Thursday, April 30, 2009
"This document addresses the psychological and social ("psychosocial") needs of essential service workers during a severe2 influenza pandemic. Essential service workers may include health care workers, public health workers, first-responder organizations, and employees of public utilities, sanitation, transportation, and food and medicine supply-chain companies."
"Nine new lawsuits allege that KBR, Inc.jeopardized the health and safety of American soldiers and contractors in Iraqand Afghanistan by burning vast quantities of unsorted waste in enormousopen-air burn pits with no safety controls."
According to the complaints, "U.S. soldiers and other residents of the military bases and camps have become seriously ill, been diagnosed withserious and potentially fatal diseases and in some cases have died from thephysical injuries and diseases caused by the exposure to hazardous smoke and fumes."
Cases were filed by Elizabeth M. Burke Burke O'Neil LLC, a litigation boutique specializing in complex and class action litigation.
Diesel exhaust continues to be a major health hazard for certain workers. The American Lung Association has reported that, "Truck drivers, dockworkers and railroad workers may face higher risk of death from lung cancer and COPD from breathing diesel emissions on the job. Studies found that these workers who inhaled diesel exhaust on the job were much more likely to die from lung cancer, COPD and heart disease."
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
In preparation for a Smallpox epidemic, the US government, several years ago, issued rules concerning illness flowing from the distribution of smallpox vaccine. Now the focus will switch from not only compensable conditions flowing from preparation to compensable and contagious diseases in the workplace.
The federal government established a no-fault program entitled the Smallpox Emergency Personnel Protection Act of 2003 (SEPPA) in an effort to provide benefits and/or compensation to certain individuals, including health-care workers and emergency responders, who are injured as a result of the administration of smallpox countermeasures including the smallpox (vaccinia) vaccine. The Department of Health and Human Services, under rule making authority, established a vaccine injury table and procedural process for filing a request for benefits and/or compensation under the Program.
Already the CDC reported today, "Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in the U.S. in San Diego County and Imperial County, California as well as in San Antonio, Texas. Internationally, human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in Mexico."
The CDC has reported that Swine flu has impacted the US in the past: "Like seasonal flu, swine flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Between 2005 until January 2009, 12 human cases of swine flu were detected in the U.S. with no deaths occurring. However, swine flu infection can be serious. In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman in Wisconsin was hospitalized for pneumonia after being infected with swine flu and died 8 days later. A swine flu outbreak in Fort Dix, New Jersey occurred in 1976 that caused more than 200 cases with serious illness in several people and one death."
As new cases become suspect, concern will focuss on the spread of the disease in the workplace environment. Over 75 students are being tested in New York City. The Governor of California has issued an alert. As of now the Federal government is directing individuals to their local workers' compensation programs. Since a pandemic could be considered a challenge to Homeland Security, the federalization of prevention, treatment and compensation may ultimately result in expansion of a nationalization of the program.
To read more about compensation for the flu click here.
"Malignant mesothelioma is a fatal cancer primarily associated with exposure to asbestos. The latency period between first exposure to asbestos and clinical disease usually is 20--40 years (1). Although asbestos is no longer mined in the United States, the mineral is still imported, and a substantial amount of asbestos remaining in buildings eventually will be removed, either during remediation or demolition. Currently, an estimated 1.3 million construction and general industry workers potentially are being exposed to asbestos (2). To characterize mortality attributed to mesothelioma, CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed annual multiple-cause-of-death records for 1999--2005, the most recent years for which complete data are available.* For those years, a total of 18,068 deaths of persons with malignant mesothelioma were reported, increasing from 2,482 deaths in 1999 to 2,704 in 2005, but the annual death rate was stable (14.1 per million in 1999 and 14.0 in 2005). Maintenance, renovation, or demolition activities that might disturb asbestos should be performed with precautions that sufficiently prevent exposures for workers and the public. In addition, physicians should document the occupational history of all suspected and confirmed mesothelioma cases."
"Although asbestos has been eliminated in the manufacture of many products, it is still being imported (approximately 1,730 metric tons in 2007) and used in the United States (3) in various construction and transportation products (6). Ensuring a future decrease in mesothelioma mortality requires meticulous control of exposures to asbestos and other materials that might cause mesothelioma. Recent studies suggest that carbon nanotubes (fiber-shaped nanoparticles), which are increasingly being used in manufacturing (9), might share the carcinogenic mechanism postulated for asbestos and induce mesothelioma (10), underscoring the need for documentation of occupational history in future cases. Capturing occupational history information for mesothelioma cases is important to identify industries and occupations placing workers at risk for this lethal disease."
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The original 1972 National Commission Workers' Compensation Laws made 19 "essential recommendations." The US Department of Labor in 2004 compared the efforts by States to comply.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Wilde v Township of Cranford, NJ Spp. Div. A-3391-07T2 - Decided April 17, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
St. John's Hospital, 2009WL 1009621 (N.Y. Workers' Compensation Board 2009) Decided April 6, 2009
Canadian Government Report Reveals Strong Link Between Lung Cancer and Chrysotile Asbestos Mined in Canada
The bill establishes a standard requiring that a claimant prove that a defendant's product or conduct was a substantial factor in causing an injury and that the exposed person's cumulative exposure to asbestos fibers was the cause of person's mesothelioma.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Asbestosis deaths among U.S. residents age 15 and over have increased from 78 in 1968 to 1,493 in 2000 and then decreased slightly to 1,470 in 2004. (Ref. No. 2007F01-01, 2007T01-01). Data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) indicate a trend towards lower asbestos exposure levels from 1979 to 1999, concomitant with mandated reductions in the OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL). However, data indicate a steady increase in asbestos exposure levels in the mining industry for the years 2000 through 2003 and a slight rise in all other industries in the two years previous to 2003. (Ref. No. 2007F01-05, 2007T01-12).
Residents of California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington together accounted for nearly half of all asbestosis deaths in the 1995 to 2004 period. (Ref. No. 2007T01-04).
There were over 15,000 malignant mesothelioma deaths among U.S. residents age 15 and over accounting for more than 200,000 years of potential life lost to life expectancy in the 1999–2004 period. (Ref. No. 2007T07-01, 2007T07-03). For 1999–2004, nearly 20% of mesothelioma decedents were female. (Ref. No. 2007T07-01). Occupations associated with significantly elevated mesothelioma mortality in 1999 include plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters; mechanical engineers; electricians; and elementary school teachers. (Ref. No. 2007T07-09).
The Work-Related Lung Disease (WoRLD) Surveillance System, produced by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), presents up-to-date summary tables, graphs, and figures of occupationally-related respiratory disease surveillance data on the pneumoconioses, occupational asthma and other airways diseases, and several other respiratory conditions. For many of these diseases, selected data on related exposures are also presented.
Friday, April 10, 2009
On April 8, 2009, the drug manufacturer Genentech announced a phased withdrawal of the psoriasis drug Raptiva® (efalizumab) from the U.S. market.
Since October 2008, Raptiva® has been associated with a higher risk for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare, and often fatal neurologic viral disease that affects the central nervous system. The associations between Raptiva® and PML are generally associated with individuals with weakened immune systems.
Symptoms of PML may include:
-Loss of coordination
-Changes in vision
-Other neurological changes
There are no known effective therapeutic options for PML, and no known screening tests that can reliably predict PML. The PML infection often leads to an irreversible decline in neurologic and brain function and death. People who live with PML are severely disabled.
The product withdrawal plans to remove Raptiva® by June 8, 2009. According to the FDA, prescribers should not initiate new Raptiva® treatment.. The phased withdrawal is designed to allow patients time to find other effective treatments for psoriasis so as to avoid severe worsening of the condition or hospitalization.
History of Raptiva®
Raptiva® was approved by the FDA in 2003. It is a once-weekly injection for adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
Genentech began receiving reports of PML among Raptiva® users as early as September 2008. On October 16, 2008, the Raptiva® label was updated to warn of the risk of life-threatening infections, including PML. A Public Health Advisoryinforming patients and prescribers of the risk of PML in patients taking Raptiva® was issued in February 2009, after four patients developed PML, three of whom died. On March 13, 2009, the FDA approved a Medication Guide for Raptiva® and included additional information in the drug's labeling regarding PML.
FDA Notice Withdrawal 4/8/2009
FDA Labeling Notice Updated 10/20/2008
FDA Public Health Advisory 2/19/2009
Such an expansion would expand the involvement of CMS's roll in the workers' compensation program under the Medicare Secondary Payor Act to seek reimbursement.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Peg Seminario, the AFL-CIO’s director for safety and health, says Barab is an “excellent choice” for OSHA deputy assistant secretary.
He has decades of experience in safety and health working in the labor movement, at OSHA and in the House of Representatives on a broad range of issues. He has a deep commitment and dedication to protecting workers and will bring to OSHA the kind of energy and leadership that is sorely needed to move the agency in a new direction.
Liability Insurance (including Self-Insurance), No-Fault Insurance and Workers’ Compensation
Date: April 9, 2009
Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern Time
Participation is by telephone only. (The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will not have space for individuals/entities to participate onsite at CMS).
Call-in Line: 800 779 4354
Pass Code: SECTION 111
Please begin dialing in approximately 20-30 minutes before the call due to the large number of participants.
Click here for Notice and Agenda
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
1. "...parties should not send unsigned settlements to CMS";
2. "...settlements signed by a judge which are not based on a transcribed court record would violate our law since judges must find a settled case resolution fair and just on the court record presented";
3. "Up to date Medicare information must be obtained prior to the entry of a signed workers' compensation order that needs final CMS approval";
4. "When a case is settled, the parties can agree on language in the settlement that a party, usually the petitioner, will be responsible for any additional CMS reimbursements. The petitioner is generally identified since only the petitioner can petition CMS for a waiver from additional payments on hardship or equity grounds. We are advised that such waivers when supported are most often granted;" and
5. "As an alternative, the parties can agree in Orders Approving Settlements (but not Section 20 Orders [lump sum payments in lieu of compensation]) and the judge can insert language in judgments that the parties have the right to reopen the case ifthere are additional Medicare reimbursements and a dispute as to which party is responsible for the payment."
The memorandum goes on to caution the parties that if the parties and the Court are uable to agree upon settlement terms, then a trial and judicial resolution will be required.
Wisconsin Workers' Compensation Law, 2009 ed. (Vol. 17, Wisconsin Practice Series) By Charles F. Domer, Thomas M. Domer
"We also will give any interested person or entity until 5pm on Friday, May 1, 2009 to file an amicus curiae brief and to serve that brief on all counsel in both the Almaraz and Guzman cases."
Alvaraz v. Environmental Recovery Services, et al.
"The CMS will begin independently pricing future prescription drug treatment costs/expenses in WCMSA proposals beginning June 1, 2009. Effective with complete WCMSA submissions received by CMS’ Coordination of Benefits (COB) Contractor on or after June 1, 2009, where the WC related injury warrant(s) the need of prescription drugs for the ongoing treatment of the WC related injury, CMS’ independent pricing of the prescription drug amount will be calculated and priced using average wholesale price (AWP). The CMS will not use or recognize any other pricing, discounting, or calculation methods when determining the adequacy of the prescription drug amounts in WCMSA proposals. "
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Bailey
“If we can identify the ’sentinel’ or first cases of asbestosis or lung cancer at an early stage, then we can help identify asbestos exposures in places where it might not have previously been suspected,” said Harbut, who is also chief of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Wayne State University.
Friday, April 3, 2009
"We were asked about the 12/5/80 date for liability and no fault and the date of incident. Yes we say that in general CMS is determined that it won’t pursue recovery if the date of CMS defined date of incident is prior to 12/5/1980. But then we give an example of a situation with a continuing DOI specifically with respect to exposure.
"If it’s easier for you to think of it that way, if you have a situation with exposure and that exposure continues on or after 12/5/80 it’s really like you’ve got a series of continuous multiple DOIs and we only require you to report the first DOI but yes we do have a recovery claim in that situation.
Transcript of Teleconference 3/24/1980, page 12
"We received another question about deceased beneficiaries, were they covered under the reporting; yes they are. If someone is a Medicare beneficiary or was a Medicare beneficiary at any of the time period issue the claim has to be reported if it meets the other criteria."
Transcript of Teleconference 3/24/09, page 5
Death benefits to dependents, are those reportable? Again you go back to what we’ve referenced in the manual where something that doesn’t claim or release or have the effect of releasing medicals with respect to the beneficiary does not need to be reported. But if it does any other those things then yes it needs to be reported.
Transcript of Teleconference 3/24/09, page 12