California Banner 2012 Chess Board
Vol. 3, Issue 4

Find Solutions & Strategies                           January 23, 2012

Pain ChronicComfortably Numb
The impact of prescription pain medications on the proper determination of permanent disability
In This Issue
* BLOG ROUND UP: Fraud, CCC's - NCCI policy language
* COMMISSIONER & WCJ NEWS: Hamilton, Hanson O'Kane, Levy, Hjelle, Johnston

A Note From the Editor

Robin Kobayashi 2010

Dear WC Professionals: 


If you're attending the CAAA Convention this week, please be sure to visit the LexisNexis booth.



Robin E. Kobayashi, J.D.
LexisNexis Legal & Professional Operations

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Jan. 26-28 Exhibit Hall Open


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Jan. 28, 8:30-10:15 a.m.

Marguerite Sweeney

Robert G. Rassp

Jennifer C. Jordan

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comfortably numb

It may be an unfortunate reality but narcotics are a common aspect of medical treatment within the workers' compensation system. As pain is an extremely individual experience, it is difficult if not impossible to assess whether the medications prescribed are excessive, inadequate or appropriate. It is likewise impossible to determine whether an individual's Pills Painresponse to narcotics is reasonable or even an expected consequence to the medication being prescribed. In short, the impact medications have on a given individual is an inherently and extremely subjective matter. As a consequence, including an individual's medication usage in the determination of his residual permanent disability can prove to be a very difficult matter. Given this difficulty, the question becomes whether a permanent disability determination that does not fully consider the impact that the prescription drugs may be having on an individual constitutes substantial evidence. > Read more.


Note: subscribers can link to the cases cited in this article.

opiates, up close and personal

Robert Rassp grayOpiates, Up Close and Personal, by Robert G. Rassp, Esq. I lost a friend recently. He had an "accidental" overdose of fentanyl. He was 53 years old. He graduated with honors from Harvard Medical School and became a skilled plastic surgeon with a fellowship in hand surgery. He taught me about hands, elbows and CRPS, and I taught him how to write medical legal reports in workers' compensation cases. He cared about his patients more than any other physician I have ever met. He spent time with them and he restored their functioning, even after a prior physician screwed up. He was only happy while he was in the operating theater. > Read more

panel decision: home health care

Medical Treatment; Home Health Care. WCAB affirmed WCJ's finding that applicant who incurred permanent total disability as a result of 10/24/2000 industrial injuries to her spine, psyche, internal system, and in form of fibromyalgia was not entitled to home care services for period 7/2002 to 6/1/2007 based upon 5/31/2007 report of treating physician indicating need for home care, when WCAB found that defendant could not be held liable for home care for any period prior to date of medical report establishing need for such care because offering a medical opinion retroactively prevented defendant from responding to and/or disputing recommendations for medical treatment before care was self-procured by applicant. See Arana panel decision.


Reminder: Check the subsequent history of a panel decision before citing to it.

1652 banner subscribers: Purchase the California WCAB Noteworthy Panel Decisions Reporter today to get the cutting edge of case law.


blogs at the lexisnexis workers' comp law community 


Fraud Sign

Workers' Comp Fraud Blotter -  Disc Jockey Faces the Music for Workers' Compensation Fraud, by LexisNexis Workers' Compensation Law Community Staff. Read it.




Cal Comp CasesNCCI-Mandated Assigned Risk Policy Plain Language Upheld: Cal. Comp. Cases January Advanced Postings. Here's the third batch of advanced postings for the January 2012 issue of Cal. Comp. Cases. subscribers can access the complete headnotes. Read it.


commissioner & wcj NEWS

> Deputy Commissioner Susan Hamilton retired in December 2011 and is now serving in that position as an Annuitant.

> Hon. Eileen Hanson O'Kane has been appointed Presiding Judge for the Los Angeles District Office.

> Hon. Paige Levy has been appointed Presiding Judge for the Marina del Rey District Office.

> Hon. Robert Hjelle has transferred to the Presiding Judge position at the Oxnard District Office.

> Hon. Rodney M. Johnston has transferred to the Pomona District Office.


CA: CHSWC Posts Draft Report on Impact of AMA-Based PDRS in California.

CA: CHSWC Posts Memo on Requirement for Insurer Review of Employer's IIPP.

CA: CHSWC Approves Report on Medical Care Provided Under Calif. WC Program.

CA: CHSWC Posts 2011 Annual Report on CHSWC Systems.

CA: CHSWC Releases 2011 WOSHTEP Advisory Board Annual Report.

CA: CHSWC Approves Report on Use of Compound Drugs, Medical Foods, Co-Packs.

CA: Angie Wei Elected 2012 Chair of CHSWC.

CA: CHSWC Releases Selected Indicators in Workers Comp 2011 Report Card.

CA: CHSWC Releases Construction Case Study Training Guide.

CA: CHSWC Releases Report on Evaluation of State's Injury, Illness Prevention Program.

CA: Probe of Bell Police Finds 13 "Exceedingly Large" Workers Comp Awards.

CA: Workers Comp Rates Increase 2.8%, SCIF to Keep Workers Comp Rates Flat.

CA: Many Companies Using Insurance Commissioner's Advisory Pure Premium Rates.

CA: DWC Now Accepting Applications for Upcoming QME Examination.

CA: Governor's State of the State 2012 Address Silent on Workers Comp Reform.

CA: Senate Committee Passes SB 810 Single-Payer Health Care Coverage.

NCOIL Conference to Address Physician Repackaging, Volunteer Firefighters, Migrant Workers.

PCI Announces 2012 State Advocacy Priorities, Need to Combat Rising WC Costs.

National Drug Abuse Summit to Be Held April 10-12, Orlando, FL.

CDC Posts Latest Report on Prescription Drug Overdoses.

CMS Says Growth in U.S. Health Spending Remains Slow in 2010.

Senator Collins Advocates US Postal Workers Comp Reform.

CDC Says 38 Million Adults Binge Drink, Leads to Loss of Lives, Work Productivity.

enewsletter archives

Take a deep dive into our past eNewsletters for 2012 and prior...warning - some links to articles may not any linking problems to

January 17, 2012: Psychiatric Injury Claim Post-Termination.
November 28, 2011: The Non-Examining Panel QME.
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