Welcome to the latest edition of AASCIF News. Before I discuss
the contents of this issue, I would like congratulate Preston
D. Williams and his staff at Maryland's Injured Workers' Insurance
Fund for their outstanding work in planning and hosting the Annual
AASCIF Conference held in Baltimore August 12th through the 16th.
The conference was impressive, informative and fun. I know many
conference participants would agree that guest speaker Charles
Plumb's presentation was inspiring. Mr. Plumb, a Navy fighter
pilot, flew 74 combat missions over North Vietnam before being shot
down. He was captured and spent 2,103 days in Communist prison camps.
He discussed his experiences in Vietnam and drew parallels to everyday
life such as the need for teamwork, the value of communication and
the importance of a positive outlook. His medals include two Purple
Hearts, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the POW Medal.
Many conference participants felt honored to be in the same room
with this man.
Attendees gleaned valuable information by comparing notes on current
conditions and projections on the future of our industry. In the
'fun' category I can't think of anything that surpassed the baseball
outing to Camden Yards and the pleasure of watching Cal Ripken Jr.
play ball. In thinking about the conference during my return flight
to San Francisco, I relaxed and felt great satisfaction in reflecting
upon the outstanding pool of talent we have among the state funds
and Canadian boards in our organization.
The depth of our members' expertise is certainly demonstrated in
this issue of AASCIF News. Craig Reynolds of Maine, Rick
Pagan of New Mexico and Juan Ramirez of Puerto Rico serve
on the AASCIF Policyholder Services Committee. Recently, they discussed
the challenge of improving services to injured workers and policyholders
while at the same time reining in escalating costs. In an effort
to examine this challenge, Craig, Rick and Juan surveyed state funds
and Canadian boards and discovered innovations and trends that are
developing with segmented markets. You can find the survey results
beginning on page 4.
Rona Finkelstein and James Haynes of Maryland provide
an analysis of the so-called 'sick building syndrome,' and how claims
arising from this syndrome might challenge the fundamental principle
of the 'exclusive remedy' doctrine. This intriguing scenario begins
on page 9. Claims continues to
be the topic at hand when James P. O'Connor and Sam Mazen
of New York, examine the legal question of whether undocumented
aliens are eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Their article
begins on page 11. Adjusters may
soon hear about two new medical procedures - one for the treatment
of chronic discogenic low back pain and another for partial replacement
of damaged knee cartilage. The medical details have been forwarded
by Brenda Carland and John Marr of Maine and are located
on page 23.
On page 26, we leave the subject
of claims and move on to auditing with Rhode Island's Rajani
Mahadevan's overview of a program for performing automated payroll
auditing. Jerry Bonham of Texas and Scott McConnel
of Kentucky provide a companion piece covering two views from the
world of Internal Auditing. Jerry and Scott's work appears on pages
24 and 25. Mary C. Beard
of Kentucky informs us of recent court decisions regarding sexual
harassment. This sensitive and litigious issue can be found on page
22. Over the last few years, workers' compensation topics appear
with increasing regularity in the press. Alas, reporters aren't
always kind. However, Steven Paul of Kentucky remains positive
about the media and on page 27,
gives us some tips on how to deal with the fourth estate. The facing
page has California's Patrick Andersen reviewing the 'hardening'
of the workers' compensation marketplace and how various AASCIF
members are responding to current conditions.
Finally, we present the winners of the AASCIF Publications Contest
on pages 13 through 15. The recipients
look quite pleased with their awards. They should be: the competition
was formidable! After seeing so many of the outstanding publications
on display in Baltimore, I was glad I wasn't asked to be a judge.
I applaud the winners and congratulate all those who submitted so
many outstanding contributions.
So, it's clear we have a lot of information for you this month
and I hope you enjoy the issue. With the coming of fall, I wish
you pleasant nights and warm happy days.
The aascif News is published quarterly by the American Association
of State Compensation Insurance Funds for its members and others
who are interested in workers' compensation systems. Send articles
and inquiries to: State Compensation Insurance Fund; Attn: Patrick
Andersen; Communications, 15th floor; P.O. Box 420807; San Francisco,
CA 94142; (415) 703-7013; Fax (415) 703-7028; firstname.lastname@example.org