Category Archives: Wokers comp news

Appellate Commission Reappointments Announced

Governor Rick Snyder makes reappointments to Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (MCAC).

The MCAC is tasked with hearing appeals from the Board of Magistrates. It’s role is to review workers compensation awards and denials.

Governor Rick Snyder has announced the reappointments of Lester Owczarski, of West Bloomfield,  Jack Wheatley, of Royal Oak, and George Wyatt III, of East Lansing.

“This is an experienced group of appointees and I look forward to the good work they will continue to do in support of working families and job providers,” Snyder said.

From the Press Release:

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The insurance company followed you into where?

Top 5 insurance company extremes when conducting surveillance on people claiming workers compensation benefits.

We recently blogged about a woman caught on the Price is Right while collecting workers compensation benefits. She did not look very disabled while jumping up and down with excitement.

This story has gotten much attention and caused outrage. It feeds into the false perception that everyone on workers compensation is just scamming the system.

Insurance companies are not innocent victims and go to extremes to show a claim is fraudulent. Here are five examples that we have personally witnessed.

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Tina Fey slapped with $79,000 workers’ comp judgment

Another hilarious celebrity gets hit with a workers’ comp judgment and why it is no laughing matter.

We reported last year that Jim Carrey was fined $72,000 by the State of New York for not having workers’ comp insurance. Turned out to be a clerical error because the carrier filed the wrong employer identification number.

Tina Fey has now been hit with a $79,000 judgment by the New York State Workers Compensation Board. A spokeswoman for the actress says it is a mistake and workers’ comp coverage does exist for the period at issue.

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Flint hearing site to remain open

Michigan Court of Appeals affirms trial court’s writ of mandamus keeping Flint hearing site open.

We blogged in October 2012 about the Flint, MI hearing site being closed by the Michigan Administrative Hearing System (MAHS). All scheduled and future cases were to be moved to Dimondale, MI. This would have forced claimants to drive over 100 miles round-trip just to have their cases heard.

This closure was allegedly being done to save money. We considered it just another attack by a hostile administration. Reducing hearing locations will undoubtedly make it more difficult for injured workers to fight disputed claims.

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2013 Annual Report Released by Agency

Michigan Workers’ Compensation Agency (WCA) releases its 2013 Annual Report and we provide some needed perspective.

There is no question that workers’ compensation has gone through many changes in the last several years. The Michigan Supreme Court has made it much harder for injured workers to prove disability. This has resulted in less filings and total cases have declined more than 50% since 2003. Supreme court decisions such as Stokes v Chrysler and Rakestraw v General Dynamics Land Systems overwhelmingly favor insurance companies and corporate interests.

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

New research shows employee happiness results in higher productivity.

Futurity published an interesting article last week regarding happiness in the workplace. Turns out that happy employees are more productive employees. You can see the findings by the Journal of Labor Economics here.

We are not surprised by these results and have long advocated for better conditions in the workplace. In fact, health and wellness programs have already been shown to decrease workers compensation costs across the board.

Keeping employees happy can also save on workers compensation costs. Here is how employers can treat people better after a work accident. This will improve company morale and reduce litigation costs.

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Traverse City Hearing Site Moving

Workers’ compensation hearing site in Traverse City, MI moving to new address effective May 1, 2014.

We have received an important notice regarding the Traverse City hearing site.  It will be moving to a new address effective May 1, 2014.

Workers’ compensation hearings will now be held at 3333 Cass Rd, Traverse City, MI 49684. Magistrate Timmons has been assigned the docket.

Currently scheduled cases remain, just at this new hearing location.  Any questions concerning this move should be directed to the Agency.

This move affects all injuries arising in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, and Wexford counties.

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New Magistrate Appointed By Gov. Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder has announced the appointment of Luke McMurray to the Workers’ Compensation Board of Magistrates.

Luke McMurray replaces John Buehler on the Board of Magistrates. His term will expire on January 26, 2015. Docket assignments have not yet been announced.

From the press release: McMurray has specialized in workers’ compensation law for the past 34 years. Before starting his own firm in 1999, McMurray spent 12 years with Reliance Insurance Co., managing the staff counsel in various states.  He previously spent six years working on workers’ compensation and negligence cases with private law firms. He received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University and he earned a degree from the Detroit College of Law.

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Breaking News: Evidence-Based Medicine Is Coming

Workers’ Compensation Agency starts process to implement evidence-based medicine in Michigan.

The workers’ compensation section of the State Bar of Michigan has received proposed rules for the implementation of evidence-based medicine. Director, Kevin A. Elsenheimer, will start the adoption process on February 19, 2014.

Official Disability Guidelines (ODG)  has been selected as the single source for the state. Treatment within these guidelines will be presumed reasonable and necessary triggering payment under the Act. Medical care outside the guidelines will not be compensable unless authorized by the director or a magistrate as part of an exception process.

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Miscellaneous Odds & Ends

News and commentary regarding workers’ compensation issues in Michigan.

Michigan insurance executive makes list of Top Ten Workers’ Compensation Fraud Cases. It has been reported by Crain’s Detroit Business that former CEO Jerry Stage pled guilty to embezzling approximately $2.6 million from the Compensation Advisory Organization of Michigan (CAOM) during an 11-year period. George Bauer, former bookkeeper for the organization, also pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to embezzle for his role.

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