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Opioid Addiction During a Pandemic: Help Stop the Trends

Denise Gillin News, Risk Management, Third Party Claim Administration

By Laurie Deitrich, CSP, ARM, HEM, Risk Control Specialist According to National Institute of Mental Health, there is a connection between opioid overdose deaths and mental health. “While we don’t know exactly how many opioid overdose deaths are actually suicides, some experts estimate that up to 30% of opioid overdoses may fit this description. The connection between opioid overdose and suicide has appeared to increase over time, with one 2017 analysis of National Vital Statistics data showing significant increases in suicides involving opioids among all age groups except teens and young adults between 1999 and 2014; in those aged 55-64, the rate quadrupled. A 2017 study using national survey data showed that people who misused prescription opioids were 40-60% more likely to have thoughts …

Workers’ Compensation and Mental Health Claims: What You Should Know

Denise Gillin News, Risk Management, Third Party Claim Administration

By Jill Root, Assistant Vice President and Third-Party Administration Claims Manager Headlines in business and insurance magazines across the Commonwealth raise similar red flags for human resource and workers’ compensation professionals – prepare for a surge in mental health claims related to COVID. Stress of the coronavirus pandemic may lead to an increase in mental health-related workers’ compensation claims, especially among first responders and healthcare workers. Are there other equally important stressors that deserve our attention? How is the workers’ compensation system prepared to respond, and what can we do to help? As a Third-Party Administrator working closely with retirement communities and municipalities in Central Pennsylvania, we see the pressure placed upon our clients every day to take care of …

Workers’ Compensation Premium Increase Delayed

Denise Gillin News, Third Party Claim Administration

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) has yet to make a decision on a mid-year increase in workers’ compensation (WC) costs – despite the Nov. 1 effective date, proposed by the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau. The PCRB in August asked for a 6.06 percent increase in loss costs mid-year as a direct result of Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District). Throwing a wrench into the approval process is a recent objection and request for a hearing filed by the Pennsylvania Association for Justice (trial bar), which challenges the calculations used by the PCRB to come up with the proposed increase. By law, the PID has 180 days (until February) to consider the PCRB’s request for …

Workers’ Compensation Affected by Recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decision

Jill Root Business Insurance, Insurance, Third Party Claim Administration

A recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District), stated the American Medical Association (AMA) guide for evaluating permanent impairment to an injured worker is unconstitutional. Since 1996 Impairment Rating Evaluations (IREs) were used in the management of Workers’ Compensation claims to cap the indemnity exposure on certain claims in which an injured worker was paid Total Temporary Disability (TTD) Benefits for 104 weeks. An IRE could be performed, and if the results were below 50% whole person impairment per the most recent edition of the AMA Impairment Guidelines, then the Injured Worker’s disability status would change from total to partial and the Injured Worker, at most, would only be entitled to 500 remaining weeks of …