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Message from the President

 

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.

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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.

Next

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; pwandersen@scif.com

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Summer 2001 News
Message from the President
Workers' Comp Cycle
AASCIF Survey
Dim Sum
Sick Building Claims
Eastern, Travelers Balk at MA
Illegal Aliens
North Dakota's 40th Conviction
AASCIF Publications Contest Winners
Around AASCIF
Court Expands Views of Sexual Harassment
Medical Miracle or Mirage?
Internal Auditor's Role
RSI Not Necessarily an ADA Disability
In a Staff of 1
Auto Audit
Hot Seat Makes a PR Job Sizzle
September 11,2001
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