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Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at hrlawupdate@verrilldana.com, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in Workers Compensation (23)

Monday
Sep192016

Will The New Maine Opiate Control Law Impact the Workers’ Compensation System?

Stories of the horrors of opiate over-prescription and abuse are abundant, and Maine has not been spared the ravages of that epidemic.  In response to the growing problem, Governor LePage, in April of this year, signed into law a bill intended to place some limits on the prescription of opioids in situations involving both “acute pain” and “chronic pain”.  Under the new law, health care providers will be limited to prescribing no more than a 30-day supply of opioid medication in any 30-day period for patients with chronic pain.  However, there is no limit on the number of times that a 30-day prescription can be written by a provider.  The practical impact on chronic pain patients in the workers’ compensation system will be one of two outcomes:  either, patients will now have to visit their providers every thirty days rather than the every three to six months schedule typical in long-term workers’ compensation chronic pain cases; or providers will be decreasing the number of opioid prescriptions issued to chronic pain patients as their practices suffer from limits on the ability to accommodate every-thirty-day appointments for medication renewal.

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Friday
Jul152016

“Capturing” the Affect of Pokemon Go in the Office

This is reality. This is not a test. There are Pokémon in your office. Well, maybe; it’s more like there are not real Pokémon chilling outside your door, but more that in an augmented reality there are graphical elements placed within your real world. The thing is, either way, it can result in real productivity drains—likely 151 productivity drains (for those still learning that’s how many Pokémon there apparently are to collect), but this blog post will only comment on a few. So let’s get to it; while we have all seen people walking around waiving their phones in the air over the course of the last two weeks, have we sat down and considered the implications of this in the work environment?

  1. Integration: There’s something fascinating about augmented reality, I mean, look at the image here, I pulled six attorneys away from their desks to “capture” Butterfree (yes there is an attorney hiding behind the Pokémon). Is this a way to bring people together in your organization? Maybe, it brought us together—but there are probably other options to consider. At the same time, I thought starting this post off on a positive note was nice.

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Wednesday
Mar232016

CDC Issues Opioid Guidelines

On March 18, the CDC finally issued much-anticipated guidelines for the prescription of opioids in chronic pain management “outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.” Over-prescription of opioids in the realm of workers’ compensation has long been an issue of national importance. 47,055 lethal drug overdoses occurred in the United States in 2014, the most recent year for which statistics are available, with 18,893 of those specifically prescription drug overdoses. Not all of those are tied to medication prescribed for work-related chronic pain management, but certainly, anyone who has been involved in workers’ compensation can attest to the “pill mills” in their local communities. The Northeast, with an aging, deconditioned work population and robust health insurance costs has been particularly at risk for non-occupational chronic pain complaints morphing into work-related injury claims with the resulting never-ending prescription of opioids for “pain management”. Pain cannot be objectively measured or objectively proven; it is inherently subjective and subject to individual experience and motivation. The CDC guidelines will, hopefully, provide measured guidance to physicians to assist in the proper use of prescription opioids in time-limited treatment protocols designed to address chronic pain.

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Tuesday
Dec152015

Walking Home From Our House Christmas Eve: "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" and Work-Related Injuries When Coming and Going from Work

We’re all familiar with the holiday tune that recounts Grandma’s unfortunate encounter with Santa and his reindeer. She’s found the next day with “hoof prints on her forehead/And incriminating Claus marks on her back”. Sadly, if Grandma were your employee and the accident happened in a location that can possibly be related to her work, that encounter with nature just might be a work-related injury.

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Monday
Aug242015

Worked to Death in the Keystone State

While we often remind employers that complaints about on-the-job stress could be a reportable event to a workers’ compensation carrier, we do not often warn employers not to work their employees “too hard” or “to death.” In this case, however, that was exactly the question at issue—did Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority work an employee to death?

Robert Dietz worked for the Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority as a field maintenance worker, doing work involving heavy physical labor, for 20 years. On November 7, 2007, however, Mr. Dietz suffered a fatal heart attack while working—he was 48 years old. As a result of his death, his wife, Judith Dietz filed a fatal claim petition with the Workers’ Compensation Board alleging that Decedent’s work caused his heart attack and death.

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Monday
Nov182013

Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut Experience Decrease in Workplace Fatalities in 2012

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics issued preliminary data as to the number of workplace fatalities in 2012. The report provides extensive information regarding workplace fatalities across the county and serves as a helpful reminder to employers as to the importance of implementing safety protocols.

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