The LexisNexis Workers' Compensation Law Community has selected its 2012 honorees for the Top 25 Blogs for Workers' Compensation and Workplace Issues. Congratulations to all the honorees!
We thank our community members and Larson's National Workers' Compensation Advisory Board members for giving us their input.
These top blogsites contain some of the best writing out there on workers' compensation and workplace issues. They contain a wealth of information for the workers' compensation community with timely news items, practical information, expert analysis, practice tips, frequent postings, and helpful links to other sites.
These blogsites also show us how workplace issues interact with politics and culture. Moreover, they demonstrate how bloggers can impact the world of workers' compensation and workplace issues.
You can view the complete list below.
Grab the Badge! Honorees can post a 2012 LexisNexis top blog badge on their blogsites. We ask that you link it back to this announcement. Contact Ted.Zwayer@lexisnexis.com to obtain the 2012 badge and for details.
TOP 25 BLOGS FOR WORKERS' COMPENSATION AND WORKPLACE ISSUES2012 HONOREES
Comp Time by Roberto Ceniceroshttp://www.businessinsurance.com/section/blogs02Published by Business Insurance
Those who have an interest in the workers’ comp carrier’s perspective need look no further than “Comp Time,” written by business journalist Roberto Ceniceros. Part of the large web site maintained by businessinsurance.com, Roberto’s entries concentrate on risk management, business insurance and workers' compensation. His blog continues to provide a broad overview of current developments in the various fields. Roberto’s September 24, 2012 summary of an IAIABC committee’s draft model rule addressing opioid pain medication prescriptions, is an excellent example of the fare offered on his site. His August 5, 2012 post, discusses an emerging phenomenon—that an increasing number of U.S. employers are having to turn to various state markets “of last resort” as insurers move away from riskier, less profitable accounts. Even claimant-oriented practitioners can profit from Roberto’s insight. See, “Lump-sum settlements encourage injured employees to return to work: WCRI,” in which Roberto highlights a recent WCRI report that appears to fly in the face of employer opposition to lump-summing.
From Bob's Cluttered Deskhttp://www.workerscompensation.com/compnewsnetwork/from-bobs-cluttered-deskPublished by Robert Wilson
Self-described, the blog “From Bob’s Cluttered Desk” is a mixture of Bob’s “thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants.” Virtually all show the breadth of Bob’s experience. See, e.g., the September 12, 2012 posting, “The Road to Hell: Reforming the Reform of Workers Compensation Reformers”], within which Bob gives his views related to the recent California “reform” legislation and all-too-often ineptitude of hearing officers, such as one from Virginia who misconstrued an important legislative change in that state related to unexplained accidents. Many of the posts have a humorous side [see Workers' Comp Fraud 101: Lesson 2 - When Shot in a Sex Club, Don't Lie About It]. If you haven’t already done so, do yourself a favor—bookmark Bob’s site.
Managed Care Mattershttp://www.healthstrategyassoc.com/wordpress/Published by Joseph Paduda
Already a three-time winner of our Top Blogs award, “Managed Care Matters” continues its excellent offerings to insurers, employers, and healthcare providers. Noted expert, Joseph Paduda, the principle of Health Strategy Associates, offers commentary and opinion on a broad range of topics. The blog was redesigned in mid-September 2012, offering a pleasing stop for those looking for employer/carrier-oriented content. Paduda continues to target physician drug dispensing practices. See, for example, his September 26, 2012 post entitled, “Physicians charged with inappropriate dispensing”. An excellent June 20, 2012 offering entitled, “What’s a Prescription Monitoring Program and why you should care,” is excellent as well. Paduda posts interesting summaries of workers’ compensation conferences. See “Is there unnecessary medical care in workers comp?”, a discussion of Dr. Rick Victor’s remarks at the August WCI Conference on care that does not improve patient outcomes.
Workers’ Comp Insiderhttp://www.workerscompinsider.com/Published by Lynch Ryan
Most bloggers agree that maintaining a blog in its early days is easy. The experience is heady and exciting. One sees one’s posts jump out onto the web for others to read and appreciate. The true strength of a blog is its staying power. Now in its 10th year, the Workers’ Comp Insider had stood the test of time, and then some. Its frequent offerings remain consistently high in quality, treating all sorts of comp issues, risk management, business insurance, and workplace health and safety across the nation. The blog offers straightforward case analysis. See, for example, the July 11, 2012 discussion of a case involving an employer who asked for employee volunteers to cut the grass when the firm’s landscaping contractor quit. One of the volunteers, an overweight computer programmer who was an incessant smoker with a sedentary lifestyle, suffered a heart attack while moving one of the mowers [see “Annals of Compensability: Sedentary Worker in the Garden”]. The “Insider” also includes unusual pieces, such as the July 24, 2012 article entitled, “Extraterrestrial Exposures: Astronaut Medical Oddities,” a discussion of the medical toll that space takes on travelers' bodies and minds.
The Rassp Reporthttp://www.lexisnexis.com/community/workerscompensationlaw/blogs/workerscompensationlawblog/archive/2010/12/15/robert-rassp-report.aspxPublished by Robert G. Rassp, Esq.
Continuing his annual presence on the Top Blogs List is Bob Rassp, whose thoughts and observations continue to be showcased in “The Rassp Report.” A noted expert on the California comp world, one colleague quipped that Rassp had digested the recent California “reform,” SB 863, before many others in the state had digested their lunches. Indeed, Bob continues to shine when it comes to scouring case law and/or legislation and summarizing the salient points. As the author of The Lawyer’s Guide to the AMA Guides and California Workers’ Compensation (LexisNexis), he’s particularly skilled with the troublesome AMA Guides (see his August 22, 2012 article entitled, “AMA Guides Fifth Edition Figure 15-19: Strict or Alternative WPI Rating?” His “Catching Up on Some Zs in California – Sleep Disorders” (February 20, 2012) piece, is equally interesting and enlightening. Since issues crop up in California earlier than many other states, Bob’s writing is a profitable read not only for those on the West Coast, but all across the nation.
San Diego Workers' Compensation Bloghttp://www.sandiegoworkerscompensationlaw.com/Published by Thomas M. DeBenedetto, Esq.
Returning to the list for a second year is “San Diego Workers' Compensation Blog,” offered by the claimant attorney, Thomas M. DeBenedetto. Representing injured workers for almost 20 years, his first focus is California, but he scours the news and reporters for other material from around the world as well. On the home front, for example, he posted multiple articles on the workers’ compensation overhaul passed by the California legislature and signed by Governor Brown. A July 31, 2012 article, “CWCI study explores frequency and cost of work-related neck, spine injuries,” provided details regarding a report by the California Workers' Compensation Institute entitled "Injury Score Card,” examining the prevalence of work injury claims for both head and spine injuries (not involving the spinal cord) from 2001 through mid-2011. Beyond the Golden State’s borders, DeBenedetto reported, in a September 13, 2012 post, “Researchers make surprising discovery concerning work injuries and coffee,” that according to a recent study by researchers in Norway, a cup of coffee may do wonders in reducing the severity of many common work-related injuries.
Workers Comp Zonehttp://workerscompzone.com/Published by Julius Young, Esq.
California specialist, Julius Young, again graces the “Top Blogs” listing with his witty and insightful “Workers Comp Zone.” For a number of years now, practitioners and others within (and without) the Golden State have benefited not only from his analysis of California’s workers’ compensation system—[see, e.g., September 17, 2012, “Brown Set to Sign SB 863,”—but have gleaned important practice points like those contained in his May 22, 2012 post, “The Great Divide,” in which Julius illustrates the importance of looking beneath the surface of a comp claim to discern what really happened to cause the worker’s injury. In that post, Julius shows that by concentrating not just on a truck driver’s clearly compensable claim, but by analyzing the mechanical causes of the wreck, others in Julius’ firm were able to proceed against Volvo, the truck manufacturer, and recover $11.4 million, much more than the comp outlay. Julius ponders comp issues 24/7. Readers of his blog note that in September, he posted several musings while on vacation in Budapest.
Delaware Detour & Frolichttp://law.lexisnexis.com/practiceareas/Workers-Compensation-Law-Blog/Workers-Compensation/Delaware-Detour-and-FrolicA workers’ comp law blog by Cassandra Roberts, Esq.
An experienced practitioner from “The First State,” Cassandra Roberts, the senior workers’ compensation partner at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, continues her outstanding posts on her coquettishly titled, yet seriously proffered “Delaware Detour and Frolic.” The titles to her posts are entertaining; the content clear and creative. See, for example, her April 27, 2012 offering, “Paintballing, Wrestling and a Head-Banging Good Time: Another Commentary on Horseplay in Delaware,” or “The Dearly Deported—Illegal Alien Status Does Not Work a Forfeiture in Delaware,” dated February 9, 2012, discussing the claim of a deported undocumented worker who may indefinitely be paid comp benefits in spite of the fact that he cannot/will not present himself for a DME.
OUCH! Workers’ Compensation News & Issueshttp://rolandlegal.wordpress.com/Published by Roland Legal PLLC
“OUCH! Workers’ Compensation News & Issues” joins the Top Blogs List again, with its many offerings related to Kentucky workers' compensation law and practice. The blog includes short commentary on Board Opinions, as they are filed, news articles involving the state’s Department of Workers’ Claims within the great state of Kentucky, and commentary on appellate decisions each year. For example, the January 21, 2012 discussion of the important pneumoconiosis decision by the state high court in Vision Mining v. Gardner is very clear and cogent. Roland Legal also provides its readers with news reports related to workers’ compensation law and practice from around the nation.
Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Bloghttp://www.massachusettsworkerscompensationlawyerblog.com/Published by Altman & Altman LLP
Another past winner, “Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog,” from Altman & Altman, a long-time Bay State claimants firm, continues it focus on Massachusetts news, trends and comp law. Characteristic of the many state-oriented posts was one on April 18, 2012, entitled “Massachusetts Senate to Consider Greater Penalty for Failure to Purchase Workers’ Compensation”. The blog also offers other articles from around the nation, particularly if they have applicability in Massachusetts. Consider, for example, its August 7, 2012 post, “Workers with Paid Sick Leave Less Likely to be Injured on Job”. The article analyzes a report by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Washington, D.C.) that found workers with paid sick leave were 28% less likely to report an occupational injury that needed medical care.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyershttp://workerscomplawyerhelp.com/workers-comp-lawyer-blogPublished by the Law Offices of Alex Berman, PC
Last year we first highlighted this claimant-oriented blog, Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers, noting the mix of workers’ compensation articles on “everything Michigan.” Alex Berman's office continues to post as many articles in a week as some blogs do in a month. Most are short—all are clear. At the end of each piece, Berman even includes an estimate of how long it will likely take you to read it. Consider the August 8, 2012 offering that explains that since Michigan is (like most jurisdictions) a wage loss state, it is entirely possible to have a work-related injury and no payment of benefits (other than medical). And agree or disagree with its point of view, but the blog’s July 24, 2012 posting entitled, “How Obamacare Can Help Workers’ Compensation,” is an excellent examination of this controversial new federal law.
Missouri Workers' Compensation Lawyer Bloghttp://www.missouriworkerscompensationlawyerblog.com/Published by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C.
Launched in mid-May, 2011 by Aaron Sachs & Associates, a claimants firm, this comp blog is not as Missouri-centric as its name would suggest. While it does have a clearly focused emphasis on things within the “Show-Me” state [see, e.g., an August 12, 2012 post on the compensability of mental injuries in Missouri, as well as an August 4, 2012 post related to the severe drought and heat that Missouri residents had been forced to endure and the relationship between such extreme conditions and work-related heat stroke, the site also offers a mixture of items from elsewhere. An August 26, 2012 post provided an excellent summary of an article released by the University of Sydney (Australia) entitled, “Office workers at increased risk for “chair disease”, study finds”.
Nevada Workers’ Compensation Law Bloghttp://www.nevadaworkerscompensationlaw.com/Published by Virginia Hunt Law Office
Nevada Workers’ Compensation Law Blog is written by Virginia Hunt, an attorney with more than fifteen years experience in the field, is a former hearing officer who currently represents injured workers. The majority of her posts continue to offer helpful advice to those who have suffered compensable injuries. For example, her May 1, 2012 post, “Can You Be Fired While You Have a Nevada Comp Claim?”, focused on Nevada’s law of retaliatory discharge, on the ability of an employer to terminate a “light duty” employee after he or she recovers from the injury, and the importance of making certain treating physicians are familiar with the injured worker’s actual job duties and responsibilities. When the temperature in Nevada reached 114 degrees in July, Virginia posited that Nevada law had not been supportive of such claims, noting that working in heat was often not so much incidental to the character of the employer’s business as it was a common condition that the public also had to endure [see “Illness from Excessive Heat Probably Not Work Comp,” July 7, 2012]. Another fine example of Virginia’s clear writing can be seen in her January 11, 2012 post, “Occupational Illnesses: When to File a Claim,” a posting that discusses an important Nevada case, City of Las Vegas v. Lawson.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Bloghttp://www.njworkerscompblog.com/Published by John Geaney, Esq. of Capehart Scatchard
Continuing as one of the most active defense-related blogs is “New Jersey Workers' Compensation Blog,” by John Geaney, of the defense firm, Capehart Scatchard. Commenting on all New Jersey cases that reach the appellate level (and others that do not), Geaney has discussed such disparate comp issues as the special New Jersey statute (N.J.S.A. 2A:13-5) that limits the amount of litigation expenses that can be deducted from the employer/carrier’s share in a subrogation case to $750 [September 25, 2012], the decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court that an injured employee may not sue the comp carrier for pain and suffering allegedly caused by the carrier’s delay in paying for medical services [August 6, 2012], and a May 2009 appellate court decision denying benefits to a worker who the court determined to be a “casual employee” [June 1, 2012]. Geaney also writes on issues related to the comp world, such as claims filed under the ADA or FMLA. See, for example, his excellent summary of Regan v. Faurecia Automotive Seating, Inc., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9470 (6th Cir. 2012), posted September 21, 2012.
North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Bloghttp://www.northcarolinaworkerscompensationlawyerblog.com/Published by Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, LLP
Whether it’s inviting injured workers to utilize the methodology of popular productivity guru, David Allen (Getting Things Done) [see September 6, 2012] to deal with the many “open loops” that a workplace injury or illness can create in one’s life, or his February 17, 2012 suggestion to those in charge of the North Carolina workers’ compensation system that beneficial changes could—and should—come from “nudges” instead of massive overhaul bills, Michael DeMayo’s musings are edgy, fun, creative and insightful. Head of a fast growing claimant’s firm in North Carolina (with a new branch in Columbia, S.C.), DeMayo each year awards fifteen high school seniors $2,500 scholarships to be used toward their college educations.
Columbus Workers’ Compensation Law Bloghttp://www.columbusworkerscompensationblog.comPublished by Philip J. Fulton Law Office
The claimant-oriented Philip J. Fulton Law Office of Columbus, Ohio offers comp news and commentary associated with the Buckeye state. Fulton, author of the widely cited Ohio Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis) publication and a leading Ohio attorney, draws attention to the real-life, day-to-day challenges facing construction and factory workers. He shines light on those Ohio firms who’ve been fined by OSHA or a state agency [see, e.g., “Two Ohio workers have to suffer through finger amputations,” dated June 22, 2012 and “Ohio construction collapse injures three workers,” Observing the intricate way in which the comp and social security disability worlds are joined, Fulton offered an interesting take on the subject in “Some unemployed turn to disability after benefits run out” on January 19, 2012.
Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Bloghttp://www.pennsylvaniaworkerscompensationlawyerblog.comPublished by Brilliant & Neiman, LLC
Consistent in its high level of quality, this Pennsylvania oriented blog from Brilliant & Neiman, LLC, a claimants firm, offers not only excellent commentary related to recent Pennsylvania court rulings affecting injured workers' claims, but other unusual articles that pique one’s interest. A recent posting (August 20, 2012) reported that a new treatment for pro basketball player Andrew Bynum’s knee might eventually be utilized for lower profile injured workers. Regenokine therapy, also utilized by L.A. Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and N.Y. Yankees’ Alex Rodriquez, takes blood drawn from the patient’s body, extracts certain elements from the blood, adds beneficial compounds to it and then injects the blood back into the patient’s knee. It’s been successful in a number of high profile cases and may someday be available in treating back injuries and other work-related injuries. Another article illustrating the diversity of the blog’s offerings is an April 10, 2012 discussion of concussions, including one suffered by actress Melissa Gilbert on the TV series, Dancing with the Stars.
Navigable Watershttp://navwaters.comPublished by Mouledoux, Bland, Legrand & Brackett
The only Top Blog devoted to the Longshore Act, the Jones Act, and the Defense Base Act, “Navigable Waters” is clearly also one of the most active blog sites in the comp industry. Averaging almost four posts per week, it’s a compendium of important content. Providing commentary on all important cases within its purview—see, e.g., the discussion of the decision by the 11th Circuit in Vasques v. YII Shipping Co., Ltd, posted September 25, 2012, or the excellent treatment of a tricky DBA issue, “Should I Seek War Hazards Reimbursement or File an Appeal?”, filed May 31, 2012. For an excellent discussion of whether child support payments can be garnished from LHWCA (or DBA) benefits, see Jon Robinson’s excellent discussion dated August 27, 2012.
The Official Medicare Set Aside Blog and Information Resourcehttp://www.medicaresetasideblog.com/Published by MEDVAL, LLC
It’s been said that “a person with one watch always knows what time it is, a person with two watches is never sure.” A blog using the one-watch approach 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. With the lion’s share of the postings offered up by Jen Jordan, MEDVAL’s General Counsel and author of The Complete Guide to Medicare Secondary Payer Compliance (LexisNexis), the site's analysis is first rate. Consider “Medicare Advantage Plans do have a Private Cause of Action After All,” posted June 29, 2012, and “It Is Apparently Not Just Medicare That Work Comp Routinely Burdens,” posted May 30, 2012. Ms. Jordan doesn’t pull her punches. See her direct and cogent commentary in “At What Point Does a Preauthorized Medicare Covered Surgery Stop Being Medicare's Payment Responsibility? - Salveson v. Sebelius,” posted May 14, 2012.
Safety and Employer-Related Blogs
SafetyAtWorkBloghttp://www.safetyatworkblog.comPublished by Kevin Jones
For a number of years now, Australian editor Kevin Jones has been writing and compiling an excellent mix of “news, commentary and opinion” on workplace safety and health in “the Land Down Under.” Aided by several other contributors, Jones offers timely and interesting entries that should interest workers’ compensation professionals in North America, as well. The blog takes a broad and thoughtful swath. For example in a May 7, 2012 entry, “Workplace safety and the human condition,” Jones comments upon a host of interesting articles and reports that had recently come across his desk related to social concerns. One included a pastoral letter issued by the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council on the “Dignity of Work,” through which Jones drew parallels between dignity and values-based safety in the work environment. A September 10, 2012 piece entitled “Managing on luck is not managing safety” is another example. It discussed the use of bright colored clothing for clerks and enhanced lighting techniques at drive-thru liquor stores (the Aussies call them “bottle shops”).
The Safety Blogwww.safetyservicescompany.com/blogPublished by Safety Services Company
In its specialized offering, “The Safety Blog,” Safety Services Company offers timely articles related to workplace safety programs and training, particularly within the construction and manufacturing industries. The blog’s interest areas literally straddle the U.S. and Canadian borders, including within its electronic pages interesting news bits and practical advice. In a September 28, 2012 posting, for example, the blog included a story about a Mississippi woman accused of posing as an OSHA trainer to deliver fraudulently training to more than 1,000 fishermen in the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Another article, posted July 2, 2012, dealt with a new initiative in British Columbia that is focusing on workplace bullying.
Work Comp Rounduphttp://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/Published by Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc.
A continued standout, receiving a Top Blog award for the fifth consecutive year, “Work Comp Roundup” remains a veritable cornucopia of cost containment ideas, best practices, techniques and strategies. Most of the content is written by Rebecca Shafer, J.D., President of Amaxx Risk Solutions. A “go-to” spot for claims managers and others on the front lines of cost containment [see “How to Properly Reserve a Work Comp Claim,” and “Five Practical Ways to Reduce Medicare Set Asides (MSA)”. Some are humorous, such as Becki’s discussion of the Connecticut case in which the owner of a chimpanzee that mauled and blinded an employee contended that the victim’s action should be barred by exclusivity—the chimp was allegedly the victim’s co-employee [see “CONN Attorney Suggests Injury to Woman Mauled by Chimp Should Be Workers Compensation Claim”. All are worth your time as a reader.
New Blogs to Watch
Evidence Basedhttp://prium-evidencebased.blogspot.comPublished by PRIUM
Another newcomer deserving attention is the curiously-named, “Evidence Based” blog offered by Michael Gavin, Chief Strategy Officer of PRIUM, and Mark Pew, the firm’s Senior Vice President of Business Development. As noted on the landing page of the blog, PRIUM is “a URAC-accredited workers’ compensation-focused medical management company that provides innovative solutions to insurance companies, third party administrators, pharmacy benefit managers, re-insurers and self-insured employers throughout the United States.” It endeavors to ensure that injured workers receive “the right care at the right time from the right provider.” It mixes some impressive drug use analysis [see “Massachusetts Prescription Drug Monitoring Program: A Critique,” dated August 28, 2012, and an August 13, 2012 post entitled, “Pill Mill in Florida: Getting Off Easy,” with case-based articles such as its April 30, 2012 piece, “Louisiana Case: Correlation and Causation”. These days the ratio of claimant-oriented blogs to employer-oriented blogs is probably something like 10 to 1. This blog, begun December 20, 2011, is definitely a defense blog to watch.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Bloghttp://www.georgiaworkerscompensationlawyerblog.comPublished by Moebes Law, LLC
Atlanta claimant attorney, Michael Moebes, launched a comp law blog several years ago. Prior to this year, however, his monthly posts, while excellent in terms of quality, were not numerous enough for consideration as a “Top Blog.” Moebes has been much more active in 2012 and his blog now joins our annual list. Many of his offerings are practical in approach—see his June 25, 2012 article, “If I’m receiving workers’ comp benefits in Georgia, can I still work?”. There Moebes analyzed an Ohio case, McBee v. Industrial Comm’n, 2012 Ohio 2678, 2012 Ohio LEXIS 1531 (June 19, 2012), in which a claimant was disqualified from disability benefits because he “worked,” without direct compensation, for his wife’s business. Moebes noted that the decision likely would have been the same in Georgia. Others show his stance as a claimant attorney—see “Overhaul the Georgia Workers' Compensation system? No, no, no. No.,” posted March 2, 2012. Virtually all are thoughtful, carefully worded, and worth the read.
the workcomp writerhttp://www.workcompwriter.comPublished by Thomas A. Robinson
New to the list this year, but hardly new to the world of workers’ compensation law, Tom Robinson (a/k/a “the workcomp writer”) has been the primary upkeep writer for Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis) since 1993 (for seven years prior to that, he was Senior Research and Writing Assistant to Arthur Larson himself). Robinson is a contributing editor/author for more than a half dozen other comp publications and has offered up hundreds of short pieces for others on a myriad of comp issues in recent years. Launching his own blog in late 2011, Robinson is known for his unusually broad grasp of workers’ compensation case law at both a state and national level. He reads more than 2,000 reported decisions each year and highlights the most interesting and bizarre ones in his blog. See, for example, his August 18, 2012 article entitled, “Trip to the Salad Bar Proves Fatal for College Professor,” or his April 6 post, “Spouse’s “Aggressive Surveillance” Cause of Action May Proceed Against Third-Party Administrator”. But cases are not his only interest. His “Oklahoma Opt Out Legislation Fails: A Post Mortem,” filed May 8, 2012, provided a bird’s eye look at the demise of a bill that many thought was sure to pass.