In the 1980’s, Congress amended the Social Security Act to include the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSP), which effectively enacted Medicare liens. In 2003, the Government clarified its position that self-insured entities were also included in the MSP in passing the Medicare Act of 2003. Prior to the Act, Medicare did not have an efficient mechanism to identify or evaluate instances where Medicare’s liability should have been secondary. In 2003, the government took no steps to actively pursue settling Medicare eligible plaintiffs. Medicare lacked efficient mechanisms to pursue cases where its liability should have been second to the responsible party.
On December 29, 2007, the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (MMSEA) was signed into law. MMSEA amended the MSP to impose new reporting duties on liability insurance plans, private self-insured entities, Group Health Plans, no fault insurance plans and Workers’ Compensation plans. Read more
Every five seconds there is a vehicle crash in the United States. Wouldn’t you like to know if your drivers are at a greater risk of being involved in an accident? The Driver Performance Analysis System (DPAS) is a tool that can help. DPAS is a two-phase driver performance measurement and analysis program which, when completed, is a valid and reliable measure of a driver’s traffic related knowledge and skills.
The DPAS system evaluates a driver’s capability in four critical dimensions:
- Traffic Knowledge
- Perceptual Skills
- Traffic Risk and
- Traffic Procedures
The system produces results in terms of:
- Score (relative to the universe)
- Likelihood of being involved in a crash
- Probability that training will improve abilities in each of the four areas.
This interactive, web-based tool can help:
- Identify high-risk drivers
- Improve driver abilities
- Reduce crashes
- Enhance hiring decisions
- Minimize claims
- Reduce liability
- Instill professionalism
- Reward low-risk drivers
- Enhance profitability
For more information on DPAS, contact us today.
General industry and maritime employers making good-faith efforts to comply with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s silica regulation could avoid citations during the first 30 days after the agency begins enforcing the rule.
The Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica rule reduces the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica over an eight-hour shift to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air for the construction industry, one-fifth of the previous maximum, as well as for general industry and the maritime industry at half of the previous maximum.
Most of the provisions of the general industry and maritime silica standard will become enforceable on June 23.
“During the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA will assist employers that are making good-faith efforts to meet the new standard’s requirements,” Galen Blanton, acting deputy assistant secretary for OSHA, said in a memorandum released Friday. “If upon inspection it appears an employer is not making any efforts to comply, compliance officers should conduct air monitoring in accordance with agency procedures and consider citations for noncompliance with any applicable sections of the new standard. Any proposed citations related to inspections conducted in this 30-day time period will require National Office review prior to issuance.”
Hundreds of construction workers are killed every year from ladders and scaffolds, and many thousand more suffer serious injuries that are permanently disabling. And it is estimated that more than 30% of workers compensation claims costs stemming from construction sites are the result of falls from elevated surfaces.
A recent study indicated that injuries related to falls from elevated surfaces are more severe than other injury claims because these accidents result in more time away from work, damage to multiple body parts, and more short- and long-term disability leave.
Do Not Let These Accidents Happen to You
- A worker, who was standing on the top of a stepladder, fell when the ladder shifted. He suffered a spinal injury and was out of work for four months.
- Another worker failed to secure an extension ladder at the top and fell 20 feet when the ladder slipped away from the wall.
- Two men were working high up in a building atrium when their scaffold collapsed. They plunged four stories to a concrete deck. One man was dead on arrival at the hospital; the other was in critical condition.
- When a three-story wooden scaffold collapsed, two workers fell to the ground, suffering serious neck and back injuries. A third man working under the scaffolding was also injured.
It’s crucial for construction companies and their workers to implement regular safety training — and put that training to practice. Linked below are several helpful OSHA resources and fact sheets to improve worker safety at your organization:
With hurricane season quickly approaching, human resources professionals should prepare their organizations’ emergency plans now to ensure employees stay updated with crucial information and support, and to make sure business stays on track in the event we’re faced with another storm this summer.
Here’s a checklist organizations can use to prepare for Hurricane Season:
Share Disaster Plans & Emergency Resources Early
In anticipation of a natural disaster, HR leaders are often responsible for setting up communication plans and sharing information so that individual employees can prepare. Some recommended resources to share with those who may be impacted include:
- National Hurricane Center’s Hurricane Preparedness Guidelines
- Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Kit and Supply Checklist
- Local Evacuation Shelter Information & Maps (including resources for pets)
Test Your Ability to Contact Employees During/After a Disaster, and Vice Versa
It is critical to encourage employees to update their emergency contact information in the organization’s system to ensure you have up-to-date phone numbers and other pertinent details on hand. At Gulfshore Insurance, we activate a secondary disaster hotline for employees only that allows us to convey critical messages before, during, and after a storm. If employees have cellular service, then they are able to call in to receive timely updates on the agency’s status of operations. A phone tree is another widely used method for communicating with employees, particularly if your organization has more than a handful of employees.
Consider an Alternative When Cell Service Becomes Difficult
While cell phone towers may go down and access to the internet or SMS capabilities may be affected, texting may provide one of the best options for staying in touch. Many organizations utilize an SMS instant-messaging system that allows them to notify employees about operations and other pertinent details. As such, it is important to remind employees about the need for extended batteries and backups in order to effectively use this system.
Extend Deadlines, Alert Vendors, and Pre-Schedule Remote Check-Ins
Business, of course, goes on in the rest of the world and deadlines still loom. If you have any vendors outside the affected areas with employee deadlines you should start working with them to get an extension. Leadership and operations teams may want to pre-schedule call-in times and provide access to a conference line. The calls will allow you to effectively plan for business continuity and report on efforts to check in with your employees.
Consider an Advance Payroll
Many of the activities HR teams will need to address in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster will, in some instances, be things that have been prepared for ahead of time. As employees get back in touch, additional needs will be identified, but access to payroll funds and cash, as well as a sense of job security, are often uppermost in the minds of staff members. The first paycheck after a storm can be is critical for employees. Remember that if extreme power outages occur, not only will banks be closed, but ATMs will probably not work either–cash is king!
Be Flexible with Attendance and Time Off Policies
Employees who have been displaced from their homes or have evacuated entirely may be anxious about job continuity even as they’re struggling with basics like getting access to food, shelter, gas, and clothing. Part of the communication prior to the weather event will ideally have provided employees with clarity around items such as pay continuity, use of PTO, or flexibility in the company’s attendance policies. As employees return to work, whenever that may be, they’ll still be dealing with numerous aftereffects. Providing consideration for additional time-off without penalty will be important to employees who must keep appointments with insurance adjustors, rebuild their homes, or find new living arrangements; this time may be with or without pay as appropriate and in alignment with the Fair Labor Standards Act for employers in the U.S.