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Study finds screening truck, bus drivers for sleep apnea risk is effective

Adding an obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) screening to commercial driver medical examinations is effective in identifying OSA risk among truck and bus drivers, concludes a recent study from Bloomsburg University. Truck and bus drivers with OSA, which is characterized by breathing pauses during sleep, may experience daytime sleepiness and other adverse effects. Researchers concluded that occupational health providers should voluntarily begin conducting OSA screenings during medical examinations for truck and bus drivers.

The study was published online Oct. 23 in the journal Workplace Health & Safety.

CPWR website offers 'Create-a-Plan' for reducing silica exposure

A new online tool from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) allows users to confidentially save, retrieve and edit plans for reducing worker exposure to silica.

Updated Workers' Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement (WCMSA) Reference Guide

A new Reference Guide is available. This version documents the current WCMSA review process and provides more detailed information on the actions performed by the Workers' Compensation Recovery Contractor (WCRC).

New tool for employers to assess workers' health risks

A new tool developed by the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) will help employers determine where best to invest their health improvement dollars so they can get the greatest return on investment. Using a combination of paid health benefit plan claims data and self-reported employee health risk assessment data, ValuePort helps employers identify their employee population's greatest health risks and prioritize their greatest employee health improvement opportunities.

ValuePort is being licensed to employer coalitions, but in the next few months it will be made available to individual employers and vendors.

Use-or-Lose rule for FSA's

The Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department issued a notice on October 31st loosening the almost 30-year old "use-or-lose" rule for health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) by allowing Plan sponsors to include an option to allow participants to carry over up to $500 of unused FSA dollars remaining at year end. Until now, unless the Plan allowed for an up to 2 1/2 month grace period into the next year for spending the funds, the employee forfeited that money.

Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act rules published

The long-awaited final rules implementing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), together with mental health coverage mandates taking effect under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), were published in the Federal Register on Nov. 13, 2013, and will take effect 60 days later. The HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also issued an accompanying set of FAQs on the final rules and a summary analysis.

Michigan launches new website to promote healthier workplaces

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has launched the Healthy Work Environments Platform, a new tool to help businesses promote healthier work environments.