News Digest 11-18-2021


Vaccine holdouts at key bases pose military dilemma

In August, all branches of the U.S. military gave its service members and civilian employees an ultimatum: Get the vaccine or face being fired, but some employees are pointing to underlying health problems they believe the vaccine could exacerbate while others cite religious exemptions. Real Clear Politics


New York: home health aide charged with workers’ comp theft

A 45-year-old Elmira, New York woman, who worked as a home health aide, is accused of submitting fraudulent time sheets for work she never did in caring for an elderly woman. Charges include three counts of workers’ compensation fraud. Surveillance footage and eyewitnesses confirmed she was never present at the woman’s home when she claimed she was working there, between October 2017 and July 2019. WENY


Minneapolis faces $111 million in legal payments

The city of Minneapolis faces a flurry of lawsuits from the unrest the city experienced in 2020. The bulk of the $111 million in claims stems from 13 officer-misconduct claims of $2 million or more each. Meanwhile, the city is also paying out significantly due to an increase in workers’ compensation claims, primarily post-traumatic stress disorder claims by police employees. The city had been averaging about $10 million in projected workers’ comp payouts annually since 2015, which jumped to $29 million last year, largely driven by police employee claims, according to the study. Minnesota Reformer


Maine firefighters union suffers minimal vaccine mandate losses

While the pandemic has put outsized stress on first responders and other frontline healthcare employees across the state, the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine says only 9 of their 1,400 (0.6%) members have quit over the COVID vaccine mandate, which went into effect on October 29. However, staffing shortages exacerbated by the pandemic have created unsustainable working conditions for pre-hospital care employees in the union, according to its president. Maine Beacon


Should immigration status be considered when evaluating Florida workers’ comp claim for potential PTD?

When evaluating whether to accept a claimant as permanently and totally disabled, carriers are often faced with claimants who have difficulty finding employment due to their immigration status, writes Shannon Arsenault of Chartwell Law. While an undocumented claimant’s vocational factors may be a hurdle to overcome a claim for PTD benefits, these claims can be defeated when a proper plan to get the claimant back to work is put into place, early in the claim, to allow time for training programs that will combat negative vocational factors. JD Supra