Category Archives: Exclusive Remedy

Florida State Supreme Court Upholds Law’s Validity

Following up on what I reported on earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Florida unanimously decided not to review Daniel Stahl v. Hialeah Hospital, according to Business Insurance’s Stephanie Goldberg.

In my previous post, I mentioned that the 1st District Court of Appeal had ruled that attorney fee schedules violated state law.

But the Court of Appeal also ruled back in March in the above referenced case, that the workers comp system was an adequate exclusive remedy, Ms. Goldberg said in her article.

The State Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction to review the decision, and said in its ruling that, “after further consideration and hearing oral argument in this case, we have determined that we should exercise our discretion and discharge jurisdiction.”

So for the time being, it would seem that Florida’s Workers’ Compensation law is constitutional, and until other cases that are pending are resolved (see my articles, “Constitutionality of Workers’ Comp Challenged: What that could mean for Medical Travel“, “Update on Constitutionality of Work Comp in Florida“, and “Advocacy Group Petitions Florida Supreme Court to Review Work Comp Constitutionality“), Florida’s injured workers will still have something to protect them.


I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer interested in saving money on expensive surgeries, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees.

Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp.

I am also looking for a partner who shares my vision of global health care for injured workers.

I am also willing to work with any health care provider, medical tourism facilitator or facility to help you take advantage of a market segment treating workers injured on the job. Workers’ compensation is going through dramatic changes, and may one day be folded into general health care. Injured workers needing surgery for compensable injuries will need to seek alternatives that provide quality medical care at lower cost to their employers. Caribbean and Latin America region preferred.

Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies at (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: richard_krasner@hotmail.com.

Will accept invitations to speak or attend conferences.

Connect with me on LinkedIn, check out my website, FutureComp Consulting, and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com.

Transforming Workers’ Blog is now viewed all over the world in 250 countries and political entities. I have published nearly 300 articles, many of them re-published in newsletters and other blogs.

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What’s At Stake for Workers Should the GOP Win in November

LynchRyan published today an excellent article in WorkersCompInsider.com about what life was like for American workers in 1915.

The article, by Julie Ferguson, discusses a report published by the Monthly Labor Review, to commemorate their centennial.

The report chronicles the news of the day for 1915, and discusses the demographics of the day, as well as providing a portrait of daily life in the US of 1915.

Then the report describes some not so pleasant and mundane issues, such as workplace injuries whereby a woman lost her arm and continued to work because back then there was no workers’ comp laws, and as the follow excerpt says, she either could lose her job or assume the risk. Here is the excerpt:

Theodore Roosevelt, arguing in favor of workers’ compensation (then known as workmen’s compensation) laws in 1913, offered the story of an injured worker that summed up the legal recourse available for workplace injuries at the time. A woman’s arm was ripped off by the uncovered gears of a grinding machine. She had complained earlier to her employer that state law required the gears be covered. Her employer responded that she could either do her job or leave. Under the prevailing common-law rules of negligence, because she continued working she had assumed the risk of the dangerous condition and was not entitled to compensation for her injury.

Unfortunately, many Americans are convinced that the best days this country ever had was before Theodore Roosevelt became President. Grover Norquist, the author of the anti-tax pledge GOP Senators, Congressmen and other officials took some years back, said that he wanted to take the country back before Roosevelt, before the “Socialists” took over.

The Koch Brothers and men like Art Pope in NC believe in the right of businesses to do anything they want, and have been responsible for advocating such things as opt-out legislation and even attacks on the exclusive remedy clause of workers’ comp laws.

Yet, as I wrote the other day in “Trends and Issues In Workers’ Comp 2016“, the Koch Brothers drew up a bill defending exclusive remedy so that businesses would be spared the prospect of tort liability.

But I suspect that there are many others who do not share the Koch Brothers view of exclusive remedy, and do seek to overturn it so that we go back to the bad old days of 1915.

One other excerpt from the report discusses workplace safety, and what steps were taken back then to address them. Pay close attention to the name, Frances Perkins, not only was she the first woman cabinet member (FDR), she was also the first Secretary of Labor, as the excerpt states.

Although working in mines was notoriously dangerous, mill work could also be quite hazardous. BLS reported about 23,000 industrial deaths in 1913 among a workforce of 38 million, equivalent to a rate of 61 deaths per 100,000 workers. In contrast, the most recent data on overall occupational fatalities show a rate of 3.3 deaths per 100,000 workers. Regarding on-the-job safety, Green notes, “There was virtually no regulation, no insurance, and no company fear of a lawsuit when someone was injured or killed.” Frances Perkins, who went on to become the first Secretary of Labor (1933–45), lobbied for better working conditions and hours in 1910 as head of the New York Consumers League. After witnessing the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which caused the death of 146 mainly young, immigrant female garment workers in New York’s Greenwich Village, Perkins left her job to become the head of the Committee on Public Safety, where she became an even stronger advocate for workplace safety. From 1911 to 1913, the New York State legislature passed 60 new safety laws recommended by the committee. Workplaces have become safer, and technology has been used in place of workers for some especially dangerous tasks.

So lest you think that the Donald will make America great again, that Cruz can be trusted, that Marco is the real deal, or whatever the hell his slogan is, none of them care about the American worker, none of them care what happens to them and none of them will be able to stop their fellow Republicans from carrying out Norquist’s commandment to take the country back.

Unfortunately, it is not 1915 they want to go back to, but before 1901, the year that “Socialist” Roosevelt became president. They want to repeal the 20th century. That’s what’s at stake.

 

Change for Change’s Sake: What Real Change in Workers’ Comp Looks Like

Note: This is my 200th post, so I think you will find it to be one of the best articles I have written so far.

Every industry has its share of conferences, conventions and meetings around the country. The insurance and risk management industries, which includes the workers’ comp industry, is no exception.

In the early stage of my career, I worked for a small, retail insurance broker on New York’s Long Island, and the men in my company would attend the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) Conference every year.

I am sure they went there to learn about things other brokers were doing, make connections with insurance company executives, and workers’ comp service providers. But typically, these conferences allowed the participants to hang out with their buddies at the bar, and play a round or two of golf.

So I was mildly amused when I read an article posted today in The Workers’ Compensation Daily from Safety National Insurance Company, titled “It’s Time to Change Workers’ Compensation”.

The article discussed a recent meeting of the Harbor Health Systems 2015 MPN (Medical Provider Networks) Medical Directors, in which an executive from Sedgwick gave the keynote address. His address discussed the need for change in the approach to workers’ comp claims handling.

Harbor Health Systems is based in California, and through the writings of my fellow blogger, David De Paolo, and the personal experiences of two women I previously wrote about, “Ms. X” and “Ms. A”, the California workers’ comp system could use more than a keynote address to change the problems and abuses injured workers are receiving in that state.

FYI, Harbor Health Systems is a subsidiary of One Call Care Management, a company that for the past two years or so has been gobbling up smaller companies, especially in the pharmacy benefit management arena, as well as other smaller workers’ compensation service providers, and as Joe Paduda reported earlier this week, One Call Care Management has acquired an imaging company called MedFocus.

According to Joe, this acquisition consolidates One Call’s stranglehold on the market, so if this is the kind of change Mr. North of Sedgwick was referring to, then it is more of the same.

The article goes on to say that the role of a medical director is to be there to help injured workers to recover from their injuries and resume their lives. I believe “Ms. X” and “Ms. A” would beg to differ.

The article also goes on to say that for years, the workers’ comp medical networks have focused on two things: discount and proximity. They would send injured workers to the physician closest to the employer’s location who would agree to accept a discount on the treatment provided.

Over time, they realized this approach was flawed, and that they should identify the medical providers who produce the best outcomes and incentivize them to treat injured workers by compensating them fairly.

They are learning that when they find these superior physicians, they need to get out of their way and let them practice medicine. The rest of the article details how the industry needs to evolve in how they devote resources to claims, how to better explain the workers’ comp system and protections it provides, and to avail themselves of the opportunities the ACA provides to evolve the way medical care is delivered.

According to Mr. North, when it comes to change, there are three main categories of people:

  • Innovators – people who are truly creating change
  • Learners – people who take what innovators created and work to evolve it
  • Ignorers – people who are uncomfortable with change and have a tendency to ignore it as long as possible

He said that workers’ comp cannot evolve if they are unwilling to take risks and become innovators; otherwise change will not happen.

I agree with his analysis, and my posts have attested to that fact time and time again. Therefore using his categories, it is clear that I would be considered an innovator, since I have been advocating implementing medical travel into workers’ comp.

Workers’ comp needs to take risks, and medical travel affords them of one of those risks.

Yet, those who have derided my idea, or who have not paid any attention to what I am saying, are ignorers, and there may even be people who would see to it that medical travel never becomes part of workers’ comp.

So I would like to add a fourth category to this list. Call them defenders of the status quo, or preventers, or even saboteurs, if it ever got that far.

So what is this change Mr. North is talking about? Is it real change, or just change for the sake of change? And what does real change look like?

Real change is not keeping injured workers and the system locked in a padded cell, wrapped in a straitjacket.

Real change is not buying up smaller companies and cornering the market, so that the very idea of competition is tossed on the dustbin of history.

Real change is not doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.

Real change is not being afraid to look outside of one’s comfort zone, and outside of one’s national borders at a time when your industry is facing challenges from the expansion of out-out legislation that threatens to destroy workers’ comp, rising medical costs, physician shortages, questions of the constitutionality of exclusive remedy, negative media reports, changes in technology and diversification, and other “seismic shifts”.

Real change is becoming a learner, and I am looking for learners to work with. Real change is being fearless and recognizing that Americans are not the only ones who are able to provide quality medical care.

Real change is going with the flow of change in the world today and joining the globalized world; otherwise you stagnate and die. Time is running out. Real change is possible, but you must go after it.

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I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer interested in saving money on expensive surgeries, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees.

Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies at (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: richard_krasner@hotmail.com.

Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp.

Connect with me on LinkedIn, check out my website, FutureComp Consulting, and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com. Share this article, or leave a comment below.

Advocacy Group Petitions Florida Supreme Court to Review Work Comp Constitutionality

As I reported three weeks ago in “Breaking News on ACA and Exclusive Remedy”, the issue of constitutionality of Florida’s workers’ comp system was settled by the 3rd District Court of Appeal.

However, Stephanie Goldberg reported today in Business Insurance that an advocacy group has petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to review the case that challenges the constitutionality of the state’s workers’ comp system.

The Florida Workers’ Advocates filed an appeal with the Court to review The State of Florida v. Florida Workers’ Advocates et al.

The case questions whether workers’ comp is an adequate exclusive remedy for injured workers. This issue was discussed in my previous articles, “Constitutionality of Workers’ Comp Challenged: What that could mean for Medical Travel” and “Update on Constitutionality of Work Comp in Florida“.

As far as Florida Workers’ Advocates are concerned, the issue of the constitutionality of workers’ comp has not been settled, so expect more on this in the future.

What does it mean for you?

Probably nothing, because the Supreme Court will probably uphold the District Court of Appeal ruling that the plaintiffs had no legal standing to challenge the constitutionality, and that will settle the matter.

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I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer interested in saving money on expensive surgeries, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees.

Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies at (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: richard_krasner@hotmail.com.

Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp.

Connect with me on LinkedIn, check out my website, FutureComp Consulting, and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com. Share this article, or leave a comment below.

Breaking News on ACA and Exclusive Remedy

There are two news items to report about subjects I wrote about previously. The first item concerns the ACA, the second concerns the issue of exclusive remedy in Florida.

Regarding the first item, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), in a 6-3 decision, upheld the Affordable Care Act subsidies under the federal exchanges.

Last week, I wrote an article, “SCOTUS Decision Could Benefit Medical Travel for Workers’ Comp“, where I said that James Moore believed that should the Court decide for the plaintiff, workers’ comp claims departments might get more traffic than they can handle.

This would have been one other way in which offering medical travel for workers’ comp would occur, but there are other legal challenges, and Congress may make changes as well.

So while the Court has ruled for now that the subsidies can stay, it remains to be seen if parts of the law remain, or if it is repealed completely, especially if a Republican wins in 2016.

The second news item, exclusive remedy in Florida, was discussed originally back in August 2014, in an article called, “Update on Constitutionality of Work Comp in Florida“. This was a follow up to an earlier article, “Constitutionality of Workers’ Comp Challenged: What that could mean for Medical Travel

As reported today by Workers’ Comp Insider, a three-judge panel of the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal overturned a ruling that challenged the concept of exclusive remedy.

In their decision, the Court ruled that plaintiffs did not have legal standing and the case was moot. The appeals court did not weigh in on whether the workers-compensation system was constitutional.

David De Paolo wrote today that the question is still open, and that the organizations pushing for constitutional change are continuing to fight.

So for now, both the subsidies under the ACA and the concept of exclusive remedy in workers’ comp in Florida have passed judicial review and live on another day.

But as we are seeing with the Confederate flag issue throughout the South, there are “bitter enders” who will continue to press on despite what any court rules, even the highest court in the nation.

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I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer interested in saving money on expensive surgeries, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees.

Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies at (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: richard_krasner@hotmail.com.

Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp.

Connect with me on LinkedIn, check out my website, FutureComp Consulting, and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com. Share this article, or leave a comment below.

Workers’ Comp Besieged: Independent Views of the Problems Workers’ Comp is Facing

I had intended to write an article about the recent reports from NPR/ProPublica and OSHA about the serious harm many workers are being subjected to by the workers’ comp system, as well as write about a recent article in Mother Jones magazine attacking the opt-out issue that I have written about in the past.

However, David De Paolo has written a good article that I want to share with you today, as well as my comment to him in response.

Here is David’s article:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/year-awareness-david-depaolo?trk=hb_ntf_MEGAPHONE_ARTICLE_POST

Here is my comment to him this morning:

David,

I wrote to Michael Grabell last week and gave him my research on the employee/employer choice of physician issue, which I think he got wrong. He said that there were 37 states that limited choice, but he did not read the text to the WCRI report from last April that listed all of the option employees had. As is usual with politically oriented journalists, they assume that if there is a complex set of rules, then that is a restriction on the rights of people. It isn’t. It is just that allowing an injured worker to choose any doctor, especially his private doctor, does not work when you are dealing with occupational injuries, as many of them are not trained to treat them, so the state legislatures established guidelines for the choice of physicians that employees can have. Also, I read the MJ article, and wrote the author, but have not had any response. I was a subscriber to MJ years ago, and understand their point of view, but I agree with your assessment to a point. Yet, there is some validity to MJ’s suspicions, in light of the way businesses and politicians are rolling back the gains of the labor movement and taking the country back to the late 19th century when workers had no rights, no benefits, and were at the mercy of the so-called “free market” that government, and in particular, work comp was supposed to deal with. I support the opt-out option only as far as it will allow workers to get better care in medical facilities that are less expensive and have equal or better quality of care. I do not support ARAWC if their real motive is to gut workers’ comp and get rid of it altogether.

I was a little conflicted when I read the Mother Jones article, especially since I have been so supportive of opt-out with regard to implementing medical travel into workers’ comp, but I want to make this perfectly clear, echoing a now disgraced ex-president, that: I, in no way support the dismantling and elimination of workers’ compensation altogether, just so that the extreme right-wing, free-market libertarian types, win and workers lose, as we are seeing in many states across the nation.

David is right when he says that opt-out must have reasonable protections that meet the essential elements of work injury protection and that means taking care of an injury for life and not stacking dispute resolution in favor of one party or the other.

And he is also right that we need to become more aware of the problems of workers’ comp, and not wish that “everything is beautiful” and therefore any discussion of the ills of workers’ comp, even ones that rely on anecdotes and personal stories, rather than statistics and data, are not to be accepted or given credence.

Disraeli said this about lies: “There are three types of lies — lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

Paul Broduer said: “Statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off.”

So statistics can only tell us so much. It’s the lives of real people brought forth in articles like the one in Mother Jones, or the reports by NPR/ProPublica and OSHA that really have any real value, because there are real human beings in there, not a bunch of numbers.

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I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer who is sick and tired of being bled by the Wall Street vulture capitalists and the entire medico-legal system known as workers’ comp, to save money, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees, while at the same time, helping to break the monopoly of the American health care cartel.

Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies, (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: richard_krasner@hotmail.com. Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp. Connect with me on LinkedIn and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com. Share this article, or leave a comment below.

STOP THE MADNESS!!!

As this is my official 150th post, I thought that the following post from David De Paolo needs to be seen by everyone who cares about the direction the US is headed, the way the global economy is headed, and what is happening to the working class in the US, especially injured workers such as Glenn Johnson, Cecilia Watt, Linda Ayres, and many others.

We have been lulled to sleep by a slick talking former Hollywood actor (a third rate one, and second rate president), his media and political consultants, a kinder, gentler grandfather figure with two dummy ex-governor sons, their media and political consultants, talk radio pundits who abuse and insult those they do not like, and a conservative movement funded by the late Richard Mellon Scaife, the Koch Brothers, Art Pope, Rupert Murdoch, and many others, to take this country back more than one hundred years when workers had no rights and bosses were like gods.

David’s excellent post should make us all pause to consider what we are doing to our fellow Americans and be angry, for unless you are a millionaire or billionaire, you too can experience the same or similar circumstances these people have gone through, and worse.

To paraphrase Marx (that’s Karl, not Groucho), “Worker’s of the World, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your lives!”

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/option-necrosis-david-depaolo?trk=hb_ntf_MEGAPHONE_ARTICLE_POST

If you are as angry and disturbed over this blatant disregard for the dignity of working people, and are tired of the “system” being run for the benefit of the insurers and those who benefit financially, then contact me for more information on how we can offer injured workers better medical care that actually saves money, and does not allow profiteers to abuse people.