Featured Sponsor

Stacy S. Lee is an Associate Attorney with the Law Offices of Floyd Skeren Manukian Langevin, LLP in our firm's Orange County office. Ms. Lee graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles in 2003 with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a minor in public policy. She graduated Cum Laude from Chapman University School of Law in 2006, and was admitted to the state bar in December 2006. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Lee worked as a workers' compensation claims manager for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. Since entering the bar, she has aggressively defended workers' compensation cases before nearly every Workers' Compensation Appeals Board in Southern California. Ms. Lee currently represents employers, third party administrators, insurance companies, self-insured entities and uninsured employers in the defense of workers' compensation matters. Ms. Lee has also successfully handled Labor Code Section § 132(a) and serious and willful claims filed against employers.


Our School

Please visit our online school.

The WorkCompAcademy is a full featured online learning experience. Our faculty includes the leading practitioners in the California Workers' Compensation Community. Our online curriculum covers all aspects of Workers' Compensation Claims, from basic concepts to advanced topics of value to experienced practitioners such as senior claims exectives, attorneys, and Qualified Medical Evaluators. Students can access classes any time, from any internet connected computer. Courses can be completed at an individualized pace.

Workers' Compensation Daily News for Aug 19, 2018

Opioid 2019 Production "Quotas" Reduced 10%
Fri, 17 Aug 2018 06:11:35 - Pacific Time
The Department of Justice and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have proposed a reduction for controlled substances that may be manufactured in the U.S. next year. President Trump’s "Safe Prescribing Plan" that seeks to "cut nationwide opioid prescription fills by one-third within three years." The new proposal decreases manufacturing quotas for the six most frequently misused opioids for 2019 by an average ten percent as compared to the 2018 amount.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking marks the third straight year of proposed reductions, which help reduce the amount of drugs potentially diverted for trafficking and used to facilitate addiction.

On July 11, 2018, the Justice Department announced that DEA was issuing a final rule amending its regulations to improve the agency’s ability to consider the likelihood of whether a drug can be diverted for abuse when it sets annual opioid production limits. The final rule also promotes greater involvement from state attorneys general, and today’s proposed reduction will be sent to those offices.

In setting the aggregate production quota, DEA considers data from many sources, including estimates of the legitimate medical need from the Food and Drug Administration; estimates of retail consumption based on prescriptions dispensed; manufacturers’ disposition history and forecasts; data from DEA’s own internal system for tracking controlled substance transactions; and past quota histories.

The DEA has proposed to reduce more commonly prescribed schedule II opioids, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, morphine, and fentanyl.

Ultimately, revised limits will encourage vigilance on the part of opioid manufacturers, help DEA respond to the changing drug threat environment, and protect the American people from potential addictive drugs while ensuring that the country has enough opioids for legitimate medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs.

Once the aggregate quota is set, DEA allocates individual manufacturing and procurement quotas to those manufacturers that apply for them. DEA may revise a company’s quota at any time during the year if change is warranted due to increased or decreased sales or exports, new manufacturers entering the market, new product development, or product recalls.

When Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act, the quota system was intended to reduce or eliminate diversion from "legitimate channels of trade" by controlling the quantities of the basic ingredients needed for the manufacture of controlled substances.

The Proposed Aggregate Production Quotas for schedule I and II controlled substances published in the Federal Register reflects the total amount of controlled substances necessary to meet the country’s medical, scientific, research, industrial, and export needs for the year and for the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks. DEA establishes an APQ for more than 250 schedule I and II controlled substances annually.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines to practitioners recommending a reduction in the prescribing of opioid medications for chronic pain. DEA and its federal partners have increased efforts in the last several years to educate practitioners, pharmacists, manufacturers, distributors, and the public about the dangers associated with the misuse of opioid medications and the importance of proper prescribing.

Cal/OSHA Fines Advertising Company $32K
Fri, 17 Aug 2018 06:11:28 - Pacific Time
Cal/OSHA has issued citations to an outdoor advertising company for serious safety violations after a worker suffered third-degree burns when a metal pole he was using to install a sign on a billboard came into contact with an overhead power line.

On February 6, two sign hangers for Outfront Media were working 25 feet above ground on the billboard’s platform to install a vinyl sign over West 3rd Street. The workers were using 11-foot poles to place the 14-by-48-foot sign. One of the metal poles touched an energized high-voltage power line located near the edge of the billboard, which resulted in serious burns to 25 percent of the sign-hanger’s body.

Cal/OSHA issued three citations to Outfront Media totaling $32,435 in proposed penalties. A serious accident-related citation was issued for the employer’s violation of provisions for preventing accidents due to proximity to overhead lines, which requires a minimum clearance of 6 feet be maintained for work done near 34.5 kilovolt lines. A serious citation was issued for failure to identify and evaluate hazards related to installing signs on billboards in proximity to power lines. Cal/OSHA also issued a general citation to the employer for an inadequate heat illness prevention plan for its outdoor workers.

Since 2015, Cal/OSHA has opened 11 inspections with outdoor and display advertising employers. Among those inspections were six accidents, including an electric shock incident last year when a worker’s ladder came into contact with overhead power lines during preparations to hang a sign.  

A citation is classified as serious when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazard created by the violation.

Cal/OSHA offers a fact sheet for safety meetings on working safely on or near high voltage overhead lines. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch provides free and voluntary assistance to employers to improve their safety and health programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services. Read More...

Court Denies Peyman Heidary Indictment Appeal
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 08:55:13 - Pacific Time
Former chiropractor Peyman Heidary allegedly owned and oversaw a network of medical clinics to generate fraudulent billings to workers’ compensation and insurance carriers.

As a non-attorney, he also allegedly controlled the day-to-day operations of various law firms, including California Injury Lawyers.He allegedly controlled or directed hiring and firing, legal decision making, and income flow to and from the law firm. Codefendants Cary Abramowitz, a lawyer, and Ana Solis allegedly assisted Heidary in these operations.

Heidary also allegedly formed and controlled several health clinics in Southern California. Each was staffed by front and back room support staff for scheduling and basic medical services .

Included were chiropractors operating as primary treating physicians, allegedly providing blanket, cookie-cutter services to each patient at Heidary’s direction and making as many medical specialist referrals as possible. Despite their qualifications, they also wrote medical legal reports using Heidary’s templates, the most expensive report in workers’ compensation.

Medical doctors, or specialists, allegedly provided blanket treatment and medlegals on Heidary’s orders. Billings were made in each provider’s name, and payments were made to their accounts. However, Heidary required fee-splitting and he was the only one allowed to withdraw funds. Heidary also had the doctors sell their accounts-receivables (AR) to him, which he then sold to third parties.

Under the alleged fraud scheme, injured workers appeared at the law firm, which would fill out boilerplate paperwork and, on Heidary’s order, direct the workers to one of his clinics to begin treatment. At the clinic, the workers underwent treatments, regardless of need, such as massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, psychiatric and other services. After the maximum number of visits, they were discharged regardless of medical status.

A Riverside County grand jury returned an indictment against Heidary and his codefendants Cary Abramowitz, Ana Solis, and Gladys Ross. The criminal defendants filed a demurrer, and later a motion to dismiss this indictment, challenging in part whether they had received notice of the charges and whether the indictment improperly aggregated multiple acts into single counts. The trial court denied both requests. Heidary appealed.

The Court of Appeal summarily denied the petition on August 8, 2017. On October 11, 2017, the California Supreme Court intervened directing the Court of Appeal to address these issues. After this ordered review, the trial court ruling was affirmed by the Court of Appeal in the published case of Heidary v Superior Court.

Petitioner argues that the insurance fraud counts do not state specifics as to any single act, but aggregate claims of fraudulent acts by individual insurer, one insurer per count.

The Court of Appeal reviewed the indictment, the grand jury transcript, and exhibits submitted to the grand jury. The People took the testimony of the insurers’ fraud managers, or their representatives (such as in-house data analysts or third-party managers who collected the data for the responses), before the grand jury to walk through the spreadsheets and explain the data within them.

The reviewed materials meet the simplified California pleading rules and the due process requirements.

The Court concluded by noting "To the extent that petitioner continues to claim that the indictment, along with the grand jury transcript and exhibits, does not provide him notice of the charges against him, the court can only conclude that it is because petitioner is turning a blind eye while advancing his argument. Between the indictment, the contents of the thorough and detailed grand jury transcript, and the exhibits presented to the grand jury and contained in the record (including the record here), due process has been satisfied and petitioner has been given adequate notice of the charges against him. " Read More...

CDI Has 57 Unfilled Fraud Investigator Jobs
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 08:55:05 - Pacific Time
Ask Steve Poizner about how he’ll tackle health care costs if he recaptures his old job as California’s insurance commissioner, and he has a ready example.

Last year, he said, in a single fraud case involving bogus "medicated" creams and unnecessary urine tests, a Beverly Hills couple was charged with defrauding 27 health insurers out of $40 million."That’s just the tip of the iceberg," said Poizner, a Silicon Valley businessman. "Then there’s all of the fraud that never gets reported."

Poizner held the office from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican but now is running as an unaffiliated candidate, and has made fighting fraud a centerpiece of his health care agenda.

He argues that the health industry may be forfeiting billions of dollars because the state insurance department’s fraud division is understaffed: 57 investigator jobs, or 24 percent, are unfilled.

Ultimately, that inflates health care costs and puts patients in harm’s way, he said.

"These vacancy rates are critical to fill," Poizner said. "The less health care fraud there is, the better the quality of the health care system."

Poizner is sounding a very different note from his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Ricardo Lara, who says reducing health care costs requires a broad transformation of health care, not just chasing criminals.

Lara, who co-authored the controversial single-payer legislation that stalled last year, said he believes health care costs will drop if people have coverage instead of postponing care until it is most urgent and expensive. "If we can get everyone comprehensive primary care, that’s a good way to start," Lara said.

The insurance commissioner oversees car, property and some health insurance plans. Rooting out illegal activity is part of the job. Read More...

Industrial Auto Accidents are Increasing
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 10:00:22 - Pacific Time
Although there has been an overall decline in workers’ compensation claims, the frequency of claims for motor vehicle accidents (MVA) has increased in recent years.

According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) in a new report, these accidents can be very severe and are responsible for a significant portion of fatal workers’ compensation claims.

"While workers compensation claims have been declining, motor vehicle accidents have been on the rise over the last five years," said Jim Davis, author of the paper and NCCI director and actuary. "These often involve very serious injuries that can take their toll on injured workers and their families." An MVA claim is 12 times more likely to result in a fatality than a non-MVA claim.

NCCI actuaries found that from 2011 to 2016, the frequency of all claims declined by 17.6 percent, while the frequency of MVA claims increased by five percent. Additionally, 41 percent of fatal workers’ compensation claims were the result of a motor vehicle.

As expected, certain classifications, which are predominantly based on the use of motor vehicles, such as truckers, taxi drivers, and salespersons, generate the majority of MVA claims.

According to the workers’ compensation rating organization, motor vehicle accident claims cost 80 percent to 100 percent more than the average claim because they involve severe injuries. These claims also tend to represent a higher share of the costliest claims. Over a five-year period, motor vehicle claims accounted for 28 percent of workers’ compensation claims above $500,000, versus just five percent of all claims.

While numerous factors may explain the rise in accidents, the NCCI report notes that it is "striking how the increasing popularity and use of smartphones coincides with this growing trend" of motor vehicle accidents. By the end of 2010, approximately 27 percent of all cell phones were smartphones but by the end of 2016, that figure had tripled to 81 percent, the report notes.

According to a publication by the National Safety Council, a minimum of 27% of crashes involve drivers talking and texting on cell phones. However, the report also states that "there is strong evidence to support that underreporting of driver cell phone use in crashes is resulting in a substantial underestimation of the magnitude of the public safety threat."

The increase in motor vehicle accidents is not limited to workers’ compensation. NCCI found a similar pattern in the general population, with accidents generally increasing over the same time period, along with an increase in the number of traffic accident fatalities.

Express Scripts to Market $1M Genetic Pill
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 10:00:16 - Pacific Time
Express Scripts Holding Co built a multi-billion enterprise pressuring drug companies to lower their prices for U.S. patients. Now it is quietly building a side business: getting paid to help drug companies dispense a new generation of high-priced drugs.

Chief Medical Officer Steve Miller told Reuters in an interview that Express Scripts is in talks with biotechnology companies Biomarin Pharmaceutical Inc, Spark Therapeutics Inc and Bluebird Bio Inc to have its specialty pharmaceutical business exclusively distribute their new hemophilia therapies when they are expected to become available in 2019 and 2020,.

Biomarin, Spark and Bluebird confirmed to Reuters that they were speaking to a payers - a group generally defined as pharmacy benefit managers, health plans and government agencies. Analysts project those drugs could top $1 million to $1.5 million in price.

Rather than rail against the drugs’ expected high prices, Miller echoes the familiar drug company argument that the potentially curative therapies will likely be worth the high cost if they supplant the hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual medical costs to treat ailments such as hemophilia, which affects about 20,000 people in the United States alone.

"Even if they charge $1 million, that’s a great deal,” Miller said. “So there are going to be some gene therapies where it is very clear that everyone who has that disease should get it."

By working closely with biotech companies, Miller says it can help their expensive therapies succeed commercially. To manage any potential conflicts of interest, he said Express Scripts separates its benefits management and specialty pharmacy businesses.

The move into hemophilia builds on exclusive rights Express Scripts already has to distribute Spark’s Luxturna - an $850,000 treatment for a rare genetic disorder that, left untreated, causes children to go blind. It has a similar deal with Biogen Inc (BIIB.O) on Spinraza, he told Reuters. The drug costs $750,000 the first year and treats the rare condition spinal muscular atrophy that often kills babies within months of their birth. Spark and Biogen confirmed the agreements.

The company also helps manage one of the most expensive gene-based cancer treatments on the market: the $475,000 Novartis AG gene-based cancer therapy Kymriah - a personalized treatment that requires a long hospital stay. Novartis confirmed the arrangement to Reuters.

Those deals put Express Scripts in a vastly different role than its traditional business managing prescription drug claims for the employees of its corporate and government clients, a business Cigna Corp (CI.N) found so valuable that it agreed in March to acquire Express Scripts for $52 billion.

Express Scripts has been expanding its low-profile specialty pharmacy business - which dispenses drugs that usually aren’t sold through drugstores because they require special handling. By using its own pharmacy instead of outsiders, Express Scripts is able to hold onto more of the profits along the drug distribution chain.

Specialty pharmacy is one of Express Script’s fastest growing businesses and accounts for about a third of its sales and profits, ISI Evercore analyst Ross Muken said. The company earned $4.1 billion last year on total revenue of more than $100 billion - it does not break out financial information for specialty pharmacy.

Many of the newest, most advanced medicines - including gene-based therapies and personalized cancer treatments - will be dispensed through specialty pharmacies, and Express Scripts is pitching biotech companies for exclusive arrangements.

WCAB Invalidates AD Dispute Resolution Regulation
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 10:04:07 - Pacific Time
Anthony Dennis sustained an industrial injury to his right wrist on October 29, 2013 while working as an inmate laborer for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. His claim settled via Stipulation and Award for 31 % permanent disability on September 11, 2017.

Prior to the settlement, on May 15, 2017 the Department of Corrections sent a Notice of Offer of Modified Work stating that applicant had voluntarily terminated his employment since he had been released from prison after .the injury occurred. Dennis disputed the offer of work and requested a dispute resolution before the Administrative Director on September 19, 2017.

The parties never received a response from the AD. Thus Dennis filed a DOR to address the matter on February 5, 2018 as well as a "Petition for Grant of Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit."

Defendant claimed at trial that if applicant's DOR/Appeal of the Administrative Directors presumed denial was not timely. The WCJ found that it was not and thus, the ADs determination ( denial) was final, and denied the Petition for the SJDB Benefit.

Dennis filed for Reconsideration of this finding and also arguing that he is eligible to the voucher. The WCAB granted the Petition and ordered that he be provided with a SJDB Voucher in the case of Dennis v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The parties never received a finding from the Administrative Director; therefore the request was deemed denied on December 8, 2017 pursuant to 17 8 CCR 10133.54(±). An appeal of the denial was to be filed by December 28, 2017 per 8 CCR 10133.54(g).

Applicant filed his Petition for Grant of Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit on February 5, 2018, well after the time allotted per the regulations. 8 CCR 10133.54(g) states "Either party may appeal the determination of the administrative director by filing a written petition together with a declaration of readiness to proceed pursuant to section 10250 within twenty days after a request is deemed denied" .

The WCJ found that applicant is barred from SJDB because applicant failed to timely appeal the Administrative Director's presumed denial of his request.

However, section 5300 statutorily vests the Appeals Board with the exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate claims regarding the "recovery of compensation, or concerning any right or liability arising out of or incidental thereto" of injuries that "arise out of and in the course" of employment This exclusive jurisdiction extends to inmates who sustained injury arising out of and in the course of assigned employment. (§ 3370.)

Furthermore, section 4658.7(h) does nqt abrogate the Appeals Board ability to adjudicate disputes that arise under this subdivision. Section 4658.7(h) limits the Administrative Director to adopting regulations "for the administration of this section" and does not extent the Administrative Director's authority to adjudicate SJDB disputes.

Thus, irrespective of Rule 10133.54, the Appeals Board maintains exclusive jurisdiction, to adjudicate the issue of whether applicant is entitled to the benefits under the SJDB program.

While defendant timely sent applicant a Notice offering regular, modified, or alternative work, such offer was not a bona fide job offer because applicant was released from prison and could not return to prison for employment.

This decision may have further implications in terms of other dispute resolution functions of the AD, such as IMR.   Read More...

AI Accurately Diagnoses 50 Eye Conditions
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 10:04:01 - Pacific Time
London-based DeepMind, owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet, focuses heavily on the specifics of using artificial intelligence in health care, and on Monday it released a study showing the progress it's made in using AI to diagnose eye conditions.

Published in the science journal Nature Medicine, the study reports that DeepMind, in partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, has trained its algorithms to detect over 50 sight-threatening conditions to the same accuracy as expert clinicians. It's also capable of correctly recommending the most appropriate course of action for patients and prioritize those in most urgent need of care.

In a project that began two years ago, DeepMind trained its machine learning algorithms using thousands of historic and fully anonymized eye scans to identify diseases that could lead to sight loss. According to the study, the system can now do so with 94 percent accuracy, and the hope is that it could eventually be used to transform how eye exams are conducted around the world.

AI is taking on a number of roles within health care more widely. In June, Babylon Health said that it gave its artificial intelligence technology the same test required of would-be general practitioners in Britain and that the AI performed better than humans. In March, researchers found that machine learning can classify heart anatomy on an ultrasound scan better than a human. AI is also being used to help emergency call dispatchers in Europe detect heart attack situations.

Diagnosing eye diseases from ocular scans is a complex and time-consuming for doctors. Also, an aging global population means eye disease is becoming more prevalent, increasing the burden on healthcare systems. That's providing the opportunity for AI to pitch in.

"The number of eye scans we're performing is growing at a pace much faster than human experts are able to interpret them," said Pearse Keane, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields, in a statement. "There is a risk that this may cause delays in the diagnosis and treatment of sight-threatening diseases, which can be devastating for patients."

Using AI instead could mean earlier diagnoses for patients and therefore earlier treatment, leading to less deterioration in eyesight down the line. "It gives us the best chance of saving people's sight," said Keane.

DeepMind's AI has been trained using one particular type of eye scanner, but researchers say it's compatible with any model. Not only does this mean it can be used widely and without hardware restrictions, but that it will remain useful in the future even when equipment is replaced and updated.

The AI can also explain to doctors how it arrived at a particular decision, which will allow the doctors to scrutinize whether it's made the right call before going ahead with treatment.

Before the AI can be used in hospitals to diagnose real patients it must now go through clinical trials and gain regulatory approval.


Jury Awards $289M to Injured Groundskeeper
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 09:14:49 - Pacific Time
Chemical giant Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289m in compensatory and punitive damages to a man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer. In a landmark case, a Californian jury found that Monsanto knew its Roundup and RangerPro weedkillers were dangerous and failed to warn consumers. It's the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging a glyphosate link to cancer.

Monsanto denies that glyphosate causes cancer and says it intends to appeal against the ruling. "The jury got it wrong," vice-president Scott Partridge said outside the courthouse in San Francisco.

Groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014. His lawyers said he regularly used a form of RangerPro while working at a school in Benicia, California. He is among more than 5,000 similar plaintiffs across the US. The California ruling is likely to lead to hundreds of other claims against Monsanto, which was recently bought by the German conglomerate Bayer AG.

Following an eight-week trial, jurors found that the company had acted with "malice" and that its weedkillers contributed "substantially" to Mr Johnson's terminal illness. Mr Johnson's lawyer, Brent Wisner, said the jury's verdict showed that the evidence against the product was "overwhelming."

The company disagreed. "Today's decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews - and conclusions by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world - support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr Johnson's cancer,"

Glyphosate is the world's most common weedkiller and the science about its safety is still far from settled.

In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organization's cancer agency, concluded that it was "probably carcinogenic to humans". but the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to insist that glyphosate is safe when used carefully.

Campaigners question how the EPA assessment was reached, citing evidence of what they say was inappropriate industry involvement in the decision. Some Democrats have even called for a Department of Justice investigation into alleged collusion between government officials and Monsanto.

In California, where a judge recently ruled that coffee must carry a cancer warning, the agriculture industry sued to prevent such a label for glyphosate even though the state lists it as a chemical known to cause cancer.

In Europe the battle over glyphosate has been fierce. French President Emmanuel Macron is trying to ban it despite the resistance of some French lawmakers and the fact that the European Commission recently granted the weedkiller another five-year licence.

The evidence used in the case will likely be used to support industrial injury claims by California workers' who have had work related exposure to glyphosate and suffer health consequences. Read More...

MRI Scans - Maybe Not So Safe After All
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 09:14:42 - Pacific Time
Gadolinium contrast media are chemical substances used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. When injected into the body, gadolinium contrast medium enhances and improves the quality of the MRI images. It is used in about 1 in 3 of MRI scans

Three MRI contrast agents have been approved for clinical use in the United States as of 1994. Six more MRI contrast agents were approved by FDA for clinical use from 1995 through 2017.

Radiologists and patients began to question the safety of gadolinium a few years ago when a study came out in late 2014 showing the agent is deposited and retained in the brain.This, combined with a small percentage of patients who claim their health was harmed following gadolinium exams, has sparked a big debate in radiology over the safety of these agents.

There are numerous patient-created groups on social media that discuss MRI gadolinium toxicity issues, which have raise public awareness on the topic of possible connections with previously unknown gadolinium side effects.

The biggest public relations boost for these patients came in November 2017 when action movie actor Chuck Norris filed a lawsuit against a contrast vendor and the contrast distributor for allegedly poisoning his wife Gena. She had several contrast MRI exams and the suit alleges numerous adverse health effects began after these exams. Norris is seeking $10 million in damage.

The suit alleges she contracted what is being called "gadolinium deposition disease." It is a term often used by patients who claim they now have chronic health problems from their contrast MRI exams. However, the term is not accepted by many in the medical community because of the lack of scientific evidence showing a direct connection with the contrast agents.

The lawsuit described Gena’s symptoms as burning pain throughout her body, violent shaking, numbness, tingling, weakness, cognitive deficits, kidney damage and trouble breathing. These symptoms are similar to others often reported in patient social media groups.

The FDA stated there is no clinical evidence that directly links gadolinium retention to adverse health effects in patients with normal kidney function, and the FDA has concluded that the benefit of all approved GBCAs continues to outweigh any potential risks.

However, in July 2017, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a final opinion that recommended restricting the use of some linear gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) and suspending the marketing authorizations of others, citing concerns about gadolinium deposition.

Patients that say they were harmed by gadolinium agents often argue they were never given any sort of informed consent documents to sign warning them of gadolinium’s potential hazards. Experts speaking at Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2017 said this might be easier said than done.

Worker's Compensation Claims Administrators need to be aware of these risks, which may cause a compensable consequence injury to an injured worker. Utilization Review vendors should carefully review a RFA for a contrast study, and consider safer alternatives when they are available.

Some MRI vendors have touted new technologies like black blood imaging, or new protocols that can reduce or eliminate the need for MRI contrast. However, some types of exams still require the use of gadolinium in order to answer the clinical questions the MRI is supposed to answer. There is ongoing research to find alternatives, but currently there is no good alternative for all the things that the gadolinium can help with. Read More...

Past Week News Archive

Feds Join 4 Whistleblower Opiate Cases: Fri, 10 Aug 2018 09:23:23 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Another $2B Health Insurance/Pharmacy Merger: Fri, 10 Aug 2018 09:23:16 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Illegal Fentanyl Floods California Border: Thu, 9 Aug 2018 10:02:55 - Pacific Time: Read More...

WCIRB Proposes 4.5% Rate Reduction: Thu, 9 Aug 2018 10:02:49 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Second WCAB Appointment Has No WC Experience: Wed, 8 Aug 2018 08:02:07 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Indicted Owner of Sham Clinics Faces Immigration Charges: Wed, 8 Aug 2018 08:02:00 - Pacific Time: Read More...

WCAB Adds Instead of Combining PD Ratings: Tue, 7 Aug 2018 09:15:03 - Pacific Time: Read More...

FDA Rejects Another New Opioid: Tue, 7 Aug 2018 09:14:58 - Pacific Time: Read More...

14 California Hospitals Settle Fraud Claims for $65M: Mon, 6 Aug 2018 07:43:31 - Pacific Time: Read More...

Unlicensed Tree Trimmer v. Homeowner Suit Affirmed: Mon, 6 Aug 2018 07:43:24 - Pacific Time: Read More...