(c) 2014 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why so many injury claims from L.A. public safety workers?

Los Angeles' police and firefighters take paid injury leave at significantly higher rates than public safety employees elsewhere in California. Why? Is it more strenuous or stressful to work in the city of Los Angeles, compared with L.A. County or Long Beach? Does the city have an older workforce more prone to injury? Or is it just so easy to game the system in L.A. that filing an injury claim has become a routine matter in the police and fire departments?
A Times investigation on Sunday revealed that 1 in 5 Los Angeles police officers and firefighters took paid injury leave at least once last year, and that not only are the number of leaves going up, but they are getting longer too. While on leave for a work-related injury, a police officer or firefighter earns 100% of his or her salary — but is exempt from federal or state taxes for a year. So it is actually more lucrative not to work than it is to work.

L.A. pays millions as police and firefighter injury claims rise
L.A. pays millions as police and firefighter injury claims rise

Meanwhile, the fire department has had to spend more money on overtime to ensure that fire stations are fully staffed, and the LAPD, which cut paid overtime, has had fewer cops on the streets. Taxpayers spent $328 million over the last five years on salary, medical care and related expenses for employees on injury leave. Oh, and the state Legislature has repeatedly expanded the kinds of work-related "injuries" covered by the policy. They include Lyme Disease and HIV and stress.
Certainly, paid...
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L.A. pays millions as police and firefighter injury claims rise

Los Angeles Fire Capt. Daniel Costa liked to go all out on the racquetball court at the LAX fire station. A fellow firefighter described him as a "very competitive" player who "likes to win."
Costa seemed in fine form after five spirited games in the fall of 2011. So his supervisor was skeptical when Costa, then 53, said he'd hurt his knee on the court and needed time off, according to a report by investigators for the city attorney's office.
Costa was out on injury leave for a year, collecting his full salary, tax-free.
In 2009, he took a nearly year-long paid leave after a run-in at the fire station with subordinates he described as "bullies." He complained of chest pain, high blood pressure and other symptoms, state records show.

Questions about injury claims
Questions about injury claims

Costa has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of an injury-leave program for Los Angeles police and firefighters that has cost taxpayers $328 million over the last five years, a Times investigation found.
Total salaries paid to city public safety employees on leave increased more than 30% — to $42 million a year – from 2009 through 2013, the five-year period studied by The Times.
The number who took leaves grew 8%, and they were out of work an average of nearly 9 weeks — a 23% increase compared with 2009.
The increased frequency and cost of leaves has forced the Fire Department to spend millions of dollars a year in overtime and reduced the number of police officers on the...
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Working Long Hours Tied to Diabetes Risk

Today's post is shared from

Working long hours may increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes, a new review has found, but the risk is apparent only in workers of lower socioeconomic status.

Long working hours are associated with diabetes risk factors — work stress, sleep disturbances, depression and unhealthy lifestyle, and some studies have found long hours associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Researchers combined data from 19 published and unpublished studies on more than 222,000 men and women in several countries.

The analysis, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, found no effect of working hours in higher socioeconomic groups. But in workers of lower socioeconomic status, working more than 55 hours a week increased the risk for Type 2 diabetes by almost 30 percent. The association persisted after excluding shift workers and adjusting for age, sex, obesity and physical activity.

The study is observational, and the lead author, Mika Kivimäki, a professor of epidemiology at University College London, said there were no intervention studies that could establish cause and effect.

“My recommendation for people who wish to decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes,” he said, “applies both to individuals who work long hours and those who work standard hours: Eat and drink healthfully, exercise, avoid overweight, keep blood glucose and lipid levels within the normal range, and do not smoke.”

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Judge agrees not to sanction RI workers’ compensation lawyer

Today's post is shared from
A Workers Compensation Court judge agreed Wednesday not to cite   lawyer Stephen J. Dennis with criminal contempt for interrupting her on  Sept. 3.
Dennis spent an hour in a courthouse cell that day, after Associate Judge Janette A. Bertness had him handcuffed and removed from her courtroom. Saying that Dennis was in contempt, Bertness ordered him to  sit in the cell for an hour “to figure out what it means to respect the court,” according to a court transcript.
Amato A. DeLuca, Dennis’s lawyer, appealed to Bertness, saying that a criminal contempt citation would likely harm Dennis’s reputation and potentially affect his ability to practice.
DeLuca said Dennis “was very anxious” as he tried to explain to Bertness why he had failed to appear as scheduled at 10 a.m. that day to represent a client.
Bertness said she would vacate the criminal contempt citation, but noted that she had had “some problems” with Dennis’s explanation of why he was late to court, and that his failure to appear and show up on time “is awful – that’s just terrible” for the client.
She also noted that Dennis “had interrupted eight times.”
Dennis also apologized.
“I did not intent to challenge your authority. I did not mean to …” Dennis said. “I did make a mistake but that was unintentional.” He added, “I think that what we do is good, and honorable...
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American Heart Association: Pay More Attention to Radiation in Imaging Procedures

The American Heart Association is urging physicians to better understand the risks of radiation in cardiac imaging procedures. When ordering these procedures physicians should understand the appropriate use of each procedure, the radiation dose associated with the procedure, and the risks associated with that dose. Both the risks and benefits should be fully explained and discussed with patients prior to the imaging procedure.
The full importance of radiation from cardiac procedures is not always appreciated, write the authors of the newly published scientific statement, “Approaches to Enhancing Radiation Safety in Cardiovascular Imaging.” But, according to Reza Fazel, the chair of the writing committee, “heart imaging procedures account for almost 40 percent of the radiation exposure from medical imaging.” The role of radiation is particularly important when considering cardiovascular imaging in younger patients for whom the lifetime risk is likely higher, said Fazel.
The statement urges physicians to discuss several important questions with their patients, including how the procedure will be used to diagnose and treat the patient’s heart problem, whether there are other available techniques that don’t use radiation, how much radiation the patient will receive, and what is known about the risk of cancer associated with the radiation dose.
Fazel offered some overall reassurance: “In general, the radiation-related...
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Federal Appeals Court Rules State Apportionment Order Not A Bar to Medicare Recovery

A Medicare recipient brought an action against Medicare challenging a determination that she was required to reimburse The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services $10,121.51 for conditional medical payments alleging that such recovery was barred by a state court's apportionment order. \

The Court of Appeals, Hardiman, Circuit Judge, held that:

(1) recipient's liability settlement from third-party tortfeasor qualified as a “primary plan” within the meaning of the Medicare as a Secondary Payer Act;

(2) recipient's $90,000 settlement with tortfeasor included her medical expenses, and thus recipient had obligation to reimburse Medicare for $10,121.15 in medical

(3) the New Jersey Collateral Source Statute (NJCSS) did not prevent Medicare from recovering medical expenses as part of her damages in tort suit;

(4) state court's order apportioning settlement proceeds did not bar government from seeking reimbursement for medical expenses;

(5) District Court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate recipient's unexhausted claim pursuant to “equity and good conscience” exception under Act; and

(6) District Court lacked federal question jurisdiction over due process claim.

"As the ALJ correctly found, the Superior Court's apportionment order was not “on the merits,” and need not be recognized by the agency. A court order is “on the merits” when it is “delivered after the court has heard and evaluated the evidence and the parties' substantive arguments.” Black's Law Dictionary 1199 (9th ed.2009); cf. Greene v. Palakovich, 606 F.3d 85, 98 (3d Cir.2010) (finding, in a criminal case, that “on the merits” means the state court “acted on the substance of [the] claim”), aff'd sub nom. Greene v. Fisher, ––– U.S. ––––, 132 S.Ct. 38, 181 L.Ed.2d 336 (2011); Thomas v. Horn, 570 F.3d 105, 115 (3d Cir.2009) (holding that state proceedings occur “on the merits” “when a state court has made a decision that 1) finally resolves the claim, and 2) resolves the claim on the basis of its substance”). Here, the state court did not adjudicate any substantive issue in the primary negligence suit. Indeed, in her motion for the order, Taransky clarified that she sought an apportionment not to resolve any outstanding issue in her suit, but “only to the extent necessary to obtain specified documentation relevant to anticipated administrative proceedings with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.” JA at 267. The state court, in effect, rubber stamped her request. Taransky's motion was uncontested, issued pursuant to a stipulation between Taransky and Larchmont, and prepared and submitted by Taransky's counsel for the judge's signature. This order is the antithesis of one made on the merits."

Taransky v Sec of US Dept of HHA, 760 F.3d 307 (3rd Cirt 2014)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Private Military Companies And The Ever-Changing Army

What will be th impact of the change upon potential Defense Based Act claims? Only time will tell. Toaay's post is shared from
Immigrants, mercenaries and the new military service
The rise of the private military - who is fighting our wars?
The rise of the private military - who is fighting our wars? © TwitterThe rise of the private military – who is fighting our wars?
Troops deployed by the thousands, adorned with camouflaged combat wear, tough boots ready to tread the ground of conflict territories and hands at one with a military-grade rifle – This is the image we often see when nations instigate , but do we ever really think about exactly who is fighting it?
It seems this vision has become more blurred in recent decades as reports have surfaced recently highlighting that immigrants, some illegal, are recruited to the service by mercenaries – what are now referred to as Private Military Companies or contractors (PMC). Fear of the companies have once again been affirmed by the newest installment of the Call of Duty franchise, Advanced Warfare, which follows mercenaries who have turned against the US Government.
But are these fears and events simply fabricated fictional narratives, or is there a dark reality lurking behind the plot?
The Military Times reports that the Department of Defence (DoD) have unveiled a new policy which will allow undocumented immigrants to join the military, and is deemed a new path for gaining citizenship in the US. Estimates have shown that between...
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