We recently read an account of a 48-year-old female who had two complete knee replacements and got hired as a housekeeper. Within the first three months, she injured her bad knee, and the cost of her workers’ comp claim will be in the tens of thousands of dollars. If this employee had received a pre-placement screening prior to her hiring, the doctor may have recommended her for a different position
According to a recent study by the National Institute of Health (NIH), hotel workers have higher rates of occupational injury and illness compared with workers in other service industries, particularly in the area of musculoskeletal disorders. So is it any wonder why so many hotel employers are throwing up their arms in surrender every time they see their workers’ compensation premiums soar out of control? Many employers treat those premiums with a “there’s nothing I can do about it” mentality when there actually is something that can be done.
The starting point is always your experience mod, or the numbers that dictate what you will pay in premiums, based on your industry. Fifty percent of all experience modifiers are incorrect, and 80 percent of all experience modifiers are mismanaged. You need to understand the importance of managing and reducing your experience modifier—it’s not just a number. Taking a passive or nonchalant attitude can cost you plenty. And this can happen in a number of ways: misclassifications, incorrect payroll audits, recovery at work programs that are weak or in some cases non-existent, and an overall lack of an established safety culture.
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A workers’ compensation judge (WCJ) found Dr. Reeve didn’t prescribe medical marijuana and concluded that the pot program wasn’t reasonable and necessary medical care as required by workers’ comp…the appeals court had found the certification required under the Compassionate Use Act by a person licensed in New Mexico to prescribe and administer controlled substances is the functional equivalent of a prescription.
In a state where medical marijuana is legal, a recent court decision has reinforced a previous one regarding pot prescriptions under workers’ comp.
Miguel Maez suffered injuries to his lumbar spine in February and March 2011 while working for Riley Industrial in New Mexico.
Maez received temporary disability benefits under workers’ comp. Dr. Anthony Reeve treated him for back pain starting in June 2011 and prescribed medication for pain management. He also referred Maez to another doctor for spinal injections.
During a test required for pain management patients, Maez tested positive for marijuana. Dr. Reeve told Maez that if he was going to continue to take marijuana, he needed to have a license for Dr. Reeve to continue administering other narcotics.
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