Week of May 15 - 19, 2017             
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Welcome to your weekly WCI Newsletter. We have selected the top stories that appeared on our website this week to help you stay up to date on what is happening in the world of workers' compensation and insurance. Enjoy.
Past NCAA President Says Students Shouldn't Receive Workers' Comp

By Angela Underwood

In 2013, civil rights historian and Pulitzer Prize winning author Taylor Branch brought up the matter of collegiate athletes receiving workers' compensation.

One can assume: If it wasn't for the teams, there wouldn't be multi-million-dollar revenue for colleges across the nation. Taking this stance in a 2011 Atlantic report, Branch claimed the "NCAA's 'student-athlete' regimen an outlier from any norm."

"Its hybrid pretense harms athletes on both fronts, reducing them to jock status in academic life and pupil-serfdom in commercialized sports," Branch wrote, immediately stirring up dust on the court. After the 2011 report ran, PBS interviewed Branch. Read more.
Automation Has Mixed Impact on Workers' Comp Claims

By Liz Carey

As technology provides improvements to accuracy, productivity and costs, it doesn't necessarily reduce workers' compensation costs. 

According to a study by Carl Frey and Michael Osborne with the Oxford University Engineering Sciences Department, a rise in automation and robotics in American workplaces could lead to up to 47 percent of U.S. employees losing their jobs. 

And as the use of robots and automation grows in the workforce, many assume that workers' compensation costs will naturally go down. Read more.
CO Bill Aims to Safeguard Injured Workers from Uninsured Employers

By Angela Underwood

A fund to protect the injured worker from uninsured employers passed last week in Colorado.

Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Arvada and Westminster) spoke to before hitting the legislative floor that morning on the final day of the legislative session to see whether or not  HB 1119 would be passed by her peers.

It did, 30-5.

Rep. Kraft-Tharp, who chairs the Business Affairs and Labor Committee and the Legislative Audit Committee, said while 20 other states have similar laws and programs to protect the injured worker, Colorado's bill is unique. The state passed a 2005 law that makes it mandatory that uninsured employers without workers' comp are issued a violation. They can be fined anywhere from $250 to $500 dollars a day. Read more.
Opioid Alternatives Webinar: Moving Away from 'Cookie Cutter Guidelines'

By Dara Barney
Out Front Ideas hosts Kimberly George of Sedgwick and Mark Walls of Safety National ran a webinar this week entitled "Alternatives to Opioids for Pain Treatment," which included Dr. Beth Darnall of Stanford University and Dr. Steve Stanos of Swedish Medical System. 

The first topic was the Center for Disease Control's guidelines released in March 2016. Some parts of the country embraced the guidelines, but Dr. Stanos was afraid some of it was misinterpreted. He recommended evaluating benefits early on with patients so they can benefit from a pain and function standpoint. 

"Put patients on a short term trial, then stop the therapy if it doesn't work. Some physicians think once they have a patient on a certain opioid, that they should stay on it," he said, adding a problem with high dose opioids is that patients need to be weaned slowly, and treated empathetically or depression/anxiety could result. Read more.
National Safety Council Releases Annual Compilation of the Leading Causes of Preventable Death

By The National Safety Council

The National Safety Council today released the 2017 edition of Injury Facts® - the definitive annual publication for preventable deaths and injuries in the United States for nearly 100 years. Preventable deaths - commonly known as "accidents" - have reached an all-time high, with 146,571 Americans dying in 2015 from causes such as drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes, falls, choking and drowning.  The number of people killed in preventable incidents trails only heart disease, cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease, and outpaces strokes, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

"Good data help us make good decisions, and Injury Facts® gives us a roadmap for eliminating preventable deaths in our lifetime," said Ken Kolosh, statistics manager and Injury Facts author at the National Safety Council. "We hope government officials, business leaders, safety professionals and anyone working to make the world a safer place will use Injury Facts® to shape decision making and inform injury prevention efforts." Read more.
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