Week of June 5 -  June 9, 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.
WCI 2017 Opening General Session

By Steve Rissman, Program Chair

Over the next couple of weeks, I will talk about a couple of highlights of the 2017 program for the Workers' Compensation Educational Conference.  The Conference is scheduled from Sunday, August 6 - Wednesday, August 9 with a Give Kids the World Service Project and a Gala on Saturday, August 5.  You can register at
During the last four or five years, the industry keynote has been a highlight of the convention.  Such speakers as David North from Sedgwick, Scott Hudson from Gallagher Bassett, Debbie Michel from Liberty/Helmsmann and Vince Donnelly with PMA has shared startling good insights with us.  This year, we are trying something new and unique.  Kimberly George and Mark Walls hosts of the popular "Out Front Ideas with Kimberly and Mark" have assembled a panel of industry thought leaders to discuss a topic ripped from the headlines of workers' compensation publications around the country.  The panel is presented with the hypothetical question that involves the year 2019 and the United States Supreme Court declaring state workers' compensation systems to be unconstitutional because they no longer provide a "grand bargain" to injured workers.  Recognizing the chaos that this will cause, the court gives states six months to enact a new workers' compensation legislation before implementing its order.  Our high profile panel will debate the construction of that brand new workers' compensation 2.0.  What will it include?  What will change?  Everything is on the table for this never been done before event. Read more.
Employers Cited, but Keep Endangering Employees, Report Says

By Liz Carey

On May 31, Environmental Enterprises, Inc. pleaded guilty to one count of negligent homicide in Hamilton County, Ohio court, after a four-and-a-half year long legal battle over the death of one of its workers.

Eight other charges against the company were dismissed in the plea bargain, said a spokesperson with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office in an interview with

The company, along with two of its managers, had been charged with negligent homicide, tampering with evidence, tampering with records and involuntary manslaughter following the death of 20-year-old Zachary Henzerling at its Cincinnati, OH plant. Read more.
FL Providers Ask Division of Workers' Comp to Resolve Disputes

By Liz Carey

Four Florida groups are challenging changes, in court, to the way the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation resolves payment disputes.

According to a report by Jacksonville, Florida News 4, the Florida Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (FAASC) and two HCA hospitals, as well as Automated HealthCare Solutions, a company that files claims from doctors to insurance companies, filed the challenge in Florida's Department of Administrative Hearings last week.

In dispute is whether or not the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation should resolve disputes or provide guidelines. The FAASC and HCA hospitals contend that the new rules are an "invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority." Read more.
NY State Paid Family Leave is Now Under Workers' Comp

By Angela Underwood

Family leave is attorney Luke Wright's priority.

Since the esquire with New York-based Harter Secrest & Emery LLP heard Gov. Andrew Cuomo announce the Empire state would be rolling out a more bountiful paid family leave, he has been focusing on what will take effect in January 2018.

"They did this by not creating a new law, rather they amended the workers' compensation law here in New York," Wright said of the now amended disability benefits rule portion to fall under workers' compensation law. Edited to include more than 26 weeks of paid family leave with the maximum benefit of $175 a week, New York will now offer more for families. The paid leave will assist families who are expecting a child, caring for a critically-ill loved one, or are off work due to military obligations. Read more.
Study Launches 2017 Claims Survey to Expand Differentiators of Higher Performing Organizations

By Rising Medical Solutions
The Workers' Compensation Benchmarking Study's  2017 annual survey is underway, keeping pace with the industry as it strives to do ever better in managing claims. Now in its fifth year, the study continues its potent method of validating how and what higher performing claims organizations are doing compared to industry peers. 

Reprising its 2014 survey questions, the study will not only further specify the high performer's profile on an expanded set of successful behaviors, but it also will benchmark the industry's overall progress in the past three years. Finally, the survey will continue its exploration of the emerging "claims advocacy" approach to engaging injured workers.

The study's 2017 focus was once again guided by its Advisory Council of diverse industry executives. "This is the only large-scale survey of claims leaders in workers' compensation and it's important we substantiate key best practices that are driving better performance," says Rachel Fikes, vice president and study program director at Rising Medical Solutions. "Similar to mainstream media, communications about our industry often skew to the negative. Capturing the positive behaviors organizations are employing to advance the industry's delivery of benefits is integral to the study's mission." Read more.
Chicago Skyline to Turn Green for Safety During National Safety Month

By The National Safety Council

The National Safety Council applauds building owners across Chicago for agreeing to light their properties green in observance of June as  National Safety Month. The Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago (BOMA) approved the Council's lighting request, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois building, Prudential Plaza and The Wrigley Building, 400-410 North Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill., already have agreed to participate. The National Safety Council is calling on other iconic buildings and skyscrapers both in Chicago and across the country to follow suit and help educate the public about the unprecedented rise in preventable deaths - commonly known as "accidents."

"Our 'Sweet Home Chicago' is literally lighting the way for safety," said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. "There is nothing more important than keeping each other safe, and we are proud that our hometown is leading that charge."

Every four minutes, someone dies from a preventable cause, such as a poisoning, car crash or fall. Preventable injuries account for more deaths each year than strokes, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes or suicides. More than 4,640 Illinoisans died from preventable incidents in 2014 and poisonings - driven by the opioid crisis - are the leading cause of preventable death across the state, according to Injury Facts® 2017. Read more.
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