New Hempahire - Governor Sununu (R) vetoed a bill that mandates employers provide roughly the same pay for an injured worker that returns to a different position based on a partial disability. The bill was opposed by businesses and insurers who argued it would drive up premiums, while supporters said it would clarify ambiguity in the law that prevented injured workers from being “made whole”. The legislature meets this week to review vetoes and determine if they will override the veto to end the 2019 session.
Alaska - The Alaska Workers' Compensation Board will examine a potential adoption of treatment guidelines. During the Board's October meeting they will hear a presentation from ODG regarding evidence-based treatment guidelines.
Last week, the California legislature passed AB 5, a bill that would grant employee status and the accompanying benefits to thousands of workers across the state. Under the bill, workers would be designated as employees, not independent contractors, if their work is part of the company's regular business—a definition that directly hits the gig economy and companies like Uber and Door Dash. Generally, the gig economy has allowed companies to label their employees as independent contractors and avoid minimum wage laws, workers' comp coverage, and other benefits. If signed by Governor Newsom (D), the bill would become effective in 2020.
New York - Governor Cuomo (D) announced that the New York Department of Financial Services is taking legal action against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacy benefit managers to secure $2 billion.The money would go back to consumers who Cuomo stated, shouldered the financial burden of the ongoing opioid epidemic caused by the manufactures, distributors, and PBMs. DFS estimates that consumers have overpaid $2 billion in insurance premiums over the last 10 years as a result of the health care costs associated with the opioid epidemic.
National News - The federal Office of Workers' Compensation Programs will role out new restrictions on opioid prescribing for injured federal workers. Under the forthcoming bulletin, the OWCP limits initial opioid prescriptions to a 7-day supply and limits subsequent 7-day fills to four without prior authorization. Initial fill limits have been adopted by most states over the last few years.
Industry News - Just a few weeks after Johnson & Johnson was found guilty in the first opioid trial, Purdue Pharma reached a tentative settlement regarding the nearly 2,000 opioid lawsuits being brought by state and local governments across the country. Under the proposal, Purdue would file for bankruptcy and drug sale profits from the sale of OxyContin will go to the state and local governments.
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