Workers' Compensation News - July 7, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 227

The Coordination of Benefits (COB) Contractor is available to address attorney groups to fully explain Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) liability issues and policies. The COB Contractor and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) representatives will provide educational seminars regarding the COB operation and CMS’s rights in no-fault, liability, and workers’ compensation (WC) cases.

Posttraumatic stress disorder suffered by claimant after following employer's order to evacuate employer's premises, which was in close proximity to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, did not arise out of and in the course of his employment so as to be compensable; claimant's observation of the devastation caused by the terrorist attacks, most of which was voluntarily extended by claimant's lingering at the site and occurred on a side street some 50 feet or more from his employer's premises, was not sufficiently closely associated with his employment such that the onset of his posttraumatic stress disorder happened as an incident and risk of employment.
Betro v. Salomon Smith Barney 2004 WL 1349950 N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.,2004.June 17, 2004.

Claimant's receipt of state disability retirement benefits did not require a reduction in her discretionary permanent partial disability benefits.
Starks v. University of Connecticut 2004 WL 1433112 Conn.,2004.(Released 7.6.04)

As the global campaign to ban asbestos gathers momentum, more countries and organizations are restricting the use of chrysotile (white asbestos). Attempting to reverse the fall in global demand, asbestos stakeholders have redoubled marketing efforts in countries such as India where health and safety regulations are not strictly enforced. In the Canadian asbestos heartland, public and media awareness has grown and industry’s influence has weakened. In response, chrysotile producers are pressing federal and provincial governments for mandatory increases in consumption, despite new research documenting an asbestos cancer epidemic. Key words: asbestos; global campaign; chrysotile.
10 International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health 2, Apr/June 2004

Compensation Judge for the State of New Jersey from 1955 to 1984
Mr. Sickenger died Tuesday, June 22, 2004 in the Community Medical Center, Toms River. An attorney, he maintained a practice in Paterson and also represented several municipal boards. He served as judge of compensation for the State of New Jersey from 1955 to 1984. Mr. Sickenger graduated from the former John Marshall Law School, South Orange, in 1939 and was admitted to the New Jersey Bar that year. 
An Army Air Force veteran of World War II, he served from 1942 to 1946 in the Pacific Theater and as an administrative and personnel officer from 1946 to 1955. Surviving are a son, Wilbur C. Jr.; a daughter, Peggy Ann Slavick; two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

The widespread occurrence of medical debt and its impact on people's access to health care and financial security recently have emerged as serious concerns. The Commonwealth Fund's Biennial Health Insurance Survey found that two of five adults in the U.S. in 2003 had problems related to medical bills or accrued medical debt. Of those, more than four of 10 used all or most of their savings to pay these bills.1
Recent developments at the national, state, and local levels have focused attention on inflated charges for hospital care imposed on uninsured patients, and on the aggressive collection tactics some hospitals use to collect payment from "self-pay" patients. These developments have significantly altered the environment related to hospital billing and collection practices. As a result, changes in how hospitals charge for care and collect payment—practices that are major contributors to medical debt—are in the offing.
Unintended Consequences: An Update on Consumer Medical Debt, Carol Pryor and Robert Seifert
The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University

In a new study, NIOSH scientists found that riding a bicycle having a saddle without a protruding nose significantly reduced physical pressure to the groin that has been associated with a measure of erectile dysfunction. The study provides new information and recommendations to help researchers and others address the question of whether men face a risk of sexual dysfunction or impotence from occupational bicycle riding. The report, “Effects of Bicycle Saddle Designs on the Pressure to the Perineum of the Bicyclist,” was published in the June 2004 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (Volume 36, Number 6, pp. 1055-1062). An abstract of the report and access to the full text are available through the journal’s web page, For further information on NIOSH research pertaining to the assessment of effects associated with occupational cycling, visit the NIOSH web page at

CAAA ( California Applicants Attorneys Association) 
Advocates for injured workers today called for workers’ compensation insurers to reduce premiums by 30% to pass on to employers billions of dollars from two rounds of cuts to injured workers’ medical care and benefits. Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi today issued his pure premium advisory rate calling for a reduction of 21%.

AIA (American Insurance Association)
Applicant attorneys, who have been lining their pockets with profits by abusing California’s workers’ compensation system, do not want to see their gravy train end so they are working to undermine the recently enacted reforms any way they can, says the American Insurance Association (AIA). Today, applicant attorneys are continuing their public campaign against reform by staging protests outside workers’ compensation appeals board offices statewide.\\webdb1