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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Consider the risks involved when an employee travels overseas for work. Courts have often ruled that an injury or illness that an employee suffers while on short term assignment away from home—even if he or she is not working when it occurs—is work-related. But a basic workers’ compensation policy will probably not cover this type of claim. A foreign workers’ compensation policy will. Although no law requires employers to provide this coverage, you risk paying medical and lost-time costs out of pocket if you do not have coverage and a traveling employee becomes injured.
You might think your workers’ compensation covers all work-related injuries and illnesses. This could prove a costly mistake.
In most cases, workers’ compensation will cover work-related injuries and illnesses. But in certain special circumstances—which might apply to your company—the basic workers’ compensation policy will not provide coverage. This could leave your company on the hook for a costly workers’ compensation claim.
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California employers are required by law to have workers’ comp insurance, even if they have only one employee. The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) imposes assessments on employers to cover the cost of potential workers comp claims. The amount a business pays into the system depends on how many employees a business has and what its total payroll is.
California has been ranked as the most expensive state for workers’ compensation costs, according to a newly released report.
The Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary from Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services shows that California businesses spend $3.48 for every $100 of payroll issued.
That’s 188 percent of the median cost of $1.85 for all 50 states. California was the third most expensive state in 2012 and the fifth most expensive in 2010.
“California’s workers’ compensation system is incredibly inefficient,” said Jerry Azevedo, a spokesman for the California-based Workers’ Compensation Action Network, which seeks to reduce costs for employers and improve services to injured workers. “It does not do a good job of achieving its goal. For as much as employers pay, they don’t get a lot out of it.”
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