News Digest 6-13-2019

Quote of the day

“The recent Texas trends in cost components for claims differed from trends in many other study states.”

Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel



WCRI study finds Texas workers’ comp claim costs steady

A new study of 18 states by the Workers Compensation Research Institute ranks Texas third lowest in average workers’ compensation claim costs, behind Tennessee and North Carolina, from 2012 through the end of 2017. Total costs per claim in the states studied during the five-year period on average rose about 2.8 percent, according to the study. KPVI (Pocatello, Idaho)

Citing ‘healthy balance,’ Maine lawmaker argues against workers’ comp changes

Maine Sen. Dana Dow, minority leader of the Maine Senate and a member of the Marine Resources Committee, says the state’s current workers’ compensation system is stable, and “rocking the boat” with proposed reforms will hurt job growth and discourage investment. Maine Wire

Negative health effects of noise go beyond hearing

While it’s well known exposure to loud noise can damage hearing, scientists increasingly are finding that too much noise can damage health in other ways. Researchers with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have found that as many as 14 percent of cases of hypertension and 9 percent of cases of high cholesterol were potentially a result of noise exposure, possibly because of the stress of a loud working environment. And, spending time in noisy environments has been linked to poor food and drink choices. Washington Post

Post Office has not experienced decline in opioid prescriptions

A report last week by the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General found that, in contrast to nationwide trends, the number of postal workers who receive opioid prescriptions under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act program has not seen a reduction in the number of opioids prescribed to patients and the length of time a physician can prescribe such medication to a patient without extenuating circumstances. Despite making up approximately 21.6 percent of the federal workforce, Postal Service employees account for over 50 percent of reported workplace injuries and illnesses and 56 percent of fatalities, according to Fed-OSHA statistics. Federal Times

Ex-pharmacist gets two years in prison for military insurance fraud

A 44-year-old former pharmacist has been sentenced to two years in federal prison and ordered to pay $7 million in restitution for his involvement in a healthcare kickback scheme that defrauded the military’s insurance program out of more than $100 million. Prosecutors alleged a Dallas company, which marketed medications on behalf of compounding pharmacies to current and former U.S. military members and their families, conducted a sham medical study that was actually used to compile a list of beneficiaries who got paid to agree to receive unnecessary drugs. Texas Monitor