|President's Letter |
|By Janet Selby, Workers' Compensation Manager, Municipal Pooling Authority (MPA)
This year marks the 10th CAJPA Fall Conference I have attended. Every year I say the same thing: "That was the best conference yet." And it's not just my short-term memory. I hear this from others as well. Could it be that our conferences truly get better each year? Looking at the people who make the Fall Conference happen, I have no doubt about it. We are blessed with a wealth of creativity and talent, along with many generous volunteers who help with planning and implementing conference activities.
Another important component of continuous improvement is honest feedback from conference attendees. This being my first conference as President, I made a particular point of asking for and listening to comments from participants. Some of what I heard:
- Variety of session topics and quality of presenters were very good
- The opening keynote was energetic, a perfect fit for the conference theme
- A few of the meeting rooms were difficult to find
- Several exhibitors said they were pleased with the high volume of contacts made
- Many appreciated the availability of seasonal flu shots and health screenings/information at the Health Fair
There were many more comments and suggestions for improvement, and I hope that each of you who attended the conference will take the time to complete the evaluation form on the CAJPA website (Conference Evaluation Form
). Your feedback helps us better understand and respond to your needs and continue to make the conference a success year after year.
As we close 2009, I would like to say thanks to the many people who keep CAJPA thriving throughout the year. There is not enough room here for every name, but even the broad view illustrates how many individuals contribute to our success:
- Those who participate on the board and committees;
- JPAs and agencies that allow staff to volunteer with CAJPA;
- Associate members who give of their time, expertise and resources;
- Consultants who assist with legal, technical, financial, accreditation and legislative advocacy services;
- Public agency staff and officials who rally to support legislative causes;
- Affiliates and coalition partners who join in our advocacy efforts;
- Our Association Manager and her team;
- And CAJPA members who consistently support and participate in CAJPA programs and activities.
Each and every one of you is vital to our success, and we are grateful for your dedication and involvement.
Here's to a healthy and prosperous 2010 for all.
By Julianne Broyles, CAJPA Legislative Advocate, California Advocates
After one of the least productive legislative sessions in recent memory, the annual sign and veto season officially came to an end for 2009 legislative year. More than 700 bills passed across Gov. Schwarzenegger's desk in the final hours leading up to the October 11 midnight deadline for acting on 2009 legislation introduced during the regular session.
Gov. Schwarzenegger signed several workers' compensation bills, some of which he had vetoed previously. These bills include some that are of concern to CAJPA members: AB 361
(Lowenthal) will prevent an employer from refusing to pay for workers' comp medical treatment services if the employer approved those services prior to the time treatment was provided. Amendments to the bill that permit employers to rescind authorization for treatment if treatment had not yet occurred permitted CAJPA to remove opposition to the bill. AB 1093
(Yamada) will prohibit an insurer from denying a claim for an injured worker if a third party causes injury or death to the employee based solely on an immutable characteristic, such as race, possessed by that employee.
CAJPA originally opposed AB 1093
, concerned that the bill would go around the fact that questions must be asked and facts ascertained whenever any workplace injury or death occurs.
However, the author and sponsors worked with CAJPA to craft a letter to the Assembly Daily Journal (Click here to view letter
). The letter clarifies that AB 1093
does not abrogate defenses of any party that would apply in cases where there is a prior relationship, but to clarify that an occurrence motivated by discriminatory beliefs or perceptions based on race, religious creed, color, national origin, age, gender, disability, sex, or sexual orientation, without more, does not constitute a relationship. With the publication of the letter in the Assembly Daily Journal, CAJPA was able to remove opposition and take a neutral position on the bill. AB 1227
(Feuer) deletes the some of the restrictions that limit disability compensation (Labor Code §4850 pay) for injuries received on the job to safety employees who are members of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) or the Los Angeles City Employees Retirement System or are subject to the County Employees Retirement System.
Labor Code §4850 time is a leave of absence for up to one year with full pay to specific public safety officers injured on the job and is in lieu of temporary disability payments. While school safety officers and some other public safety officers were removed from coverage by the bill, CAJPA remained concerned about the potential cost increases this bill will impose on public entities.
CAJPA argued that benefits provided to public safety officers are done so because of the risk and hardship they face every day on the job that cannot be adequately compensated for in salary for risking their lives. Labor Code §4850 and presumption benefits are provided to those employees who face certain risks on a daily basis and are more prone to be injured by these events than anyone else.
AB 1227 will raise public employer costs due to the new classes of employees that will now be eligible for Labor Code §4850 benefits.
SB 186 (DeSaulnier) will allow employees to continue pre-designating their own physicians by deleting the provision's December 31, 2009 sunset date. CAJPA opposed SB 186 and argued that designating the personal physician as the primary care physician with a treatment history has worked and is in line with research on treatment outcomes based on physician choice and that SB 186 was unnecessary.
All of the above bills take effect on January 1, 2010. The most recent status report on all CAJPA's priority bills is attached below.
Possible Emergency PDRS Regulations in the Works
John Duncan, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations recently announced that there the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) will release new regulations updating the 2005 Permanent Disability Rating Schedule (PDRS) sometime this fall with an eye toward adopting the changes as part of an emergency regulatory package prior to December 31, 2009. The changes are purportedly very similar to proposed changes circulated by the DWC last year.
Under the prior DWC proposal, the future earnings capacity (FEC) multiplier (a key factor in determining benefit amounts received by injured workers) would be adjusted to reflect data on wages lost by workers with specific injury types, such as injuries to the spine, hand and knee.
In addition to increasing the FEC range, injury types would be re-ranked within the range to correlate with wage loss: Injuries with higher wage loss (such as spine or wrist injuries) would receive a greater upward adjustment, while those with lower wage loss (such as knee injuries) would receive less of an upward adjustment.
The estimates of what the prior DWC PDRS regulatory changes would mean in terms of permanent disability cost increases ranged from 12 to 20 percent, depending on who was making the calculations.
As of this writing, nothing has been officially released by the DWC.
Budget Woes Continue
According to the State Controller, John Chiang, state revenues are already $1.1 billion below the estimates when adopting the recently enacted 2009-10 state budget.
Chiang noted that the substantially lower tax revenues and recent adverse court rulings are major problems.
In a recent report calling for state public works spending master plan, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer notes that the cumulative general fund deficit over the next three fiscal years is estimated to be $38 billion.
All this means the Legislature and the Administration are going to have to craft yet another round of cuts and revenue increases to deal with yet another budget hole, likely through the use of the special session process opened earlier this year to deal with California's on-going fiscal problems.
Special Sessions Convene
California taxpayers, who normally feel somewhat safe in their beds once the Legislature adjourns each year, will find no comfort this fall. Five special sessions have already been called in 2009 and more are possible as the Legislature returns to Sacramento to grapple with budget, water and tax issues left unaddressed during the regular legislative session.
Stay tuned because any and all issues can suddenly arise when the Legislature meets - even workers' compensation issues.
|Master Your Meetings: Robert's Rules in Real Life|
By Ann G. Macfarlane, Professional Registered Parliamentarian
Many board members understand how motions work in practice, but might be hard put to define them. A motion is simply a proposal for action. A member of the board or group introduces her motion by saying, "I move that ..." That's all it takes.
Most new ideas are introduced for consideration by a motion. The member obtains recognition from the presider (the president, chair, or person running the meeting). Given permission to speak, he states his motion. If another member is interested in discussing the motion, he says "second." The presider then states the motion, and discussion can begin.
Members have surprising latitude to propose motions under Robert's Rules. Motions can be introduced only when no other business is pending, and in accord with an adopted agenda if there is one, but anybody can propose that the group take action. It's not some special privilege reserved to the chair, for instance, as one group mistakenly thought.
I served as a public member on a state commission for a couple of years. When my term was over, another member commented that my willingness to speak up and say "I move that we do such and so" significantly improved the group's work output. The body had a habit of studying issues at length. They were quite comfortable asking for more information, or postponing a topic until the next quarter's meeting. This tendency might have been because half the members were judges, well versed in continuing cases, or it might have been the natural inertia that drags at public bodies. When you're likely to take flak no matter which way you jump, it's harder to make decisions.
We suggest that the etymology of the word "motion" can be a good reminder here. "Motion" comes from the past participle of "movere," the Latin verb meaning "to move." A motion is a proposal to move forward. Movement is necessary if we are going to prosper, in our organizations as in our lives.
Ann G. Macfarlane is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, a Certified Association Executive, and an Associate Member of CAJPA. She presented "Jurassic Parliament" at the Fall 2009 CAJPA Conference.
© Jurassic Parliament 2009
|Medicare Liens and Comparative Negligence Another Impediment to Claims
Hadden v. U.S., US District Court of Kentucky, Case No. 1:08-CV-10
|By Jack Blyskal, CPCU, ARM, Chief Claims Officer, CSAC Excess Insurance Authority|
Many of us have been focusing on the difficulties in registering as the Responsible Reporting Entity (RRE) and organizing our data to be compliant with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements and to meet our reporting agent's needs. These steps are very important and must to be accomplished in a timely and accurate manner.
In addition, there is a very significant aspect of the Medicare lien laws that exists and with which tort liability claims personnel need be concerned. Thus far, Medicare has not incorporated any recognition of comparative negligence into their Secondary Payer regulations. From Medicare's standpoint they are entitled to all of any settlement (sometimes even including plaintiff attorney fees) up to the amount of their lien. This is true regardless of how many tortfeasors may be involved, the comparative negligence of the plaintiff, or the comparative negligence of your defendant. In a recent case, Hadden vs. US, Case No: 1:08-CV-10, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Bowling Green Division, the justices upheld Medicare's right to attach to the entire settlement even though most, if not all, of the settlement was not intended to reimburse for medical expenses.
So, what does this mean for you? It means that settlements of cases which are not 100% liability against your defendant(s) will be very difficult to settle, unless you are willing to pay more than your allocation of medical expenses. Plaintiffs will be less motivated to settle and more inclined to go to verdict, since Medicare may be bound by the terms of a jury trial. It also means that your defense counsel will have to ensure that jury instructions include an allocation of the verdict for both past and future medical expenses. Furthermore, for those cases you can settle, your release will need to include language that prevents the plaintiff from coming back against you or your defendant if Medicare takes a bigger share of the settlement than they expected.
|New Scholarship Recipients|
The Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce
Jessica Blushi, CSAC Excess Insurance Authority
Heather Fregeau, CSAC Excess Insurance Authority
Kami Linan, North Bay Schools Insurance Authority
Barbara Sasser, CSU Long Beach
were awarded scholarships in 2009 to continue their education!
Scholarships are available year-round - see the CAJPA website for details.http://www.cajpa.org/Topics/Scholarship/Pages/default.aspx
There are currently 49 pools accredited by the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities. This accomplishment is only achieved by evidence of the JPAs compliance with a rigorous set of standards promulgated by the CAJPA Board of Directors.
If you are interested in learning more about the accreditation process so you can join this list of accredited members, please visit the CAJPA website at www.cajpa.org or call (916) 485-5875.
Accredited with Excellence
Authority for California Cities Excess Liability (ACCEL)
Bay Area Schools Insurance Cooperative (BASIC)
Bay Cities Joint Powers Insurance Authority
Butte Schools Self-Funded Programs
California Affiliated Risk Management Authority (CARMA)
California Fair Services Authority (CFSA)
California Housing Authority Risk Management Agency (CHARMA)
California Housing Workers' Compensation Authority (CHWCA)
California Joint Powers Risk Management Authority (CJPRMA)
California Transit Insurance Pool (CalTIP)
Central San Joaquin Valley Risk Management Authority
Contra Costa County Schools Insurance Group (CCCSIG)
CSAC Excess Insurance Authority
East Bay Schools Insurance Group
Fresno County Self-Insurance Group (FCSIG)
Golden State Risk Management Authority (GSRMA)
Independent Cities Risk Management Authority (ICRMA)
Local Agency Workers' Compensation Excess JPA (LAWCX)
Municipal Pooling Authority (MPA)
North Bay Schools Insurance Authority
North Valley Schools Insurance Group (NVSIG)
Northern California Cities Self-Insurance Fund
Northern California Community Colleges SIA
Northern California ReLiEF
Northern California Schools Insurance Group
Organization of Self-Insured Schools (OSS)
Public Agency Risk Sharing Authority of California (PARSAC)
Public Entity Risk Management Authority (PERMA)
Riverside Schools Insurance Authority
San Diego Pooled Insurance Program Authority (SANDPIPA)
San Mateo County Schools Insurance Group
Santa Clara County Schools' Insurance Group (SCCSIG)
Schools Alliance for Workers' Compensation Excess JPA (SAWCX II)
Small Cities Organized Risk Effort (SCORE)
Southern California ReLiEF
Southern California Schools Risk Management JPA (SCSRM)
Special District Risk Management Authority (SDRMA)
Statewide Association of Community Colleges (SWACC)
Trindel Insurance Fund
Valley Insurance Program Joint Powers Authority
Vector Control Joint Powers Agency (VCJPA)
Yolo County Public Agency Risk Management Insurance Authority (YCPARMIA)
California Sanitation Risk Management Authority (CSRMA)
Employment Risk Management Authority (ERMA)
Fire Agencies Self Insurance System (FASIS)
Northern Orange County Liability & Property Self-Insurance Authority
Northern Orange County Self-Funded Workers' Compensation Agency
Santa Cruz/San Benito County Schools Insurance Group
|Fall Conference Highlights |
This year's Fall Conference and Training Seminar - Pool Fitness: Training for Peak Performance - was geared toward providing sessions that addressed a range of topics providing the most current information on how to be "fit" in all aspects of pooling - from personal fitness to a financially fit organization to the perfect fit between pool managers, board members and staff.
The keynote address by Fred Schafer of Fully Alive Fitness Systems challenged the audience to improve their personal and professional performance in a high demand world.
Wednesday included new Hot Topic Sessions that included discussions on workers' compensation, finance, special education lawsuits, employment practices, national pooling issues, best of show (a look at innovative new ideas at some JPAs) and more to give attendees a quick look at what's new in many interest areas.
Breakout sessions throughout the conference - which totaled 33 - covered the full array of interest areas and speakers and panelists received high reviews from all attendees.
Dan Walters, political columnist for the Sacramento Bee provided an insider's view to the current happenings in the State Capitol during Wednesday's lunch. Mr. Walters talked about the major issues under review endorses a complete change to California governance as the only true solution to the legislative deadlock that is evident by the inaction of California's Legislature. His candid report left many with a bewildered look as it appears all reports of a dysfunctional California government are well founded.
Friday's legislative workshop drew a packed house. The keen interest in what's happening in Sacramento was apparent at this session led by Julianne Broyles of California Advocates who is CAJPA's legislative advocate. Juli provided an in-depth review of CAJPA's top legislative issues, as well as her insights into the process.
ISO Policy and Parliamentary Procedures workshops were also available to all registrants at no additional charge.
|Health Fair at the Fall Conference|
A new addition to the Fall Conference was Thursday's Health Fair - a small beginning but one that can be built upon in future years. The availability of flu shots was a key attraction.
CAJPA thanks the following companies for participating:
American Health Care
EK Health Services
Express Dental Care
Keenan & Associates
Vision Service Plan
The Journal is a quarterly publication of the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities, a non-profit trade association formed in 1981 to serve as a communication and educational resource to California Joint Powers Authorities.
Jan DeGracia, Executive Director, North Bay Schools Insurance Authority
Jenifer A. McDonald
P.O. Box 255431 · Sacramento, CA 95865-5431
Phone: (916) 485-5875 · Fax: (916) 487-7105 · www.cajpa.org
|Welcome New Members|
City of Fontana
Santa Barbara County Education Office
BB&T - John Burnham Insurance Services
Kaufman Dolowich Voluck & Gonzo LLP
Malmquist, Fields & Camastra
Myers-Stevens & Toohey & Co., Inc
Restoration Management Company
Mark your calendar now and plan to attend these events
Capital Caucus Day
Finance & Technology Spring Technical Workshop
April 28 & 29
Frank James Invitational Golf Tournament
2010 Fall Conference & Training Seminar
September 8 - 10
South Lake Tahoe
Visit the CAJPA website (www.cajpa.org
) for details on events and current information on Committee and Board of Directors meeting dates and locations.
THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS!
CAJPA members thank the generous sponsors for supporting the 2009 Fall Conference. Whenever you get a chance, thank them, too! Their continued support allows us to provide the most comprehensive conference for JPAs in the nation - all at a reasonable cost to our JPA members.
Thanks to the super-platinum sponsorship of York Insurance Services Group, CAJPA members were entertained by the Jay Rolerz Band on Wednesday evening.
|WHAT AN EXHIBIT HALL!|
The exhibit hall was a hub of activity with vendors enjoying the fitness theme and also the chance to network with the 900+ attendees. CAJPA thanks new and returning exhibitors for participating.
Acclamation Insurance Management Services, Inc. (AIMS)
Alliant Insurance Services, Inc.
Alliant Loss Control Services
American Appraisal Associates
American Fidelity Assurance Company
American Health Care
Arthur J. Gallagher & Company
Bickmore Risk Services & Consulting
Black Diamond Services
Bradley, Curley, Asiano, Barrabee & Gale, P.C.
California Bank & Trust
Carl Warren & Company
Chandler Asset Management
Comprehensive Cost Solutions
Cuneo, Black, Ward & Missler
Definiti Healthcare Management
Delta Dental of California
Edgewood Partners Insurance Center (E.P.I.C.)
EK Health Services, Inc.
Envision Pharmaceutical Services
Frasco Investigative Services
Genesis Underwriting Management Company
George Hills Company/Optimum Risk Advisors (ORA)
GlobalOptions Fraud and SIU Services
Hanna, Brophy, MacLean, McAleer & Jensen
Haworth, Bradshaw, Stallknecht & Barber, Inc.
Insurance Educational Association (IEA)
JT2 Integrated Resources
Keenan & Associates
Laughlin, Falbo, Levy & Moresi
Lenahan, Lee, Slater & Pearse
Marsh Risk & Insurance Services
MSC Care Management
Mullen & Filippi
Munich Reinsurance America
Murphy Campbell Guthrie & Alliston
Myers-Stevens & Toohey & Co., Inc.
Norman Peterson & Associates
Peregrin Medical Review
PFM Asset Management, LLC
Poms & Associates
Premier Access Insurance Company
Public Agency Risk Managers Association (PARMA)
Regional Liability Excess Fund (ReLiEF)
RIMKUS Consulting Group
Safety National Casualty Corporation
Satori World Medical
Schools Excess Liability Fund (SELF)
Total HealthCare Management, Inc.
TRISTAR Risk Management
Vision Service Plan (VSP)
Wells Fargo Insurance Services
York Insurance Services Group