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May 2014 Personal Injury and Worker’s Compensation Law Round-Up

Written by Ankin Law Office

Here’s what other personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers have been talking about during the month of May:

  • Hospitals Show Small Improvement in Patient Safety (Protect Patients Blog). As this article explains, a recent report from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found that incidents of patient harm (things like infections, trauma during vaginal births, reactions to medicines, falls, and bedsores) in the hospital dropped from 145 complications per 1,000 hospital discharges in 2010 to 132 complications per 1,000 discharges in 2012. The number of Medicare patients who were re-hospitalized within 30 days of discharge also decreased from 18.5 in 100 in 2012 to 17.5 in 100 in 2013, which resulted in about 150,000 fewer readmissions over the last two years. The article says that the reduction may be due, in part, to improvements in hospital discharge procedures and better post-discharge monitoring.
  • Aging Workers’ Compensation (Workers Compensation Law Blog). This article points out why the current workers’ compensation may not adequately compensate older workers. “The workers’ compensation premium model is based on wages of the workers, ie. payroll,” the article says. “It computes wages as factor to compute temporary disability benefits and theoretically permanency. It does not equate to medical costs which are much higher for an aging demographic.”
  • The Appalling Carnage at VA Hospitals (The Pop Tort). A new report from the VA’s Office of Medical Inspector finds that delays in medical care for veterans are so severe that many patients are dying as a result, including 23 veterans who died due to delayed cancer screenings. Additionally, Sam Foote, a retired doctor, alleged that 40 other veterans died as a result of treatment delays at a VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Mining for Safety (The Pop Tort). According to a recent “Death on the Job” report from the AFL-CIO, North Dakota is now the deadliest state in the nation when it comes to workers due to unsafe working conditions in the mining, oil and gas industries. In the report, the AFL stated:

[T]oo many workers remain at serious risk of injury, illness or death as workplace tragedies continue to remind us. These tragedies are all preventable.

The 2013 explosion at a West, Texas fertilizer plant killed 15 people, most of them volunteer emergency responders, and was caused by an unregulated chemical industry. The 2010 explosion at Massey Energy Upper Big Branch in West Virginia killed 29 miners. The 2010 BP Transocean Gulf coast rig explosion killed 11 workers and caused a major environmental disaster.…

North Dakota had the highest fatality rate in the nation (17.7 per 100,000 workers) followed by Wyoming (12.2), Alaska (8.9), Montana (7.3) and West Virginia (6.9).  

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC handles  workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 600-0000 and [email protected]