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NCCI: Emergency room costs in comp on the rise

According to an NCCI article, one in four injured workers visits the ER for initial treatment. ER costs have risen by nearly 20% since 2013, and services associated with an ER visit account for more than 10% of total WC medical costs.The increase in facility costs has significantly outpaced medical inflation; facility costs have grown approximately three times faster than the hospital outpatient producer price index and transportation costs (ambulance services) are rising.

Another notable ER trend is that the percentage of ER visits by injured workers under the age of 35 is greater than the percentage of those workers in the workforce.

Takeaway: Emergency room treatment should be a last resort and used for critical, emergency situations only. Cost containment and proper treatment protocols are best accomplished with nurse triage and occupational medicine clinics.

WCRI: Factors associated with longer opioid use by injured workers

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) studied factors that are associated with longer-term opioid use among injured workers. It found that the strongest predictor of such use is opioid prescribing early in a claim, including the number of days' supply of opioids prescribed early after an injury and the number of prescriptions received.

FMCSA tool aimed at aiding transition to amended hours-of-service regs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has launched a free online tool intended to help motor carriers and commercial truck drivers better understand a final rule regarding hours-of-service (HOS) regulations that went into effect Sept. 29. With the Educational Tool for Hours of Service users can enter HOS data into a sample log to identify whether a violation has occurred.

NCCI: Drug policies don't result in lower claim frequencies

NCCI studied the effects on accident frequency in 11 states that provide credits to employers with drug-free workplace programs, with credits averaging 5% in most states. It concluded Workers Compensation policies with drug-free workplace program credits did not have lower claim frequency than comparable policies without such credits and there is no clear pattern at the class code level for the relative frequency of claims for policies with and without drug-free credits.

Included in the study were data from Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Idaho, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Kentucky.

CMS releases updated MSP Recovery Portal (MSPRP) User Guide (Version 5.0)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released an updated Medicare Secondary Payer Recovery Portal (MSPRP) User Guide Version 5.0 (October 5, 2020). CMS has made several updates to the MSPRP, which the agency lists in Chapter 1 - Summary of Version 5.0 Updates.

Employee engagement volatile in 2020

According to a Gallup report, various stressors, including COVID-19 and societal unrest, have combined to make the normally steady metric of employee engagement quite volatile.

New library aims to prevent lab accidents

CAS, a nonprofit division of the American Chemical Society that specializes in scientific information solutions and the Pistoia Alliance, a global nonprofit that works to lower barriers to innovation in life sciences research and development, have joined forces to launch the Pistoia Alliance Chemical Safety Library platform. The library will facilitate data sharing of hazardous and unanticipated chemical reaction information for the global research community.

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