Eugenics Bill Deadline — June 30, 2014

Victims of North Carolina’s state-sponsored sterilization program have until June 30, 2014 to file claims for compensation through the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s Eugenics Asexualization and Sterilization Compensation Program. In the early 20th century North Carolina and 31 other states supported eugenics, the science of improving the human population through the control of hereditary qualities. Between 1929 and 1974, the Eugenics Board of North Carolina authorized the forced sterilization of approximately 7,600 people. The victims were classified according to three categories: mental illness, epilepsy and feebleminded (which usually meant a low IQ score). The Board also considered personal factors such as sexual activitiy, whether or not they were hard to control, and whether they were poverty stricken. Most victims were female and some were as young as 10 years old.

In 2010 Governor Beverly Perdue created the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation (http://www.sterilizationvictims.nc.gov) in an effort to find and compensate victims who were wrongly sterilized. In 2013 N.C. lawmakers appropriated $10 million for one-time payments through the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s Eugenics Compensation Program for the estimated 1,500 victims who are still alive (State Bill 402).

The Industrial Commission has provided instructions on how to file a claim for compensation (http://www.ic.nc.gov/forms/eugenicsclaimform.pdf). Eligible compensation recipients must have been alive on June 30, 2013. Those who believe they may have been sterilized under this program are encouraged to call the Victim’s Information Line at 1-877-550-6013 or 919-807-4270. The amount of compensation per individual will be determined by the number of eligible victims that come forward and file claims. Payments will not be made until 2015. Many attorneys and members of the Workers’ Compensation Section of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice have agreed to represent these victims on a non-fee basis. For a list of these attorneys call 919-533-1413. Leonard Jernigan is one of the listed attorneys.

Alternative Ways to Treat Arthritis: Fish Oil and Gin-Soaked Raisins?

According to the People’s Pharmacy, a popular radio show on National Public Radio, there are less expensive alternatives to joint pain than prescribed medications. Joint pain can be challenging because all the prescribd drugs have side effects. Ibprofen, meloxicam and naproxen can be hard on the digestive tract. All these drugs, including Celebrex, also may raise blood pressure and increase the risk for cardiovascular complications. Another drug, prednisone, can cause insomnia, hypertension, diabetes, swelling, osteoperosis and cataracts. Fish oil and gin-soaked raisins offer less risk and many people report that these remedies are quite helpful.

http://arthritis.about.com/od/alternativetreatments/f/raisinsgin.htm

For more home remedies and non-traditional treatments for arthritis and other ailments, we encourage you to go to the People’s Pharmacy website at: http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/

 

 

Understanding Your Auto Insurance – Online Flip-Book

Today’s post comes from guest author Kit Case, from Causey Law Firm.

The Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ) has released their publication “Understanding Your Auto Insurance” as an online flip-book. This booklet explains the various components that make up auto insurance coverage, including liability coverage, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and underinsured motorist, collision and comprehensive coverage options. Details about who is covered under a policy and what the policy may cover are outlined. Steps to take if an accident occurs are explained in detail, as well.

This booklet is a great resource and should be on everyone’s required reading list.

College Football Players Get Approval to Unionize – Workers Compensation Next

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from online.wsj.com

Today’s post is shared from the WSJ.com and highlights a growing trend that student-athletes are employees and will be subject to workers’s compensation mandatory insurance coverage. With head concussion recognition on the rise as a long term medical issue in body contact sport this will be a huge incentuve to eliminate the business of college body contact sports.

CHICAGO—In a decision with potentially broad ramifications for collegiate athletics, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday that Northwestern University scholarship football players are employees of the school and are eligible to form the nation’s first college athletes’ union.

The ruling, which Northwestern immediately said it would appeal, has the potential to upend big-time college sports by reversing the NCAA’s longtime stance that athletes are students first and athletes second. As such, they can’t be considered employees.

In his ruling, Peter Ohr ruled that Northwestern’s scholarship players are athletes first and students second. Their duties to the athletic program include 50 to 60 hours a week during training camp and 40 to 50 hours a week during the three- or four-month football season. For much of the year, players are told by coaches when to eat, sleep and train.

Northwestern University football players with athletic scholarships are employees and can unionize, a National Labor Relations Board regional director ruled Wednesday, contradicting the…

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Mileage Reimbursement Set at 56 Cents per Mile for 2014

Today’s post comes from guest author Brody Ockander, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

Getting reimbursed for mileage and travel expenses is often part of the medical process in a workers’ compensation claim. However, it’s essential to keep detailed receipts and have a plan for submitting those expenses in a timely manner.

The federal government has set the 2014 mileage reimbursement rate to 56 cents per mile. This rate was effective Jan. 1, 2014. This is a decrease from 56.5 cents per mile last year, but the price of gasoline is also slightly cheaper.

Generally speaking, the federal rate changes annually. However, when gas prices went soaring in 2008, a mid-year increase went into effect.

As a reminder from a blog post that firm partner Todd Bennett wrote in 2011, injured workers can be reimbursed for activities such as “travel to seek medical treatment, pick up medications, or while participating in a vocational rehabilitation plan.”

The best way to do this is to work with your attorney and legal assistant to keep track of all mileage. This can include appointments for Independent Medical Exams (IME), too. Then your attorney can help you get reimbursed. 

It is often essential to save receipts and keep a record for yourself of your doctor’s visits and other reimbursable trips, including physical therapy and trips to pick up medication. Providing that log to your attorney and saving receipts incurred from specific doctor visits and other reimbursable trips creates a “narrative” that makes it easier to justify those expenses.

Because money is always tight for injured workers, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you have questions about a specific situation.

Not Expanding Medicaid: Deadly Consequences

Today’s post comes from guest author Charlie Domer, from The Domer Law Firm.

Please take a moment to ready this story out of Pennsylvania: Study: Many Will Die if Medicaid is Not Expanded.   As part of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), an expansion of Medicaid was intended.  Medicaid essentially is the joint federal-state program to provide health insurance to low income individuals and families.   The federal government strongly encouraged this expansion by the states, by offering to pay for that expansion for many years.   Unfortunately, the US Supreme Court–in upholding the constitutionality of the bulk of Obamacare–did strike down this Medicaid expansion.  The Supreme Court decision left it up to the state’s themselves to decide whether to expand Medicaid for their residents or not.

In many Republican-led states, the decision was made to not expand Medicaid.  As seen in this article, Pennsylvania was a state that declined to expand.  Wisconsin, with Republican Governor Scott Walker, also decided not to provide this expanded Medicaid coverage to the the state’s low income individiduals.  (Check out the story here and here.) 

Now comes news that failure to expand Medicaid may actually result in increased deaths among the affected population.  The failure to have this expanded coverage, according to the study examining Pennsylvanis, will result in thousands of deaths due to individuals foregoing necessary medication, medical treatment, and preventative screening. Additionally, the expansion failure will result in “catastrophic medical expenses and tens of thousands of cases of untreated depression, diabetes and missed screening tests.”   This is a truly scary scenario–and an avoidable one.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Walker is suggesting that these individuals can now obtain health insurance throught the federal-run exchanges.  The real issue is whether these low-income individuals can truly afford the premiums and whether they actually qualify for the federal subsidies.  These lower-income individuals were the one supposed to be covered by Medicaid expansion–not by the exchanges.    Based on the Pennsylvania study, if these individuals are ineligible for Medicaid and cannot secure health insurance elsewhere, dire health consequences (or even death) loom as possibilities.

Confidentiality Agreements and Dennis Rodman

Many defendants, particularly celebrities, often try to keep settlement agreements private and they seek confidentiality as part of the bargain. Dennis Rodman, former Chicago Bulls basketball player and current friend of the North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un, kicked a photographer in 1997 during a basketball game and the photographer sued for personal injuries. Eventually a $200,000.00 settlement was reached and, as part of the deal, the photographer agreed to keep the settlement confidential.

In steps the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS asserted that since no specific dollar amount had been allocated for the confidentiality portion of the agreement, 60% of the amount should be taxed. The photographer appealed and argued that the tax value was de minimis, if any, but he lost his appeal.

So, dear friends, the next time a confidentiality clause is suggested by the defendant as a necessary part of the agreement, remember Dennis Rodman. Remember the photographer who had to pay taxes on $80,000.00. Remember that you should always try to avoid confidentiality agreements.  However, if you do agree, be sure to designate a specific dollar amount for that portion of the settlement and expect this amount to be taxable. For more information, see Amos v. Commissioner of IRS, T.C.M. of 2003–320. US Tax Court. 

Apprehensive, Many Doctors Shift to Jobs With Salaries

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.nytimes.com

Workers’ Compensation will soon be impacted by the full economic force and effect of The Affordable Care Act. The economics of the costs of the delivery of medical care will soon be the issue that determines whether workers’ compensation continues as a viable program. Today’s post that is hared from the NYTimes.com highlights the issue.
 

Dr. Suzanne Salamon, with a patient at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said she has had trouble filling a prestigious fellowship because of relatively low salaries. Katherine Taylor for The New York Times

American physicians, worried about changes in the health care market, are streaming into salaried jobs with hospitals. Though the shift from private practice has been most pronounced in primary care, specialists are following.

Last year, 64 percent of job offers filled through Merritt Hawkins, one of the nation’s leading physician placement firms, involved hospital employment, compared with only 11 percent in 2004. The firm anticipates a rise to 75 percent in the next two years.

Today, about 60 percent of family doctors and pediatricians, 50 percent of surgeons and 25 percent of surgical subspecialists — such as ophthalmologists and ear, nose and throat surgeons — are employees rather than independent, according to the American Medical Association. “We’re seeing it changing fast,” said Mark E. Smith, president of Merritt Hawkins.

Health economists are nearly unanimous that the…

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