Maneuvering the intersection between the workers’ comp world and the information highway can be daunting. In the course of any given day, the attorney, risk manager, academic, or comp world decision-maker can be so bombarded with email, phone calls, pleadings, medico-legal reports, court opinions, OSHA studies, and the like that the thought of traversing yet another source for professional enlightenment is simply a bridge too far. Yet there are blogs “out there” with valuable information. Someone “out there” has likely posted some offering that can provide additional perspective on the issues at hand. If only you didn’t have to wade through the thicket “out there” to find it.
As it has been doing for several years now, the LexisNexis Legal Newsroom Workers' Compensation has done the wading for you. We’ve selected our 2013 honorees for the Top Blogs for Workers' Compensation and Workplace Issues. The list is part of our effort to help you separate the wheat from the chaff. Congratulations to all the honorees!
These top blog sites contain some of the best writing out there on workers' compensation and workplace issues. They provide a wealth of information for the workers' compensation community with timely news items, practical information, expert analysis, practice tips, and helpful links to other sites. The sites also show us that workplace issues neither arise from nor are they resolved within a vacuum. The comp world interacts with politics and culture. Moreover, the sites and the bloggers demonstrate that the flow of information flow runs two ways: it flows from the comp world through the blog to the reader, but most bloggers covet comments in return. Indeed, the ongoing discussion can impact the world of workers' compensation and workplace issues.
You can view the complete list below.
Grab the Badge! Honorees can post the 2013 LexisNexis top blog badge on their blogsites. We ask that you link it back to this announcement. Contact Ted.Zwayer@lexisnexis.com for details.
TOP BLOGS FORWORKERS' COMPENSATION AND WORKPLACE ISSUES2013 HONOREES
Comp Time (formerly by Roberto Ceniceros)http://www.businessinsurance.com/section/blogs02Published by Business Insurance
Written primarily for comp carriers and employers, “Comp Time” is part of the multifarious businessinsurance.com site that offers news and information for risk managers, benefits managers, insurers, brokers and other providers of insurance products and services. Until November 2013, Comp Time was the work product of business journalist, Roberto Ceniceros. Offering news and analysis about the legislative, legal and insurance market issues that affect workers compensation managers, as well as strategies for reducing comp claims and costs, the site is a rich resource. For example, in a January 29 post [http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20130129/BLOGS02/130129818], Ceniceros highlighted a change in the underwriting of excess workers’ compensation coverage that appears to have occurred over the past year or so. Ceniceros observed that formerly, self-insurers often treated excess insurance as a commodity, basing purchasing decisions primarily on which firm offered the lowest price. More recently, however, two factors—(a) increasing workers comp claim loss severity and (b) a shrinking number of insurers offering the stand-alone product—have brought change to the market. Excess insurers are spending more time underwriting each account, determining which self-insurers are managing risks and which are not. Employers with effective safety programs are getting breaks; those without them are paying higher rates. Ceniceros posits that the trend will likely continue. A May 5, 2013 post [http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20130505/BLOGS02/130509907] detailed the findings of a study recently published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics pointing to a significant increase in chronic back pain in recent years.
From Bob's Cluttered Deskhttp://www.workerscompensation.com/compnewsnetwork/from-bobs-cluttered-deskPublished by Robert Wilson
Self-described as the “Jerry Springer of workers’ comp,” [see the October 15, 2013 post entitled, “Filing for Workers’ Constipation,” http://www.workerscompensation.com/compnewsnetwork/from-bobs-cluttered-desk/17648-filing-for-workers-constipation.html, Bob Wilson’s blog, “From Bob’s Cluttered Desk,” is a delightful mixture of wit, humor and sarcasm, sprinkled among some really insightful commentary on all issues touching on the world of workers’ compensation. A March 10, 2013 offering by Bob, who serves as President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com [http://www.workerscompensation.com/compnewsnetwork/from-bobs-cluttered-desk/16269-raiding-the-larder-new-york-s-shameful-workers-comp-cash-grab.html], detailed the slight of hand contained within a budget proposal from New York governor, Mario Cuomo, that would shift almost $2 billion of the New York State Insurance Fund’s surplus to the state’s general fund. In his May 23, 2013 post, “In Workers’ Comp Reform, Restoring Self Worth is Paramount,” [http://www.workerscompensation.com/compnewsnetwork/from-bobs-cluttered-desk/16759-in-workers%E2%80%99-comp-reform%2C-restoring-self-worth-is-paramount.html], Bob lamented at how polarized and antagonistic the workers’ compensation industry has become. Bob opined that all to often, “in our argument and debate over process and procedure,” the injured worker/patient is forgotten. No one, says Bob—not even attorneys representing injured workers—is sufficiently focused on restoring self worth to today’s injured worker. Earlier that same month, his piece, “Will California Intercept NFL Players Hail Mary Workers’ Comp Claims?” [http://www.workerscompensation.com/compnewsnetwork/from-bobs-cluttered-desk/16667-will-california-intercept-nfl-players-hail-mary-workers-comp-attempts.html] provided an excellent overview of a “modern era gold rush” that is placing a tremendous strain on the California system.
the workcomp writerhttp://www.workcompwriter.com/Published by Thomas A. Robinson, JD
Tom Robinson (a/k/a “the workcomp writer”) has been professionally associated with Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis) since 1987. Until 1993, Robinson served as Arthur Larson’s Senior Research and Writing Assistant. Since then, he has worked alongside author, Lex Larson, in providing upkeep and revision writing for “the Treatise.” National in scope, Robinson’s blog is a mix of case analysis and issue commentary. For example, his June 5, 2013 post cogently discussed the compensability of mental-mental injury claims in Ohio following the state supreme court’s important decision in Armstrong v. Jurgensen, http://www.workcompwriter.com/ohio-supreme-court-reiterates-that-mental-injury-must-be-caused-by-and-not-merely-contemporaneous-with-physical-injury-to-support-comp-claim/. Scanning the federal horizon in addition to all the states, his September 27, 2013 post provided context and analysis related to the 6th Circuit’s dismissal of the Jackson v. Sedgwick Management RICO case, http://www.workcompwriter.com/6th-circuit-bounces-rico-suit-against-sedgwick-coca-cola-dismissed/. His commentary on Oklahoma’s controversial “opt-out” legislation, posted May 9, 2013, http://www.workcompwriter.com/oklahoma-workers-compensation-opt-out-provisions-become-law/ gave his readers an early recap of the legal issues (and some of the backroom politics) at the heart of that “reform” legislation.
Workers’ Comp Insiderhttp://www.workerscompinsider.com/Published by Lynch Ryan
Consistently near the top of almost any list of top blogs in the workers' comp world, the “Workers’ Comp Insider” continues to offer up quality content and news as it has done now for more than a decade. The Insider treats a broad swath of concerns: comp issues, risk management, business insurance, and workplace health and safety. It covers these issues from Boise to Bangor and from Juneau to Miami. It also provides in-depth analysis concerning workplace legislation, occupational medicine, and best practices in the comp industry. The right-hand column of the landing page is a resource all unto itself, with its links to weblogs, industry news, industry organizations, comp resources, health and safety sites, and “cool tools.” Its textual content is also superb. Its May 28, 2013 post [http://www.workerscompinsider.com/2013/05/new-york-self-i.html] detailing the difficulties faced by a firm who secured workers comp insurance through New York Compensation Managers (NYCM), the now defunct operator of a dozen self-insurance groups in New York, is both an informative and entertaining. Another interesting read is its April 30 post [http://www.workerscompinsider.com/2013/04/freedom-of-reli-1.html] regarding the legal plight of the Hutterites, a religious community/society whom the Supreme Court of Montana ruled must provide workers’ compensation coverage for its workers, who live and work collectively, own no property and receive no wages, but rather contribute and share among themselves the fruit of their labor. Many offerings will make you think. Take for example, the November 4th post entitled, “Back to the Future,” [http://www.workerscompinsider.com/2013/11/back-to-the-fut.html] in which Tom Lynch, who writes a considerable proportion of the Insider’s content, laments that “[w]e took a system that we had made relatively simple for employers to manage … and we made it progressively more complicated. We made medical care into a haunted house maze that only experts can navigate (hence, the rise of medical experts). Employers, suddenly realizing that they are now the south bound end of a north bound mule, have relinquished control to a myriad of vendors, the "experts." … So, like Pogo, ‘We have met the enemy, and he is us.’”
The Rassp Reporthttp://www.lexisnexis.com/rasspreportPublished by Robert G. Rassp, Esq.
“The Rassp Report,” by California sole practitioner and workers’ compensation expert, Robert Rassp, takes its place again—now three years running—in the Best Blogs group with its fine treatment of California law. During the past year, Bob has taken time away from his law practice and author’s work on his The Lawyer's Guide to the AMA Guides and California Workers' Compensation (LexisNexis) and Rassp & Herlick, California Workers' Compensation Law (LexisNexis), to offer his long experience and significant intellect to the legal blogosphere with such informative posts as “Adjusters Should Adjust,” [http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/workers-compensation/b/reform-legislation/archive/2013/01/05/california-sb-863-reforms-adjusters-should-adjust-the-blowback-from-ur-and-imr.aspx] in which Rassp observes that when he began his practice thirty years ago, adjusters actually adjusted claims. Upon receipt of a claim, claims examiners conducted the initial employer level investigation, authorized and scheduled the injured employee for treatment, paid appropriate indemnity benefits, adjusted the medical billing and often closed the file with a C&R—all with or without the assistance of legal counsel. In short, back then, adjusters adjusted claims. Over the past several decades, many functions have been assigned to outside vendors, from the investigation company that performs the employer level investigation, the nurse case managers who manage the injured worker’s care while emphasizing cost containment measures, the bill reviewers, medical reviewers, and others. Adjusters now, as often as not, “supervise the results, react to them, and complete tons of paperwork.” Rassp laments that in spite of the introduction of the army of experts, the resolving of claims has not improved. Rassp’s words apply not only in California, but within a host of other jurisdictions. Another provocative post is his November 16th piece, “Evidence-Based Medicine Can Be Hazardous to Your Health,” [http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/workers-compensation/b/recent-cases-news-trends-developments/archive/2013/11/17/evidence-based-medicine-can-be-hazardous-to-your-health.aspx] in which he provides a cogent overview of “EBM” and comments upon its limitations if applied in broad-brush fashion to all work-related injury claims. Rassp cautions that while EBM has been adopted in workers’ compensation cases as a cost saving measure, it often conflicts with the physician’s desire to provide the best treatment for the patient, regardless of existing guidelines. Rassp argues for flexibility, stressing that a person should get the same standard of care if his or her injuries resulted from a fall down a flight of stairs at work as he or she would receive if the fall had taken place at home.
Workers Comp Zonehttp://workerscompzone.com/Published by Julius Young, Esq.
Appearing again this year is “Workers Comp Zone,” the blog crafted by California specialist, Julius Young. Never one to shy away from controversial issues, Young offered up a July 26th post [http://workerscompzone.com/index.php?m=07&y=13&entry=entry130726-212313] regarding the filing of a mental injury claim by UC Davis police officer, Lt. John Pike, who was filmed pepper-spraying a line of seated students during 2011 Occupy protests has now filed for workers' comp. Young pointed out that since a good faith personnel action is a defense to a workers' comp psych claim, to the extent that the claim was tied to the firing, the officer likely could not recover, but that since employee fault is generally not an issue in comp claims, if the officer’s psyche claim could be tied to the spraying event itself, he might well prevail. UC Davis apparently agreed with Young’s argument—he did not represent the officer—and settled the claim in October for $38,000. Young’s March 29 post, “You’re Too Fat,” [http://workerscompzone.com/index.php?m=03&y=13&entry=entry130329-003158] pointed to a New York Times article describing how a number of employers have begun to collect health information related to blood sugar levels, blood pressure readings, weight and the like, and how that information can be misused. His musings on AB 1039, a bill to limit access to the workers comp system for athletes employed by out of state professional teams [http://workerscompzone.com/index.php?m=09&y=13&entry=entry130929-082932] is an informative read not only for those in California, but in other states as well.
Delaware Detour & Frolichttp://www.cassandraswcblog.com/A workers’ comp law blog by Cassandra Roberts, Esq.
Cassandra Roberts, senior workers’ compensation partner at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, in Wilmington, Delaware, offers a big blog from a small state. Delaware doesn’t publish its IAB decisions formally, so the best word on what’s happening there is usually from Cassandra’s keyboard. Her “Salt Water Taffy and a Tad of Permanency…. DE IAB rules on the value of a pelvis and creates a value for the Biliary tract,” [http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/workers-compensation/b/recent-cases-news-trends-developments/archive/2013/08/06/salt-water-taffy-and-a-tad-of-permanency-de-iab-rules-on-disputed-value-of-a-pelvis-and-creates-a-value-for-the-biliary-tract.aspx] posted dated August 6, 2013 is an excellent example of her expertise and handiwork. Other offerings include “Drugstore Cowboy: DE Supreme Court upholds carrier’s right to supply meds through a preferred vendor,” [http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/workers-compensation/b/recent-cases-news-trends-developments/archive/2013/07/16/drugstore-cowboy-de-supreme-court-upholds-carrier-39-s-right-to-supply-medication-through-a-preferred-vendor.aspx] posted July 16, 2013, and her April 10, 2013 post entitled, “On the road again: DE Supreme Ct comments on a veritable potpourri of exceptions to the going and coming rule.” [http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/workers-compensation/b/causation-aoe-coe-issues/archive/2013/04/10/on-the-road-again-de-supreme-court-comments-on-a-veritable-potpourri-of-exceptions-to-the-going-amp-coming-rule.aspx]
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyershttp://workerscomplawyerhelp.com/workers-comp-lawyer-blogPublished by the Law Offices of Alex Berman, PC
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers, an “all things Michigan” blog published by claimant’s attorney, Alex Berman, continues to offer a pleasing mixture of short, concise articles on workers’ compensation issues affecting the state. Whether Alex is counseling injured workers that failing a drug test after a work accident doesn’t automatically disqualify one from receiving benefits [see his October 22 post, http://www.workerscomplawyerhelp.com/workers-comp-lawyer-blog/2013/10/failing-a-drug-test-after-a-work-accident/] or whether he’s advising claimants as to the effect on their Social Security benefits of their settling a workers’ compensation claim [http://www.workerscomplawyerhelp.com/workers-comp-lawyer-blog/2013/08/workers-compensation-and-social-security-disability-benefits/], his advice is straightforward and clear. Mixed in with these practical bits of advice are some humorous posts. Did you know that, as revealed in the pilot episode for the new television show, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” the show’s primary character, Mike, sustained a work-related back injury prior to attaining his super-soldier abilities? Well, you do now. See Alex’s explanation in his August 15 post [http://www.workerscomplawyerhelp.com/workers-comp-lawyer-blog/2013/10/tv-review-agents-of-s-h-i-e-l-d/].
Nevada Workers’ Compensation Law Bloghttp://www.nevadaworkerscompensationlaw.com/Published by Virginia Hunt Law Office
Written by Virginia Hunt, an experienced claimant’s attorney (in addition to her comp practice, Virginia served as an administrative appeals officer), Nevada Workers’ Compensation Law Blog offers clear, concise and practical information tailored for the injured worker. For example, her June 17th post [http://www.nevadaworkerscompensationlaw.com/2013/06/articles/benefits/medical-care/is-your-insurer-requiring-a-psych-eval-before-authorizing-back-surgery/] discussed the recent trend among insurers and their medical review companies to require a psychological evaluation before authorizing low back surgery. While Virginia indicated she’s seen no evidence yet that the evaluations are too intrusive or uncomfortable for the claimant, she wonders about the potential damage done to an employee if the evaluation reports are made available to the employer. Her March 28th blog post, [http://www.nevadaworkerscompensationlaw.com/2013/03/articles/benefits/why-nothing-is-happening-on-your-claim/] offered seven common reasons a worker’s claim might be languishing without progress.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Bloghttp://www.njworkerscompblog.com/Published by John Geaney, Esq. of Capehart Scatchard
Some blogs are a flash in the pan, posting scads of articles in the months following creation, only then to have the pace of writing tail off into oblivion. Such is not the case with the defense-oriented blog, “New Jersey Workers' Compensation Blog,” by John Geaney, of the defense firm, Capehart Scatchard. Geaney’s comments upon New Jersey’s subrogation provision, as construed by Green v. AIG Casualty Company, posted October 21 [http://www.njworkerscompblog.com/employer-entitled-reimbursement-lien-even-comp-case-ultimately-found-compensable/] offered cogent analysis. A July 18 post [http://www.njworkerscompblog.com/the-general-employer-is-immune-from-civil-suit-from-an-employee-loaned-to-a-special-employer-in-new-jersey/] offered clear commentary on the tricky issues associated with the exclusive remedy defense when applied to general and special employers. Particularly insightful was Geaney’s April 17, 2013 [http://www.njworkerscompblog.com/door-remains-closed-on-all-but-the-most-egregious-suits-for-intentional-harm-in-new-jersey/] analysis of intentional tort actions filed against employers.
Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Bloghttp://www.pennsylvaniaworkerscompensationlawyerblog.com/Published by Brilliant & Neiman, LLC
Building on past blogging success, the Pennsylvania oriented blog from Brilliant & Neiman, LLC, a claimants firm, continues to offer carefully crafted, indeed, scholarly commentary on the state’s workers’ comp appellate decisions as well as topical articles of interest to claimants and attorneys alike. The discussion of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s decision in the Robinson case, on the issue of whether the receipt of a disability pension was an indication of voluntary removal from the workplace [http://www.pennsylvaniaworkerscompensationlawyerblog.com/2013/03/suspension_for_retirement_not_1.html] is a good example of a balanced commentary on an intricate subject. The site offers medical news as well. See the May 17th post on whether carpal tunnel syndrome can be predicted [http://www.pennsylvaniaworkerscompensationlawyerblog.com/2013/05/can_potential_carpal_tunnel_sy_1.html] and the October 9th post regarding Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) [http://www.pennsylvaniaworkerscompensationlawyerblog.com/2013/10/crpsrsd_a_crippling_condition_1.html].
Navigable Watershttp://navwaters.com/Published by Mouledoux, Bland, Legrand & Brackett
Considering the plethora of content posted weekly by Jon Robinson and his cohorts at Mouledoux Bland, it’s hard to see where they have time for clients. Seriously, “Navigable Waters” continues to be one of the most active blog sites in any area of the law. Nor are the posts mere reprints gleaned from other content providers. Devoted to the Longshore Act, the Jones Act, and the Defense Base Act, the blog provides quick, clear and expert analysis and commentary. Robinson’s November 22nd piece, “Jumping from a Helicopter Can Be a War-Risk Hazard,” [http://navwaters.com/2013/11/22/jumping-from-a-helicopter/] described how and why a claimant’s disembarkation from a helicopter near the Abu Ghraib prison qualified as a “war risk hazard.” Robinson’s June 19th piece [http://navwaters.com/2013/06/19/what-should-be-the-geographic-boundaries-for-the-relevant-labor-market-in-alaska/] provided a provocative discussion of the difficulties in determining the relevant labor market for Longshore Act claimants from the 49th state, since the jurisdiction is larger than the combined area of the twenty-two smallest states and yet its population—a bit more than 730,000—makes it 47th in total population. All the content is first rate.
The Official Medicare Set Aside Blog and Information Resourcehttp://www.medicaresetasideblog.com/Published by MEDVAL, LLC
Appearing for the 5th consecutive year on our list is The Official Medicare Set Aside Blog and Information Resource, published by MEDVAL, LLC, the well known firm concentrating in MSAs and their complex issues. While many of the individual posts are authored by the firm’s general counsel, Jen Jordan, who also has written The Complete Guide to Medicare Secondary Payer Compliance (LexisNexis), other experts offer their viewpoints as well. Ms. Jordan’s September 27, 2013 piece entitled, “WC not Subject to MSP Private Cause of Action Under 42 UCS 1395y(b)(3)(A)?”, http://www.medval.com/2013/09/27/wc-not-subject-to-msp-private-cause-of-action-under-42-ucs-1395yb3a/ is typical of the blog’s excellent content, providing a detailed and careful analysis of the decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky in Estate of McDonald v. Indemnity Ins. Co. of N. Am., wherein the court interpreted the private cause of action provided under section 1395y(b)(3)(A) to only apply to group health plans. A number of blog posts dealt with the progress of the appeal in the Caldera case. For example, an October 16th post provided an overview of the denial of certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court from the appeal taken of the 5th Circuit’s 2012 decision http://www.medval.com/2013/10/16/caldera-denied-cert-by-us-supreme-court/. Never known to pull a punch, Ms. Jordan displayed not only her intellect but her biting humor in a May 16 blog entry, “Medicare Secondary Payer and Workers’ Compensation Settlement Agreements Act of 2013,” in which she noted there was little difference between the language in the bill and other annual attempts which in years past have not seen the light of day. While the majority of the posts offer legal or technical expertise, that isn’t always the case; see an October 4th post [http://www.medval.com/2013/10/04/government-shutdown-affects-the-medicare-set-aside-review-process/] by Jean Goldstein reporting on the effects that the government shutdown was having on the MSA review process. If your issue touches on MSAs in general or on the interaction between workers’ compensation law and MSAs in particular, this is your blog.
Managed Care Mattershttp://www.healthstrategyassoc.com/wordpress/Published by Joseph Paduda
Managed Care Matters, a repeat winner of our Top Blogs award, directs its attention to an important niche within the workers’ comp world: offering information, commentary and advice on health care cost containment, health policy, health research—as well as medical news—for insurers, employers, and healthcare providers. Mostly written by Joseph Paduda, the principle of Health Strategy Associates, a consulting firm within the industry, the blog offers an intelligent synthesis of thought to its readers. A November 6th post, “The future of work comp managed care [http://www.joepaduda.com/2013/11/the-future-work-comp-managed-care/], made the observation that specialty care within the comp world is growing–in impact, popularity, valuation, attention—while Coventry work comp, the historically-dominant vendor, is shrinking. Joe indicated the long range effect of this is yet to be seen. During the past months there have been multiple posts on the effect that opioids on the comp system. An October 30th piece [http://www.joepaduda.com/2013/10/are-opioids-driving-comp-medical-costs/] pointed to a possible correlation between the 8.7% increase recommended by California’s regulators and the latest research by CWCI and Axiomedics’ Dr. Laura Gardner, which notes that claims featuring “multiple opioid prescriptions are linked to higher rates of indemnity claims, more expensive medical benefits payments, a greater probability of attorney involvement and lower claim closure rates.” A particularly satisfying read was posted by Joe on October 16th [http://www.joepaduda.com/2013/10/how-know-whats-really-happening-work-comp/] in which Joe challenges work comp execs, officials at large employers, service providers and others to spend a day sitting next to an adjuster without any sort of preconceived notions. Joe says the execs “will leave energized and with a new and much deeper understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and most importantly why.
SafetyAtWorkBloghttp://www.safetyatworkblog.com/Published by Kevin Jones
Worker safety is an issue beyond America’s borders. For an interesting and refreshing perspective on workplace safety, one can travel electronically to the “Land Down Under” to read the work of Australian editor, Kevin Jones, and his several contributors. Offering “news, commentary and opinion” on workplace safety and health, Safetyatworkblog offers multiple posts each week. While the articles are obviously directed to Australian issues, one is drawn to the fact that the arguments ring true here as well. For example, a July 18th piece remarked that safety should not be “the red tape bastard” of productivity [http://safetyatworkblog.com/2013/06/18/safety-should-not-be-the-red-tape-bastard-of-productivity/], that too often the voices arguing for the economic importance of workplace safety or pointing out the productivity benefits of keeping workers safe have been too quiet. If you thought workplace bullying was an issue only in America, take a look at a February 12th post [http://safetyatworkblog.com/2013/02/12/australian-government-shifts-workplace-bullying-into-the-industrial-relations-system/] indicating the issue is being discussed and debated within high government and industry circles within Australia.
Reduce Your Workers Comphttp://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/blog/Published by Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc.
Earning a Top Blog award for the sixth consecutive year, Reduce Your Workers Comp (formerly “Work Comp Roundup”) continues to stand out among the comp industry blogs. Simply stated: it’s a must read for anyone seriously interested in workers compensation cost containment. Unlike “opinion blogs,” Reduce Your Workers Comp primarily provides the reader with concrete knowledge based on actual field experience. Postings can immediately be applied to lower the workers' compensation costs of the reader. For example, “Details of the Third Party Administrator Service Agreement,” posted September 16, 2013 by Rebecca Shafer, J.D., President of Amaxx Risk Solutions [http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/2013/09/details-of-the-third-party-administrator-service-agreement/] was written as a guide for self-insured employers who utilize a TPA to administer their workers compensation claims. It can literally be used as a checklist when the self-insured employer is either evaluating and negotiating with their current TPA, or evaluating RFPs for a new relationship. “How To Get the Most From A Workers Compensation Claim File Audit,” also authored by Shafer and posted November 11, 2013, offers practical advice on how to review the status of claims and catch costly errors (leakage) that may have occurred. “Quality Physician Review Services Produce Return On Investment,” a November 6, 2013 article by Michael B. Stack, [http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/2013/11/quality-physician-review-services-produce-staggering-return-on-investment/] discusses how blind acceptance of a medical provider’s diagnosis, prognosis, and recommended treatment can be a serious and costly mistake. Every post to this blog is practical and written to show how to “take charge” in spite of external factors that are difficult to control.
Blogs to Watch
Missouri Workers’ Comp Alertshttp://huckhowe.blogspot.com/Published by Martin Klug, Esq.
During the past year, Martin Klug’s Missouri-centric blog, Missouri Workers’ Comp Alerts has bubbled up to the surface during the past year. The content is first rate, blending discussion of decisions from the state’s Labor and Industrial Relations Commission as well as opinions from the state appellate courts. Klug, a member of the Huck, Howe & Tobin firm in St. Louis, doesn’t just provide a case summary; he explains why the case is important. For example, Klug’s September 11, 2013 post, http://huckhowe.blogspot.com/2013/09/young-woman-who-wont-quit-smoking.html, which detailed a Commission decision [Miller v. Anderson Merchandisers, 2013 MOWCLR LEXIS 168 (Aug. 30, 2013) affirming an award of permanency and finding against the employer who contended that the injured worker had “refused medical treatment” since she had failed to quit smoking—a condition precedent to back surgery. Klug indicated that the dissenting commissioner had appeared to introduce an element of fault into the case, whereas fault was not supposed to be a factor in comp decisions. Klug has pondered how the majority’s holding might affect other workers with self-defeating conditions, such as obesity. Other discussions, such as the debate within the state as to the viability of the state’s second injury fund [see the January 25, 2013 post, http://huckhowe.blogspot.com/2013/01/second-injury-fund-is-it-time-to-re.html, provide excellent discussions of both sides of the controversy.
PA Work Comp Defensehttp://www.pawcdefense.blogspot.com/Published by Michael D. Sherman, Esq., Managing Partner of Fried Kane Walters et al.
Launched in late 2012, Sherman’s blog provides a steady supply of case and issue commentary related to Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law. Particularly valuable are the Practice Pointers affixed to the bottom of virtually all the blog posts. An example of the many practical pointers provided this past year include “How to Challenge Medical Expenses ... without Penalties,” [http://www.pawcdefense.blogspot.com/2013/10/how-to-challenge-medical-expenses.html] posted October 1, discussing an unreported memorandum opinion of a panel of the Commonwealth Court and “Your Traveling Employee is always Working!” posted May 23rd [http://www.pawcdefense.blogspot.com/2013/05/your-traveling-employee-is-always.html]. While the blog is targeted to the defense bar, it is of equal value to claimant’s attorneys.