State of the States October 21, 2022

Long Covid 1391606541

The NCCI latest report indicates that 24 percent of all covid claims in workers’ compensation have or did have long covid

NationalTwenty-four percent of covid-19 claims in workers’ compensation have or did have long covid, according to NCCI. In all, 20 percent of non-hospitalized and 47 percent of hospitalized workers with covid claims developed long covid. When looking at demographics, the 51-60 age group experienced higher rates of long covid (34.9% hospitalized & 30.4% non-hospitalized), with females accounting for most of such claims. Findings show that long covid required a wide array of complex treatments with more than 150 medical codes associated with diagnosis and grouped into eight symptom groups. The most common issues (in order) were pulmonary, cardiovascular, neurological, systemic, endocrine, autoimmune, mood disorders, and sleep disorders. Hospitalized patients required the most care as one of the top three medical services for these patients included long-term home health services. Regarding prescriptions, pulmonary inhalers were utilized heavily by both non-hospitalized patients with long covid. 

OSHA data from national and state entities demonstrates that Amazon’s speed goals in warehouses are hazardous, leading to chronic injuries over time

NationalData from OSHA and state entities indicates that Amazon's speed goals in warehouses are hazardous for workers. Strains, sprains, and other related injuries are four times as common at Amazon warehouses compared to similar workplace setups. Regulators believe that minor injuries suffered by workers turn into chronic issues over time, causing several severe musculoskeletal injuries. Muscle and joint damage accounted for 40 percent of Amazon workplace injuries. Loading trailers, pulling pallets/carts, and unloading trailers saw the highest injury rates in Amazon warehouses, compared to picking, stowing, and packing merchandise which saw the lowest injury rate at Amazon facilities. State of Washington data shows that the average number of days to heal from workplace injuries at an Amazon facility is 103. In response to safety critiques, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos rolled out plans earlier this year aimed to reduce workplace injuries by 40 percent in the next three years. 

New electronic prescribing rules call for updated standards to the state’s prescription drug monitoring program (ILPMP)

ILThe Land of Lincoln introduced new electronic prescribing rules to update standards within the state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Recent additions to e-prescribing laws require each prescriber possessing an Illinois Controlled Substance License to register with the ILPMP (the state’s PDMP). Modifications also include a mandate for each prescriber or their designee to document in the patient's medical record an attempt to access patient information in the ILPMP to assess patient access to controlled substances when providing an initial CII opioid prescription except for oncology treatment, palliative care, or for a 7-day or less supply to treat an acute, traumatic medical condition.

A decision from a state appeals court determined that injured workers are not entitled to full reimbursement for out-of-pocket medical cannabis expenses

injured-workers-pharmacy-blog-new-mexicoA Court of Appeals ruled that an injured worker is not entitled to full reimbursement for out-of-pocket medical cannabis expenses. A grocery worker awarded benefits including continuing medical care qualified for medical cannabis under the state's "compassionate use" laws. New Mexico is one of the handful of states allowing medical cannabis to be reimbursed in workers' compensation based on judicial precedent. The injured worker requested reimbursement of $453.05 for medical cannabis. A carrier handling the injured workers claim reimbursed just a fraction of the $453.05, instead paying out just $108.18. In response to the low reimbursement, the carrier said it is the most the injured worker could be reimbursed under the state's fee schedule. A Court of Appeals Judge concurred with the insurance carrier affirming the reimbursement to be appropriately calculated according to the state's fee schedule. 

Toledo based firefighters diagnosed with cancer continue to clash with the city over workers’ compensation access

OHFirefighters in Toledo diagnosed with cancer are improperly compensated, according to the firefighter's union. The city of Toledo is reportedly denying workers' compensation claims for firefighters with cancer regardless of case circumstances, requiring firefighters to appeal and fight for their benefits. While appealing for their benefits, these firefighters are forced to rely on sick leave and whatever PTO they may have. If the cancer-stricken firefighters run out of time, they are at the mercy of their co-workers to donate sick time and PTO. With public pressure, the city has altered its stance, accepting more claims than before. Regardless, advocates say that access issues remain present. While the Buckeye state holds workers' compensation presumptions in statute for firefighters diagnosed with cancer, several municipalities will challenge cancer claims promptly in attempts to save on medical and indemnity costs. This circumstance potentially delays care for injured workers dealing with cancer, which could ultimately lead to higher treatment costs down the line.  Some municipalities in response claim that bolstered financial support from state governments could assist with relieving economic pressures on towns and cities when it comes to workers’ compensation funds.

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