Moving The Ball Down The Field
Feb 10, 2016

A gift basket of Carolina BBQ, craft beer and Cheerwine Soda should be on its way to the Colorado Department of Insurance this week, as the Broncos beat the Panthers, 24 - 10 in Super Bowl 50 Sunday evening in Santa Clara, California.

FLAGGING UNSAFE PRODUCTS AND SAFETY CLAIMSY

Against the game's backdrop, a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators introduced the Youth Sports Concussion Act, a bill that seeks to establish safety standards for protective sports equipment through the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). The bill would also empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to levy civil penalties against manufacturers who falsely market a product's ability to reduce concussions. The sponsors of the bill aim to combat the "Concussion Industrial Complex," in which the sports equipment marketplace is replete with products and advertising that claim to avoid concussion-related injuries.

MANAGING THE RISK OF HEAD TRAUMA

The news cycle reflects a growing concern over the risks associated with head trauma in players from the Hall of Fame to high school. Federally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) does set policy for schools, coaches and parents on the risks associated with sports-related concussion and brain injury, but the management of concussion related injuries remains a state and local issue. In one such leading example, The University of Miami and the Miami-Dade County Public Schools have formed thefirst-of-its-kind partnership to catalog and treat concussions for every student athlete in the nation's fourth largest school district.

UNMATCHED POPULARITY

Still, football in America maintains unmatched popularity. Super Bowl 50 is part of a decade-long trend of being the year's most watched program, with more than 110 million viewers. We're staying tuned to these evolving product and safety issues.

BLOW THE WHISTLE

OSHA OFFICIALS

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced this week a change in the way the department will commence whistleblower investigations. Under new OSHA guidance, examiners will now commence an investigation when they have reasonable cause to believe that an employer took retaliatory action against an employee for reporting unsafe work conditions. This way to OSHA's full program directive and guidance.

AFTER FURTHER REVIEW...

In this new directive, OSHA widened its scope of review of whistleblower complaints. The evidence need not conclusively show that a whistleblower's complaint led to an employer's adverse action, which could signal an uptick in employer investigations.

MAKING OUR WAY AROUND THE COUNTRY

WISCONSIN

Governor Scott Walker signed into law this week a measure to shorten the Wisconsin statute of limitations for personal injury cases involving insured automobile collisions to three years and for wrongful death actions to two years. Under the prior law, Wisconsin had one of the nation's longest personal injury limitations period of up to six years from the date of the automobile accident.

NEW MEXICO

Legislators in Santa Fe are seeking to establish an interdisciplinary committee to study the variable (and often exorbitant) cost associated with air ambulance service, which is often required in expansive rural states like New Mexico. This House resolution, known as a Memorial, would call upon the Department of Insurance and Workers' Compensation Administration to study the cost and impact these air ambulance transports have on consumers and payors in New Mexico. The study would be due to the New Mexico House by October 1, 2016.

VIRGINIA

The Commonwealth of Virginia is one of the few remaining states without a medical fee schedule for workers' compensation claims. Change could be on its way. This week, SB 631 passed the Senate and now heads to Virginia's House of Delegates for consideration.

IN THE LAND OF LINCOLN

Friday is the 207th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln. Today, The Way pauses to appreciate thewit, eloquence, and wisdom of nation's 16th President.

WELCOME

Welcome to The Way, Gallagher Bassett's weekly governmental briefing on state and federal affairs that affect our industry. Thank you for your readership, and we welcome your comments and feedback. For more information, please connect with GB on LinkedIn, follow us on Twitter, or contact the authors, Greg McKenna and Cari Miller directly.

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