January 13, 2010

Cavalcade of Risk and other news briefs

The first Cavalcade of Risk of the new decade has been posted by Louise of Colorado Health Insurance Insider - check it out. And while you're visiting the Cavalcade, why not check out the rest of the entries on the C.H.I.I. blog? We don't live in Colorado, but if we did, we'd definitely be doing business with Jay and Louise Norris.

The importance of the right doctor - Roberto Ceniceros of Comp Time posts about a new John Hopkins study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine that shows that 3.7% of doctors accounted for 72% of claim costs in a study of claims data from Louisiana Workers' Comp Corporation from 1998 to 2002. He notes that one of the researchers commented, "...it makes sense to analyze how practice patterns drive costs before instituting sweeping reform."

Sandy Blunt and the goings on in North Dakota - Good for Peter Rousmaniere and Joe Paduda for shedding light on the travesty of a prosecution related to Sandy Blunt, former CEO of North Dakota's Workforce Safety and Insurance. I met Sandy Blunt at a conference in DC a number of years ago and had been following the turn-around he was effecting in North Dakota's system. He struck me as progressive, innovative, and very sharp - it seemed a real coup for North Dakota to have his services. Then came a series of surprising charges resulting in his ouster. In following the case, it appears that most of these charges were minor, trumped up administrative issues, such as spending a few hundred dollars on lunches and gift certificates to motivate staff - practices that were not uncommon in other state departments. Other more serious charges were dismissed or shown to be erroneous. Blunt has appealed his conviction to the state's Supreme Court and we hope he will prevail.

Insurance Fraud - Emily Holbrook of Risk Monitor posts about a spike in insurance fraud as indicated by a recent report from the Coalition of Insurance Fraud: "Overall, the economy in 2009 appears to have had a significant impact on the incidence of fraud. On average, fraud bureaus reported the number of referrals received and cases opened increased in all 15 categories of fraud included in the survey." Unsurprisingly, the biggest number of fraud cases occurred in the category of bogus health insurance.

Popcorn flavorings vs public and worker health - Celeste Monforton of The Pump Handle provides an update on a public health issue of concern to workers and consumers alike: butter flavorings in popcorn. After a public outcry about diacetyl flavorings, which were causing worker and consumer health problems, the industry began substituting a product labeled as "no diacetyl." Preliminary reports from NIOSH indicate that these chemical changes do not translate into less health risk to exposed workers and consumers.

EEOC report - Workplace Prof Blog posts about Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforcement statistics, which were recently issued for fiscal year 2009. A sampling from the EEOC press release: "The FY 2009 data show that private sector job bias charges (which include those filed against state and local governments) alleging discrimination based on disability, religion and/or national origin hit record highs. The number of charges alleging age-based discrimination reached the second-highest level ever. Continuing a decade-long trend, the most frequently filed charges with the EEOC in FY 2009 were charges alleging discrimination based on race (36%), retaliation (36%), and sex-based discrimination (30%). Multiple types of discrimination may be alleged in a single charge filing."

Work violence - Does the economy play a role in workplace violence? That's a question posed by the Christian Science Monitor in the light of a recent shooting rampage by a disgruntled worker of manufacturer ABB Group in St. Louis that left three dead and several wounded. One factor that the article did not reference is the stress that many people feel post holidays. This story brought to mind a post-holiday workplace shooting rampage in Massachusetts a number of years ago involving another disgruntled employee.

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This page contains a single entry by Julie Ferguson published on January 13, 2010 8:03 AM.

To and a Meandering Fro was the previous entry in this blog.

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