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SPOTLIGHT: WOEMA Legislative Committee

Anne Searcy, MD

Bob Blink, MD
This past year, WOEMA Legislative Committee members have ranged wide across the policymaking arena to improve the workplace safety, public health, and the practice of Occupational Medicine. It’s been a busy year, and you have a great team working on your behalf. The WOEMA Legislative Committee continues under the leadership of chairs by Dr. Robert Blink and Dr. Anne Searcy, with the active participation of about 15 members. WOEMA continues to be the only ACOEM Component with a paid lobbyist on staff, Don Schinske, who has been key in helping WOEMA attain its profile and effectiveness in the legislative and regulatory process.

WOEMA Legislative Committee news:

CA Legislature in session; bills followed by WOEMA include
    • SB 193 (Monning) – continuing effort supported by WOEMA to allow DPH/ HESIS to require reporting of toxic agents upon request
    • AB 1576 – increased protection for adult film industry workers (WOEMA supports; similar to our support last year for SB 332)
    • AB 2052 and other bills attempting to expand presumption of work causation – WOEMA opposes efforts to bypass scientific methods.
    Other CA actions:
    • DWC: SB 863 implementation is now nearly complete; predictably, there are problems and we are following closely.
      • WOEMA Legislative Committee members met with DWC in January on various issues including payment for records review and extended reports.
      • There is considerable concern at the increasing complexity of the California workers’ comp system. We continue to interact with the DWC on this and are networking with other stakeholders to address these concerns.
      • Other issues we are involved in include Independent Medical Review (IMR), proposed changes in the MTUS evidence hierarchy, opioid treatment, etc.
    • Cal OSHA: Members of the Legislative Committee have met with Cal OSHA discuss Cal OSHA efforts to lower Blood Lead Levels (BLL) used in medical surveillance standards, and other issues. WOEMA has given input and support for lowering BLL levels used.
  • All states = Several new standards and proposed laws have come out regarding opiates and chronic pain treatment, which we are following closely.
  • AZ, HI, NV: we continue to monitor state-specific issues with input from WOEMA members in those states.
Click here for more WOEMA Legislative News & Resources
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The Med Tech Corner with Dr. Dean Gean — a great website for Mobile medical App reviews.
"If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime" - in this spirit, I wanted to tell you about "," the best website I have seen for Mobile Medical Apps. It is written by physicians, and I was so impressed I offered to write for them for free, but they declined (I suspect they thought I was overcharging for my services). Written by physicians, for physicians and patients, this site features in depth reviews of mobile medical apps for all platforms (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows). Featuring "Top Apps" (for physicians) and a tab "Top Apps for Patients" this site is a high quality clearinghouse for one of the most exciting areas in medicine today.
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WOEMA Webinar: Hypertension - Joel Handler, MD - June 25
On June 25, 2014, Dr. Joel Handler will be speaking on Hypertension - Hypertension: Post Joint National Committee Hypertension Update

Hypertension recommendations have changed with the new Joint National Committee on High Blood Pressure (JNC8) evidence-based guideline, and are finding their way into general practice. It is important for primary care practitioners to understand the rationale for the new guideline. Delivery of care is dependent upon accurate blood pressure measurement, and participants will learn to avoid common errors.

  • Recognize the JNC8 recommendations for the treatment of hypertension
  • Identify and avoid common errors in blood pressure measurement
  • Explain the elements of protocoled care that are associated with a high rate of hypertension control
Speaker: Dr. Joel Handler has been the national Kaiser Permanente Clinical Hypertension Lead since 2006, and since 2005 has been the southern California Kaiser Permanente region hypertension lead. In these roles he is responsible for the development and periodic review of hypertension treatment guidelines as well as their implementation. He created a referral clinic for resistant hypertension in 1992 and sees KP patients throughout southern California. Dr. Handler is currently certified in internal medicine, critical care medicine, geriatrics, and is an American Society of Hypertension Specialist in Clinical Hypertension.

Click to register online or visit the WOEMA Webinar webpage for more information.
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California Injured Workers Medical Costs Moderated Before Reforms
Insurance Journal
A study issued by the Workers Compensation Research Institute shows medical costs for injured workers in California moderated before sweeping reforms were implemented.

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Why Using Painkillers to Treat Chronic Pain Could Totally Backfire
Business Insider
A controversial new pain pill is slated to hit the market in March, and it's stirring discussion about whether it's wise to take prescription drugs for long-term pain at all.

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States Rebel Against Powerful New Painkiller
The Associated Press via ABC News
State officials around the country are rebelling over a powerful new painkiller that law enforcement and public health authorities fear could worsen the nation's deadly scourge of heroin and prescription drug abuse.

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Over 25 hours of CME, dinner & dancing at the famous
Hotel del Coronado, baseball game at PetCo Park AND hands-on
OEM training, tips & tools?


WOHC 2014
September 17 – 20 Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa

Yes, that’s right, WOHC 14 in San Diego has just about everything to offer!

Over 25 hours of Category 1 & MOC Credit with conference highlights including:
  • Keynote speaker: Dr. John Howard, NIOSH, The Future of Occupational Medicine
  • Closing Speaker: FBI profiler and man behind the hit TV Show “Criminal Minds”, Eugene Rugala to speak on Workplace Violence & Threat Management
  • Interactive Clinical Refresher courses – 4 post grad sessions to choose from – each constructed with the front-line occupational medicine provider in mind
  • Lifestyle Medicine: Tackling the Chronic Disease Epidemic
Click here for complete conference agenda

Special Events:
  • Signature Event at the Hotel del Coronado: Champagne cocktail on the beach at sunset, followed by dinner & dancing
  • MLB Baseball game – Giants vs. Padres at PetCo Park
  • Guest tours to Balboa Park and Trolley Tour of downtown San Diego
Click here for all special events, pricing & registration

Sessions with limited capacity and social events are filling up fast!
Don't wait to register! WOHC 14 is now just THREE months away!

Click here to register for WOHC 2014

Click here for Coronado Marriott Resort & Spa
Hotel information and reservations
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Preventing Serious Heat Problems
Occupational Health and Safety
OSHA points out that heat exposure occurs in many occupations, ranging commercial kitchens and laundries to chemical plants and foundries. Those working outdoors in hot weather and direct sun — including farm workers, construction workers, oil and gas extraction workers, landscapers, emergency responders — also may be at higher risk of heat-related illness.
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OSHA, DHS, EPA Release Blueprint for Improving Chemical Facilities' Safety
Occupational Health & Safety Magazine
President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13650, "Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security," on Aug. 1, 2013, directing several federal agencies to identify wants to increase the safety and security of chemical facilities and reduce risks associated with hazardous chemicals such as ammonium nitrate, the fertilizer that exploded in West, Texas, earlier that year.
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SPECT/CT Reveals Best Treatment for Low Back Pain
Medical Xpress
Low back pain is not only excruciating but also debilitating for countless sufferers. Unfortunately, not everyone responds to treatment. A molecular imaging scan in addition to a conventional bone scan can provide the necessary information about the physiological health of the spine to select the most appropriate pain-killing treatment protocol, say researchers at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging's 2014 Annual Meeting.
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Missed our previous issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    WOEMA Launches New Website — (WOEMA)
WOHC 2014 — Sailing Towards OEM Success: Practice Tools, Tips & Techniques
Registration is now open!
Why Using Painkillers to Treat Chronic Pain Could Totally Backfire (Business Insider)
Model Can Predict Spine Surgery Complications (HealthDay News via Medical Xpress)
States Rebel Against Powerful New Painkiller (The Associated Press via ABC News)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

Employers Still in the Dark About PPACA Costs
Though it's the talk — and concern — of companies nationwide (and has been for years, now), most employers still haven't gotten around to measuring the cost impact of Obamacare. That's the significant finding from a new survey of more than 1,000 employers from broker Willis.
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Can Virtual Reality Therapy Help Alleviate Chronic Pain?
Medical Xpress
Chronic pain due to disease or injury is common, and even prescription pain medications cannot provide acceptable pain relief for many individuals. Virtual reality as a means of distraction, inducing positive emotions, or creating the perception of "swapping" a limb or bodily area affected by chronic pain in a virtual environment can be a powerful therapeutic tool, as described in several articles in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
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Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Caleb Gremmer, Content Editor, 469.420.2648  
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