Articles | Cases

Things you should know

CDC issues new guidelines to limit use of opioids

In an effort to address the growing epidemic of opioid overdoses and abuse of prescribed painkillers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released voluntary guidelines, "CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain- United States, 2016", that instruct primary care doctors to sharply deter use of the medicines for chronic pain.The guidelines are not geared towards cancer patients, palliative care patients or end-of-life patients, but are directed towards patients who are seeking relief from their chronic pain. The CDC also provides a quick fact sheet and checklist for those seeking additional clarification and guidance.

Presenteeism costs business 10 times more than absenteeism

On average, employees cost businesses the equivalent of three months per year in lost productivity, according to a new GCC Insights report by Global Corporate Challenge (GCC). The study on presenteeism - the phenomenon where employees show up for work but don't perform at full capacity - found that while employees were absent from work an average of four days per year, they confessed to being unproductive on the job for 57.5 day, almost three working months. Businesses wanting to improve productivity should focus on reducing presenteeism, notes one of the study authors.

Truck drivers who fail to adhere to sleep apnea treatment have higher crash rate

Truck drivers with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who failed to adhere to treatment had a rate of preventable crashes five times higher than that of truckers without the ailment, according to researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Morris, Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and colleagues.

The study - which looked at the results of the first large-scale employer program to screen, diagnose, and monitor OSA treatment adherence in the U.S. trucking industry - is published in the journal Sleep.

Coffee workers at risk of lung disease

The new NIOSH report, Coffee Workers at Risk for Lung Disease, contends that workers at coffee processing facilities are at risk of developing obliterative bronchiolitis, an irreversible form of lung disease in which the smallest airways in the lung (the bronchioles) become scarred and constricted, blocking the movement of air. The offending group of chemicals are diacetyl (2,3-butanedione) and butter flavorings containing diacetyl.

Working long hours may raise cardiovascular disease risk: study

Working more than 45 hours per week may increase a person's risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart attacks, according to a study from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. CVD risk steadily increased starting at 46 work hours per week; risk was 16 percent higher for workers who logged 55 hours per week and 35 percent higher for employees who worked 60 hours per week, compared with those who worked 45 hours per week for at least 10 years. Risk was lowest among full-time employees who worked 40 to 45 hours per week.

NYC cracking down on construction companies

The city announced plans to quadruple the penalties for noncompliance, conduct a wave of more than 1,500 enforcement sweeps, and require new supervisors at construction sites citywide. To ensure that builders cannot profit by skirting safety rules, the city is raising penalties for serious safety lapses from $2,400 to $10,000 and is increasing the penalty for not having a construction superintendent from $5,000 to a maximum of $25,000.

Texas Department of Insurance's Division of Workers' Compensation will audit physicians who prescribed compound drugs

A draft of the division's plan states that physicians who prescribed compounds filled between Sept. 1, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2015, will be audited and input is now being sought for the final plan.

New app allows day laborers to anonymously report employers

The app began as a project of the New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) then their parent company, The National Day Laborer Organizing Network secured more funding and after three years of planning, a smartphone app for day laborers is nearing completion. The app will come with many tools: workers will be able to rate employers (like a Yelp or TripAdvisor), log their hours and wages, post pictures of job sites, and identify employers with a history of withholding wages.

Report compares injuries, health conditions in every state

A new report from UL details the health conditions and workplace safety rates in every state, as well as their financial impact. Data points include prevalence of diabetes, heart diseases and obesity; workplace injury and illness and fatality rates also are covered.

Comprehensive medical group report card includes cost ratings for first time - California

Oakland-based Integrated Healthcare Association and the Sacramento-based Office of the Patient Advocate have released a medical group report card that puts clinical quality, patient experience and cost-of-care ratings on display to encourage better health care value among providers.