News Bulletins

In safety news:

As a result of a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation, El Paso Mexican Grill restaurant will pay $654,366 in back wages to 567 employees to resolve violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) found at 23 of the employer’s locations in Louisiana and Florida.

Read the full WHD statement here.

Read additional coverage from NOLA.com here.

In national news:

A federal judge has rejected a settlement deal put forth by McDonald’s Corporation that would have allowed the company to avoid joint employer status when franchise owners face labor law violations. According to Reuters, the settlement proposed in March lacked important details and would probably not bring an end to the sprawling case that began in 2012, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Administrative Law Judge Lauren Esposito in New York said in a written opinion.

Read more via Insurance Journal here.

In regulatory news:

The Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation (DCMWC) has revised the procedures for providing pulmonary rehabilitation services at a health care facility to eligible coal miners whose benefits are paid by the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. Based on the expertise of the physicians, hospitals, and clinics that treat coal miners who have black lung disease, DCMWC is eliminating the pre-certification requirement for pulmonary rehabilitation services, as well as updating and streamlining our procedures related to pulmonary rehabilitation services provided at a health care facility.

More info here.

In editorial news:

Risk & Insurance workers’ comp columnist Roberto Ceniceros’ latest piece addresses what he believes is a callous attitude toward undocumented workers.

Read it here.

In medical news:

The FDA is taking steps to strike a balance between combating opioid abuse and misuse by curbing overprescribing and still providing appropriate care for patients’ chronic and end-of-life pain, according to a statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD. While pointing out that long-term opioid prescriptions continue to be written too often, Dr. Gottlieb said the agency’s ultimate goal is to support improved prescribing practices while encouraging the development of new nonopioid treatments. However, chronic pain patients are voicing concerns.

Read more here.

 

In neighboring news:

Texas Mutual Insurance Co. announced that that two people pleaded no contest to a felony charge of engaging in organized criminal activity involving workers’ compensation healthcare fraud. The convictions are in connection to alleged fraud committed by Expert Medical Evaluators International Inc.

Read more here.

In economic news:

Real average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls were unchanged from June 2017 to June 2018, according to new Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. Real average hourly earnings combined with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek resulted in a 0.2-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.

Read more here.

 

In safety news:

Through an alliance with OSHA, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) will host a free webinar on July 25th focusing on heat illness prevention. Understanding heat stress hazards and solutions is crucial to the safety and health of landscape and lawn care workers.

Visit the NALP website to create an account and register for the webinar.

In regulatory news:

The Department of Justice recently announced the finalization of an April proposal to improve the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to control the diversion of dangerous drugs in the midst of the national opioid crisis. Announced in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the final rule sent for publication in the Federal Register establishes that DEA will take into consideration the extent that a drug is diverted for abuse when it sets its annual opioid production limits.

Read more here.

In industry news:

Tax reform, a growing economy and lower catastrophe losses helped U.S. property/casualty insurers more than double their first quarter profit this year. Insurers’ net income after taxes surpassed $17 billion during the first three months of the year, compared to $7.9 billion in Q1 2017, according to a report by ISO and PCI (Property Casualty Insurers Association of America).

Read more via Insurance Journal here.