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Workers' Compensation News - February 20, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 8 CompAssist (tm)

 FREE CHOICE OF MEDICAL CARE. Ten Years' Experience Using an Integrated Workers' Compensation Management System to Control Workers' Compensation Costs. Study indicates that COSTS would be lower in such a system. Edward J. Bernacki, MD, MPH, Shan P. Tsai, PhD JOEM 45:5 pp 508-516

Injured Workers' Advocates Call for Insurance Rate Regulation
Call Garamendi Plan "incomplete and flawed" Injured workers’ advocates today renewed their call for workers’ compensation insurance rate regulation, and called Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi’s proposed changes “incomplete” for failing to include caps on rates, and “flawed” for sentencing injured
Insurers Report Record 2003 Profits: Pocket millions while pushing to cut injured workers’ benefits

 Insurance companies are reporting that 2003 was the fattest year on record, while they push to cut meager benefits to injured workers. Many of the insurers writing worker’s compensation policies in California reported “record net income and underwriting income in 2003,” figures in line with other companies’ banner profits.

Workers' Compensation News - February 13, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 7

New Drug Helps Asbestos-Linked Cancer. First Treatment for Rare Lung Cancer. It's not a cure. But a new drug offers precious extra months of life to people with a rare, asbestos-linked cancer.. The drug, Alimta, from Eli Lilly and Company, today received FDA approval for use in combination with cisplatin chemotherapy. It will be used to treat malignant mesothelioma. It strikes some 2,000 Americans each year, mostly due to asbestos exposure. Worldwide, as many as 15,000 people each year are told they will die of mesothelioma.

Parkinsonism due to manganism in a welder

 A 33-year-old right-handed male presented complaining of a 2-year history of progressive cognitive slowing, rigidity, tremors, slowing of movements, and gait instability leading to falls. On examination, he had a Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) score of 29, slowed saccadic eye pursuit, hypomimia, cogwheel rigidity, a 3- to 4-Hz tremor, and a "cock-walk" gait. His symptoms and signs were similar to idiopathic Parkinson's disease; however, he was young, inattention and forgetfulness occurred early in the course of the disorder, levodopa was unhelpful, and his gait was atypical.

Labor's California Workers' Compensation Proposal

 Adopting the recommendations of the recently released report on PD and Wage Loss issued by the RAND Institute, organized Labor proposes to implement a series of substantive reforms to California’s PD and RTW components within the workers’ compensation system. These proposals will promote efficiency, consistency and cost-savings within the system, without diminishing benefits for injured workers. Additionally, these proposals create incentives to return injured workers to work by dismantling current system components which serve to keep workers in the system too long without going back to work.

Road Rage Assault Held To Be Non-Compensable

 The Supreme Court of North Carolina held that a truck driver' who while traveling exited his truck an assualted anothe driver in a fit of road rage was not within the course of his employmnt and therefor his dependents were not permitted to collect benenfit.

An Air That Kills: How the Asbestos Poisoning of Libby, Montana Uncovered a National Scandal

 The horrifying true story of the decades-long poisoning of a small town and the definitive exposé of asbestos in America-told by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists who broke it.

FDA has approved Alimta for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved Alimta (pemetrexed disodium) for use in combination with cisplatin for the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma - a rare type of cancer. Alimta received a priority review and is designated as an orphan drug. It is the first drug approved for this condition.

Workers' Compensation News - February 1, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 5

WORKER AWARDED $12 MILLION - WC BAD FAITH. Court awards $12 million in workers' compensation case. A former nursing home worker has been awarded more than $12 million in a judgment against three insurance companies that denied her workers' compensation claim. The Rapid City jury returned its verdict - $60,000 in compensatory damages and $12 million in punitive damages - last week after a a four-day trial in federal court.''An insurance adjuster is supposed to be like a judge, fair and impartial. ... If you bribe a judge, you get thrown in jail. But they bribe these claims adjusters with bounties that are tied directly to their performance in paying claims.'' 

Halliburton sets aside $1.1billion for claims

 US energy firm Halliburton has revealed a $1.1bn (£607m) charge to cover claims from people suffering from asbestos-related diseases. Halliburton, formerly headed by US vice-president Dick Cheney, yesterday revealed a $947m net loss in the fourth quarter of the year, despite a large increase in revenues from its controversial contracts in Iraq.

Radical Surgery for Mesothelioma: The Epidemic Is Still to Peak and We Need More Research to Manage it

 One in every hundred men born in the 1940s will die of die of malignant pleural mesothelioma, which is almost exclusively a consequence of exposure to asbestos, with a lag time that is rarely less than 25 years and often more than 50 years from first exposure. Half of all cases are now aged over 70, with 80% in men. For a man first exposed as a teenager, who remained in a high risk occupation, such as insulation, throughout his working life, the lifetime risk of mesothelioma can be as high as one in five.w1 There are now over 1800 deaths per year in Britain (about one in 200 of all deaths in men and one in 1500 in women), and the number is still increasing.1 w2 As exposure in the United Kingdom continued until 1980 the peak of the epidemic is still to come, and we need a strategy to manage these patients.

 
Neurologic effects of manganese in humans

Manganese, which enters the body primarily via inhalation, can damage the nervous system and respiratory tract, as well as have other adverse effects. Occupational exposures occur mainly in mining, alloy production, processing, ferro-manganese operations, welding, and work with agrochemicals.

Pregnant women should not be exposed to manganese at the work place.

 Manganese, an essential trace element, is one of the most used metals in the industry. Recently, several new manganese compounds have been introduced as fungicide, as antiknock agent in petrol and as contrasting agent in nuclear magnetic resonance tomography. Manganese displays a somewhat unique behaviour with regard to its toxicity. It is relatively non-toxic to the adult organism except to the brain where it causes Parkinson-like symptoms when inhaled even at moderate amounts over longer periods of time.

Abnormal concentrations of manganese in the brain are associated with neurological disorders similar to Parkinson's disease.

 Manganese, an essential trace metal, is supplied to the brain via both the blood-brain and the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barriers. There are some mechanisms in this process and transferrin may be involved in manganese transport into the brain. A large portion of manganese is bound to manganese metalloproteins, especially glutamine synthetase in astrocytes.

Welder Awarded $1 Million In Jury Trial

 A Madison County jury awarded him $1 million in what may be a foreboding verdict for makers of welding rods. Elam claimed fumes from welding caused his disease or caused him to get it at an early age.

The NJ Workers' Compensation Death Penalty Still Continues!

S1522 Concerns workers' compensation for occupational disease claims and workers' compensation benefits rates for surviving dependents.Bills and Joint Resolutions Signed by the Governor

The Truth About the "Unimpaired" Victims of Asbestos Exposure

 The proponents of S.1125, the "Fairness In Asbestos Resolution Act of 2003," have claimed repeatedly that the majority of the awards paid in asbestos cases have gone to individuals who are not truly injured - yet, nothing could be further from the truth. This misleading and false argument is nothing more than an a cynical attempt to use a legal fiction to strengthen a political objective -- which will have the effect of denying injured workers and their families the compensation they deserve.

Limiting Job Exposures to Food Flavorings, Flavoring Ingredients, is Recommended in New Alert

 The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends in a new NIOSH Alert that employers take measures to limit employees occupational respiratory exposures to food flavorings and flavoring ingredients in workplaces where flavorings are made or used. These steps provide practical ways to reduce potential risks of occupational lung disease, NIOSH said.

President Bush Recognizes $2 Billion Federal Workers' Compensation Losses

 The cost of Federal workplace injuries, when measured by workers' compensation losses, is more than $2 billion and 2 million lost production days annually. In fiscal year 2003, the Federal workforce of almost 2.7 million filed more than 168,000 injury claims. Behind these numbers lie pain and suffering by workers and their families. Clearly, Government agencies should strive to do more to improve workplace safety and health and reduce the costs of injury to workers and taxpayers. Many workplace injuries are preventable. 

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