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Great workers comp journalism


Special kudos go to the Belleville News-Democrat for doggedly pursuing the ongoing story about Menard Correctional Center guards responsible for collecting $10 million in workers compensation disability settlements and benefits.

The Illinois guards have claimed that turning prison keys caused them repetitive trauma injuries and BND's reports have led to ongoing criminal investigations and the dismissal of workers comp hearing officers.

In the ongoing story's latest turn, the paper just received 50 reports on nerve tests used to award the guards settlements.

It had to fight for those reports, which have the claimant's identifications removed.

An Illinois Attorney General ruled in April that the nerve-test records are public documents, but the Central Management Services, which process workers comp claims for the state refused to release them.

The CMS claimed the records are proprietary.

But the Belleville News-Democrat persisted and a judge ruled the records must be turned over to the newspaper. Now the paper says it plans to have medical professionals analyze the tests.

For 324 days the Belleville News-Democrat had been running a graphic of a padlock on its editorial page. That's how long it took to receive the public records, which Comp Time hopes will shed light on how taxpayer money has been spent.

Way to go, BND!

And while handing out kudos, Comp Time also likes Joe Paduda's March 3 blog post in Managed Care Matters.

Joe takes on the sloppy reporting and paid-off researchers that shape news stories about health research.

In other news, PMSI said in a press release that it examined more than 3,000 transactions it processed in Texas and found that the state's recently enacted Closed Formulary for prescriptions is saving workers comp payers money and helping injured workers receive medically appropriate drugs.

PMSI provides specialty products for work comp and liability markets. A report on its findings are available here.