News Bulletins

In local news:

Michael D. Morris, of Baton Rouge, was re-appointed to the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC). Morris is an attorney and the Chief Executive Officer of the Louisiana Home Builders’ Association SIF. He will serve as a representative of self-insured industries in Louisiana, as required by statute. The WCAC is responsible for monitoring and reporting to the governor and the legislature on the implementation and administration of laws pertaining to the administration of workers’ compensation claims and making specific recommendations thereon.

Read the entire release of Boards and Commissions appointments here.

In economic news:

Southern Business & Development magazine ranked Louisiana No. 1 for the ninth consecutive year as the Southern state claiming the most economic development project wins per capita. The magazine tracked the most significant capital-investment and job-creation projects across the South, with states earning points for large employment projects (200 or more jobs) and large capital-investment projects ($30 million or more) attracted during 2016. Louisiana led the region with the most points-per-million people at 84.4, outperforming second-place South Carolina (80.6) and third-place Alabama (65.8). Texas was the overall points leader. South Carolina received the 2017 State of the Year designation.

Read more via Biz.Magazine here.

In neighboring news:

The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation and the University of Houston Small Business Development Center will offer training for medical office staff at the UH SBDC, Suite 200, 2302 Fannin in Houston. The seminar is Tuesday, September 19, 2017, from 9 AM to 4 PM. Registration is $99, including lunch and parking. The educational seminar provides practical information for medical office staff managing the administrative processes related to Texas workers’ compensation claims. The seminar covers an overview of the workers compensation system, coverage verification, medical bill processing, dispute resolution, and other resources.

Register here. For help with registration, contact Gina Mattei at (713) 752-8485.

In local news:

LWCC, LUBA Workers’ Comp, and Stonetrust Commercial Insurance Company were all listed in the Baton Rouge Business Report’s “Top 100 Private Companies” for 2017, which honors top-performing companies in the Capitol Region. LWCC was first among the three represented workers’ comp carriers, landing at No. 69. It was followed closely by LUBA at No. 75 and Stonetrust at No. 76. Companies were ranked according to their reported or estimated revenue for the most recently completed fiscal year, which in most cases was the calendar year 2016. The list is compiled by sending out notices to previous winners, plus reader suggestions and notices placed on the Business Report’s websites.

Read more and access the entire issue here.

In research news:

WCRI will be hosting a free 45-minute webinar on its most recent research on outcomes for injured workers on Wednesday, August 9, 2017, at 1 PM CT. The outcomes examined include recovery of physical health and functioning, return to work, earnings recovery, access to medical care, and satisfaction with medical care.

Register here.

In neighboring news:

The Texas Tribune reports that a local legislator in that state is trying to roll back agreed-upon worker protections for large commercial construction projects in Austin. The protections include a minimum wage, workers’ comp coverage, and safety training. The “better builder” standards were a compromise between city officials and developers to expedite the permitting process in Austin – any developer that wants an expedited permit must meet the standards. However, a bill filed in Texas’s current special session (HB164) seeks to accelerate permitting processes in cities and towns across the state, but also bar specific cities from requiring companies to follow regulations like Austin’s “better builder” rules. Industry groups have called the Austin rules unnecessary. And according to the Tribune, some contractors are particularly irked that any job site that qualifies for the program must be monitored by the Workers Defense Project, a labor advocacy group that helped create the Austin regulations.

Complete coverage here.

In local news:

A North Louisiana company has won a prestigious national safety award due to its utilization of a program provided by the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC). Graphic Packaging International partnered with Louisiana Delta Community College and Training Logic Inc., in Ruston to train its employees by means of Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWTP) funding. Company officials showcased their accomplishments via a presentation held during a visit from the LWC’s Executive Director Ava Dejoie on July 13th, for her North Louisiana Roadshow tour.

Read more here.

In regulatory news:

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine encourages the FDA to review the pros and cons of opioids, including social effects. The move follows the FDA’s decision to request that the maker of Opana ER remove its drug from the market, saying that the risks of the long-acting painkiller (including addiction) outweigh its benefits. The report also recommends better access to treatment for opioid addiction like buprenorphine; year-round drug takeback programs at pharmacies; and encourages insurers to pay for more nontraditional pain therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy.

Read more via Claims Journal here. Download the report here.

In research news:

Coventry recently announced the release of the second part of its 2016 Drug Trends Series, which is based on all calendar year transactions billed through its PBM Program, First Script, as well as transactions from medical bill review to reflect the total pharmacy experience for their client base. This second piece in the series focuses on the “managed” and “unmanaged” views. The managed data takes the traditional view (retail + mail order) and adds prescriptions from our extended network. The unmanaged data represents the out-of-network prescriptions that are received and processed through medical bill review.

Download part two: Drug Trends Series Part 2 2017

In research news:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has reported a decline in non-medical use of pain relievers. An estimated 4.3 percent of Americans reported using prescription pain relievers non-medically in the past year when surveyed in 2012 to 2014, down from 4.6 percent in 2010 to 2012. Estimates by state ranged from 3.4 percent in Minnesota to 5.3 percent in Oklahoma, with 13 states showing declines over the period. The findings are from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which defines non-medical use as using the drugs simply for the experience or feeling they caused. The authors said the report can help state policymakers target efforts to address substance abuse.

Access the report here.