The RISC eNews Blast is intended to provide relevant and timely news information from a number of sources to member pool staff. If you see articles in the journals, email and sources you subscribe to that may be of interest to the RISC membership, please feel free to forward them to Erin Rian for inclusion in the eNews Blast. In this week's edition of the RISC eNews Blast:
DATA SECURITY & CYBER RISK
Bank’s new cybersecurity audits catch law firms flatfooted (ABA Journal, 6/13/2013): Bank of America has begun cybersecurity audits of law firms with which it does business, and is finding that many are unprepared. Audits look for whether a cybersecurity plan is in place and followed. Encryption of mobile devices and training of personnel about avoiding malicious links are other areas of focus. Pool may want to consider similar inquiries of law firms they use, because lax security could compromise confidential pool information. Pools may also want to make their members aware of the need to make similar inquiries of law firms that do legal work on their behalf.
Affordable Care Act multistate program not sparking competition (Politico, 6/24/2013): The Affordable Care Act calls for the federal government to contract with two multistate plans – one being a non-profit. So far, the options seem to be similar to those already available nationwide.
HHS launches Health Insurance Marketplace educational tools (hhs.gov, 6/24/2013): As the open enrollment period approaches in October, HHS recently launched an educational effort focused on providing consumers with information on health exchange options on the Healthcare.gov website.
Senators look to redefine PPACA definition of full-time employee (Business Insurance, 6/24/2013): Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Sentate that would change the definition of full-time employee under the federal health reform law from 30 to 40 hours per week.
MEDICARE SECONDARY PAYER
The Coordination of Benefits and Medicare Secondary Payer Recovery sections on the Medicare tab of the CMS.gov Web Site have been redesigned and restructured. As part of this restructuring, all pertinent information from the MSPRC.info web site has been incorporated into this new design and web page links have changed. Please visit the Coordination of Benefits & Recovery section of CMS.gov to see the new web pages. Short-cuts have also been created for each of the new web pages. Two of the more important pages for pools can be found at these links:
• Mandatory Insurer Reporting for Non-Group Health Plans
• Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangements
Gov. Mike Pence's deleted gay marriage Facebook posts reveal thorny challenges (Indystar.com, 6/28/2013): In a real life example of how a public official’s use of public social media could result in legal challenges, Indiana Governor Mike Pence is being criticized for deleting hundreds of comments on his official Facebook page. Those comments were in response to his posting expressing support for a constitutional ban on gay marriage in Indiana. Pence’s staff maintains that the removed posts were uncivil. Posters maintain that their removed posts were civil and legitimate comments on his position, and a few claim they were unable to comment on the Governor’s page after their comments were removed. Legal experts assert that the removal may be a violation of the commenters’ First Amendment rights to free speech. The governor’s Facebook page does not include a policy clearly stating describing what comments are unacceptable and will be removed, as is recommended by legal experts. Although this involves a governor rather than a local official, a similar problem could arise in a local setting if critical comments were removed based solely on viewpoint.
Workers' Comp Rates, Exposures Up but Still No Underwriting Profit: Fitch (Property Casualty 360, 6/24/2013): Both workers’ compensation rates and exposures continue to increase but Fitch projects a continued underwriting deficit through 2013. Fitch noted that medical costs increase more than general inflation, and although those costs were more stable in 2012, future volatility around medical costs in workers’ comp may be affected by the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Hospitals Paid More for Surgeries on Injured Workers (Insurance Journal, 6/21/2013): The Workers’ Compensation Research Institute has released a study finding that in many states the charges by hospitals for surgeries performed under workers’ compensation is higher than they charge for the same surgeries performed under group health. The difference is greatest in states where there is no workers’ compensation hospital fee schedule or where the fee schedule is based on a percentage of the hospital’s charges.
Doctors perform thousands of unnecessary surgeries (USA Today, 6/20/2013): 10 to 20% of surgeries in some specialties may be unnecessary, including spinal surgeries and knee replacements. USA Today reports that 10% of spinal fusions were not necessary, based on its analysis of Medicare program audits. Among the six common surgeries that are often done unnecessarily are cardiac angioplasty and stents, which may especially affect pools in states with cardiovascular disease presumption statutes, as well as knee replacements.
OTHER TOPICS OF INTEREST
Google teaches how to better use Google (ABA Journal, 6/21/2013): Google offers a number of interesting tools to better tailor search results. For pools that sometimes use Internet searches for research purposes, some of these tools discussed may be of interest. For example, after performing a search, the “search tools” button will allow the user to narrow the results to a certain time period, which could be helpful when researching cases or legislation.
Electronic Discovery: Being Prepared for Litigation (Mondaq, 6/20/2013): As the amount of electronically stored information being created and received continues to grow, legal departments are challenged to address e-discovery obligations in an efficient and cost effective way. While organizations have historically relied upon Information Technology departments to manage these obligations, that is not the case today. Legal departments are expected to understand how technology affects their role, especially in the areas of document management, document retention and document preservation.