Here’s what other personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers talked about in January of 2014:
- Anticipating Changes in Health Care for 2014 (Protect Patients Blog). The author summarizes some of the experts’ opinions about the ways that health care is expected to change in 2014, most of which will arise as a result of implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Anticipated health care changes include: increased number of private insurance exchanges, employer insurance mandates, employee wellness discounts, pricing transparency, a surge in enrollment in government health care exchanges, increased use of electronic health records, shrinking networks of health care providers, and an increased influence of state Medicaid/Medicare programs on price.
- In California, a Raft of Measures to Improve Conditions and Oversight of Assisted Living (Pro Publica). Earlier this month, California lawmakers “unveiled a dozen legislative proposals aimed at stiffening regulations governing the state’s roughly 7,700 assisted living facilities, residences that offer room and care to tens of thousands of frail or ailing people, most of them seniors.” According to this article, the proposed regulations would mandate annual inspections of the assisted living facilities and increase the financial penalties levied on facilities that fail to comply. The proposed legislation would also increase the mandatory training requirements for assisted living employees, require facilities to employ registered nurses in some instances, and require the state to post inspection results online for the public to review.
- Study: working-age adults more susceptible to severe flu (Workers Compensation Law Blog). Working-age adults who have diabetes are more susceptible to severe flu infections, according to a study from University of Alberta. After looking at clinic visits, hospitalizations for pneumonia and flu, and all-cause hospitalization for 166,715 subjects, researchers concluded that people with diabetes are 6% more likely to experience flu illnesses so severe that hospitalization is required.
- A Few New Hypocrites of Tort Reform (The Pop Tort). As this article points out, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue, recently gave a speech which, among other things, railed against lawsuits and called for reforms that would make it easier for companies to commit fraud with legal impunity. Ironically, the Chamber of Commerce sues the government on average three times a week. The article goes on to state: “Like the giant corporations they represent, while working to strip away the legal rights of everyday people, their lawyers sue at the smallest provocation. Indeed, Big Business makes great use of their unfettered access to the courts to recoup financial losses from trademark violations, contract breaches, patent infringements and other unfair competition claims, to property damage, lost goods, unpaid bills or, ironically, fraud.” In fact, the largest jury awards are not in personal injury cases, but in antitrust and intellectual property cases.
The article concludes with this statement: “Corporations like Pfizer complain about lawsuits and push laws that limit the rights of their injured patients and consumers to sue. Yet when they lose money, they run straight to court. Makes perfect sense. After all, how can the rights of a brain-injured child compete with the rights of intellectual property? Priorities, people! No one likes a hypocrite. Yet one would be hard pressed to find more hypocrites than in the ‘tort reform’ movement.”