John Henshaw On Worker Memorial Day 2004. "Today is Worker Memorial Day, a day to pay tribute to the men and women who have lost their lives on the job. We mourn with their families and friends, and we recognize that the loss of these very special people extends beyond the home; the loss is felt in schools, places of worship, at social gatherings, in local communities, and throughout the entire nation.

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