Study: Drop in California Workers’ Comp Hospital Stays and Spinal Surgeries

The number of California workers’ compensation inpatient hospital stays fell 31.2 percent between 2008 and 2016 compared with a 19.6 percent drop in hospital stays paid under private plans, a new California Workers’ Compensation Institute study shows.

The study also shows a 2.4 percent increase in Medicare inpatient stays, and a 19.6 percent increase in inpatient stays paid by Medi-Cal, which saw a huge jump in enrollment with the rollout of Affordable Care Act plans.

California Bills Inspired by 2017 Mudslides and Fires Clear Committee

Two bills inspired by the 2017 mudslides and fires in California that are designed to help prevent homeowners from being underinsured when disaster strikes passed the Assembly Insurance Committee on Wednesday.

The bills, sponsored by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, passed out of the committee with a unanimous vote. Assembly Bill 1797, authored by Assemblyman Levine, D-Marin County, and Assembly Bill 1875, authored by Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, will help homeowners avoid being underinsured, a terrible problem faced by many survivors of the 2017 fires, according to Jones.

M3.3 Magnitude Rattles Shakes San Francisco Bay Area

A minor earthquake has shaken the San Francisco Bay area, the United States Geological Survey confirmed.

The USGS says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 3.3 struck just before 5 a.m. on Monday. The epicenter of the quake was about 24 miles east-northeast of San Francisco City Hall. The closest city to the 4:55 a.m. quake was Alamo, California, about 2 miles away. The quake had a depth of about 3.5 miles.

Emergency Officials Say Texts, Not Sirens, More Effective for Tornado Alerts

(TNS) - There’s nothing like a dramatic chorus of sirens sounding around a city to announce looming disasters.

But Guilford County doesn’t have a siren system that could have warned people before a tornado struck east Greensboro on April 15.

And the county’s emergency management director says that’s not a bad thing — texts and emails are much more likely to break through the distractions and alert people that something wicked is headed this way.

Transparency Reshaping the Risk Management Landscape

It's a whole new ballgame when it comes to protecting a business' reputation, according to Steven Minsky, CEO of enterprise risk management software provider LogicManager.

While regulators may be struggling to keep up with the times, the public isn't feeling quite so constrained. As the recent Facebook debacle shows, consumers and investors can swiftly throttle a business' reputation when they suspect the company isn't playing by the rules. "Companies are operating in what I call the 'see-through economy'—a dizzyingly, fast-paced age of transparency where consumers and investors are empowered by new technologies to impact a company’s reputation," said Minsky, who recently authored the study, The State of Risk Management in 2018.

The States Most and Least Prepared for Public Health Disasters

Maryland is best poised to respond to a public health crisis, while Nevada and Alaska are least prepared, according to a national index released earlier this month.

The National Health Security Preparedness Index measures states’ readiness to respond to health disasters, including natural disasters, terrorism and disease outbreaks—think Zika or Ebola.

‘Precipitation Whiplash’ Could Eventually Trigger Catastrophic California Flooding

In California in 1862, the area between Sacramento and San Francisco became, in effect, an inland sea of about 300 miles long by 30 miles wide after 40 to 45 straight days of rain.

That area is now home to millions of people and the state Capitol. What would happen if that type of rain event occurred in the near future, and what’s the likelihood? The answer to the first question is, there would be complete devastation. In looking for an answer to the second question scientists invoke a phenomenon they’re calling “precipitation whiplash.”

This refers to the rapid transitions between precipitation extremes and the opposite — so a heavy season of rain followed immediately by drought or vice versa. This, scientists say in a study published in the scientific journal, Nature Climate Change, is what California can expect in its future because of the warming climate.

It means that severe rain or drought will be concentrated in more narrow intervals of time than they have been traditionally. It means, possibly, more extreme flooding events and more drought.

California Bill Would Shield PG&E, Edison from Some Wildfire Liability

Utility giants PG&E Corp. and Edison International could gain at least some protection against future wildfire damages under a bill that’s advancing in California’s legislature.

An amended bill being weighed by California’s Senate would shield utilities that follow approved safety plans in future state proceedings should one of their power lines spark a wildfire. Utilities would remain vulnerable to potential civil lawsuits, and the legislation wouldn’t be retroactive — meaning PG&E and Edison could still face billions of dollars in costs from wildfires that destroyed thousands of structures last year.

Growing Cities Mean Growing Risks

On a recent list of the fastest growing American cities, Nashville jumped from 20th to 7th in a year. There are more than 210 active construction projects in the downtown core alone. We are hardly alone. Denver, New York, Charlotte, Atlanta and more are experiencing similar growth. Cities are booming and growing, and the construction cycle is showing little sign of letting up soon.

This growth presents great opportunity for companies in the construction industry. While it is exciting to see many succeed and take part in skyline-changing projects, it cannot be overlooked that with growing opportunity comes growing challenges. Risk management and comprehensive protections are becoming a central component of doing business, as more activity, more competition and tougher deadlines mean that no matter how good a company is with its service, risk is increased.

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