Five Things You Need to Know: 3/1, Wednesday Edition

                               
1) Two TX House Bills Created to Help First Responders
 
Two Texas House bills have been created involving first responders and workers' compensation. "House bills 1688 and 1689 were filed earlier this month by Texas Rep. Dustin Burrows — H.B. 1688 would provide law enforcement with a liaison within the Texas Department of Workers’ Compensation agency and H.B. 1689 would allow law enforcement to take legal action, if necessary, against TDWC," writes Natalie Martinez of KTXS12. Advocates of the bill, including Mary Duncan and Jacob Flores, are voicing their support. "Mary Duncan, a wife of a wounded officer, has had several meetings with Rep. Burrows and local law enforcement agencies to help get the bills off the ground. She said one of the difficulties with workers’ compensation is the wait. ...She said officers need to wait till the agency gave them approval to see the doctor she said or whether or not they can have a procedure," writes Martinez. "...For Jacob Flores, a medically retired Lubbock police officer, TDWC wouldn’t cover his medication. He was injured in the line of duty three years ago during what became his last foot chase." He was injured so badly, he almost lost his foot. Workers' compensation wouldn't cover all of his medical costs, so he had to pay out-of-pocket. "...Duncan said the Peace Officers Angels Foundation helps officers in situations like Flores’ but they are the only group in the state that does so," according to the article. 
 
2) TN Woman Involved in Almost $6 Million Workers' Compensation Scheme 
 
Tennessee woman Andrea Rudd has pleaded guilty to conspiracy in a $5.9 million workers' compensation scheme involving non-existent comp policies, writes Kristen Beckman of Business Insurance. "Ms. Rudd operated Powell, Tennessee-based HR Comp L.L.C., a professional employer organization that provided employee benefits and payroll processing services. Between January 2010 and October 2015, HR Comp accepted premium payments from client companies for workers comp coverage that was not actually provided and furnished fraudulent certificates of liability insurance to those clients, court records show," writes Beckman. According to the plea agreement, the company collected close to $5.4 million in premiums for workers' compensation coverage that didn't exist. Rudd also pleaded guilty to tax evasion. 

3) Caretaker Sues West Virginia's Choice Inc. for Disability Discrimination  
 
Williamson resident Naomi Henson filed a complaint on Feb. 7 against West Virginia's Choice Inc. alleging disability discrimination, writes Noddy A. Fernandez of the West Virginia Record. "According to the complaint, on Dec. 29, 2016, Henson was injured while assisting a West Virginia's Choice client. Seeking treatment for her injuries, the suit says, Henson filed for workers' compensation benefits, including temporary total disability," writes Fernandez. "On Jan. 27, 2017, the lawsuit states, she was terminated from her employment. As a result, the suit says, Henson has suffered humiliation, lost wages and benefits." Henson alleges that the health care facility showed "...willful, wanton and reckless disregard for her rights by failing to engage in an interactive process to determine what accommodations she needed and by terminating her from her employment." 

4) Nominations for WorkersCompensation.com's Best Blogs 2017 Open Today

The 2nd Annual Workers’ Compensation Best Blogs recognition program opens for nominations today, March 1! Last year, 22 blogs made the exclusive list. For more details, click here for a write-up from WorkersCompensation.com's President and CEO Bob Wilson, and here for more information on the nominations process. 
 
5) UPCOMING: Five Things to Watch For
 
WorkersCompensation.com will attend the Workers' Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) annual conference March 2-3. Stay tuned for conference coverage. WCRI President and CEO Dr. John Ruser told WorkersCompensation.com in January that the conference “has no fluff.” With the short time given to get through a lot of information, he said the conference is a series of solid presentations representing a variety of research and policy issues. “The sessions and programs are timely, covering what most significantly will challenge workers’ compensation now and in years to come: impacts on health reform, the election, the ‘Grand Bargain,’ opioids and referendums across the country.” To read more about the conference and Dr. Ruser, click here.

 

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