Monday, December 31, 2012

Possible Changes to the Comp Law in 2013

From the Central Penn Business Journal:  An ongoing attempt by the Republican establishment to weaken injured workers' rights.
Despite repeated failures in the legislature, Gov. Tom Corbett and lawmakers will try again in the next year to pass state workers' compensation law changes that would double the required time injured workers must use employer-approved doctors.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Medicare Posts List of Top Hospitals

Medicare on Thursday disclosed bonuses and penalties for nearly 3,000 hospitals as it ties almost $1 billion in payments to the quality of care provided to patients.
The revised payments, which will begin in January, mark the federal government's most extensive effort yet to hold hospitals financially accountable for what happens to patients. In what amounts to a nationwide competition, Medicare compared hospitals on how faithfully they followed rudimentary standards of care and how patients rated their experiences.
In many regions, the hospitals that did the best are not the ones with the most outsized reputations, but regional and community hospitals, according to government records. New York-Presbyterian in Manhattan and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, both dominant hospitals in their cities, will have their payments reduced. Other leading names in the hospital industry, including the Cleveland Clinic and Intermountain Medical Center in Utah, will receive bonuses, although not the largest in their regions.
In all, Medicare is rewarding 1,557 hospitals with more money and reducing payments to 1,427 others, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of records released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The maximum amount any hospital could gain or lose was 1% of its regular Medicare payments.
Locally, Robert Packer Hospital, in Sayre, Pennsylvania, faired better than the average hospital.  Here's a link to the RPH's Hospital Profile Page where you can look at many different categories that Medicare rated.  Since many of my workers' compensation clients and personal injury clients have treatment at RPH and Guthrie Clinic, I thought this information was relevant.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Another Gas Worker Fatality in Bradford County

From the Towanda Daily Review:

A Missouri man died Wednesday while working on a natural gas pipeline project in Burlington Township.In a news release, Bradford County Coroner Tom Carman said that Kenneth Donovan Elliott, 42, of Missouri was pronounced dead at 1:49 p.m. in Burlington Township, off of the Berwick Turnpike, following the 12:42 p.m. accident.   
When asked for comment, Kristi Gittins, spokesperson for Chief, said that the mishap did not take place at a Chief site.  She said it was a PVR (Penn Virginia Resources) site. She noted that the company, based in Radnor, Pa., is "a large national pipeline company working in the area."  Carman said Elliott was employed by Midway Oilfield of Midway, Texas. 
Midway Oilfield was in the process of clearing the right-of-way for a natural gas pipeline, according to Carman.  He said Elliott was operating a chainsaw, and was in the process of cutting down a tree, when the tree kicked back, striking him and knocking him to the ground.  Carman said Elliott died as a result of blunt force head trauma, and the manner of death has been ruled accidental.

This article demonstrates the complexity of all of the various companies that are involved in this kind of work.  The question that I would have is which employer or corporate entity is ultimately responsible for this man's workers' compensation death benefits so that his family can be taken care of.  It is a horrible accident and our hearts go out to this man's friends and family.