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NPR recently reported the story of Pius “Gene” Hobbs, who was killed in a work-related accident when a dump truck backed over him.  As the network reported, Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health investigated the incident and, according to federal authorities, did very poorly, failing to interview the eyewitness, missing possible work safety violations and failing to properly test the truck’s backup beeper.  Kentucky OSH issued no violations and assessed no fines against the employer as a result of the accident.

But Kentucky’s inept investigation of Hobbs’ accident was only a symptom of a more serious condition.

According to the NPR report, Kentucky’s OSH is a “state plan,” which means “the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has authorized it to run its own worker safety program.” There are 28 such state plans across the United States, and OSHA annually audits those state plans to ensure “they are ‘at least as effective’ as the federal agency at identifying and preventing workplace hazards.”  The 2017 fiscal year audit of Kentucky OSH “identified more shortcomings in Kentucky’s program than any other state.”

The OSHA audit “was sharply critical, depicting an understaffed, under-resourced agency that’s failing to protect Kentucky’s workers. It also included a special study exclusively examining how Kentucky falls short at investigating deaths on-the-job.”

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet declined multiple interview requests for NPR’s story.

Listen to the broadcast here.

Read the online article in its entirety here.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 22, 2018) – The Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC) announces the adoption of ODG by MCG as its treatment guidelines and pharmaceutical formulary provider.

Pursuant to KRS 342.035, as amended in 2018 by House Bill 2, the commissioner of the Department of Workers’ Claims is directed to develop or adopt a pharmaceutical formulary and medical treatment guidelines for use in the treatment of work injuries and occupational diseases. In compliance with that statutory mandate, Commissioner Robert L. Swisher announces the adoption of ODG by MCG.

“We are honored to add Kentucky to the roster of ODG-mandated states, joining the neighboring states of Ohio, Tennessee, and Indiana. The Department of Workers’ Claims and the Medical Advisory Committee should be commended on a thorough, transparent evaluation of evidence-based guidelines and formulary options, placing confidence in a proven solution,” commented Phil LeFevre, Managing Director, ODG by MCG. “The ODG by MCG team is prepared and excited to work with DWC and stakeholders on a successful implementation to deliver improved outcomes for injured workers and the system. Complementary training and support will be offered including Webinars and onsite visits.”

The Department of Workers’ Claims is in the process of drafting administrative regulations implementing the ODG formulary and medical treatment guidelines and establishing their effective dates.

The Workers’ Compensation Nominating Committee has recommended the following individuals to the Governor for appointment to the Ky. Workers’ Compensation Board:

Thomas C. Donkin

James O. Fenwick

Franklin A. Stivers

HB 2 has passed the Senate and returns to the  House.  The bill history is below:

Feb 12, 2018 – introduced in House
Feb 13, 2018 – to Economic Development & Workforce Investment (H); posted in committee
Feb 15, 2018 – reported favorably, 1st reading, to Calendar
Feb 16, 2018 – 2nd reading, to Rules; posted for passage in the Regular Orders of the Day for Tuesday, February 20, 2018; floor amendment (1) filed
Feb 20, 2018 – 3rd reading; returned to the Orders of the Day; floor amendments (2) and (3) filed
Feb 21, 2018 – floor amendment (1) defeated; passed 55-39 with floor amendment (2)
Feb 22, 2018 – received in Senate
Mar 05, 2018 – to State & Local Government (S)
Mar 19, 2018 – taken from State & Local Government (S); 1st reading; returned to State & Local Government (S)
Mar 20, 2018 – taken from State & Local Government (S); 2nd reading; returned to State & Local Government (S)
Mar 21, 2018 – reported favorably, to Rules with Committee Substitute (1); floor amendment (1) and (2) filed to Committee Substitute
Mar 22, 2018 – posted for passage in the Regular Orders of the Day for Thursday, March 22, 2018; 3rd reading; floor amendment (2) defeated; passed 23-14 with Committee Substitutes (1) floor amendment (1); received in House; to Rules (H)

The Kentucky Finance Cabinet has calculated the new mileage reimbursement rate to be 41 cents for January through March of 2018.  The mileage table can be accessed here.

The Kentucky House is now considering HB 2, which was introduced on February 12, 2018.  The bill seeks to limit duration of payment of medical benefits, shift the burden of proof to claimants for establishing the proximate cause of intoxication, extend the statute of limitations on cumulative trauma claims, increase attorney fees, offset TTD paid by gross income during a period of light duty or alternative work, extend termination of benefits to age 67 and require a minimum of one year employment for hearing loss claims, among other changes.

The full text can be found here.

The Kentucky Finance Cabinet has released the new state mileage reimbursement rate for October 2017 through December 2017.  The rate for this period is 42 cents.

mileage rate 171001

UPDATE:  Alvey has been re-appointed and is to be confirmed by the state Senate.

The Workers’ Compensation Nominating Committee has recommend the following persons for consideration for appointment as a Workers’ Compensation Board Member for a four year term commencing January 5, 2018:

The Ky. mileage rate for July 1 through September 30, 2017 is .40.

mileage rate 170701


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