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Maine Occupational Research Agenda (MORA) Meeting

Bureau of Labor Standards

Third Floor Conference Room

April 13, 2005



Staff Present: Ted Bradstreet, Steve Greeley, Terry Hathaway, Leslie Manning, & Desi-Rae Mason.


Staff Absent: John Rioux


Members Present: Sharon D’Orsie (USM), Peter Doran (ALAM), Carol Eckert (MIOHE), Saskia Janes (Maine Public Health Association), Ginger Jordan-Hillier (DEP), Jonathan Lepoff (Consultant), Kim Lim (Bureau of Labor Standards), Dwight Littlefield (Maine Bureau of Health), Steve Minkowsky (Maine Workers’ Compensation Board), Ivan Most (Strategic Occupational Health), John Newton (OSHA), & Leslie Walleigh (Workplace Health/Bureau of Health).


Members Absent: Brad Brown (Bureau of Insurance), Valerie Carter (Bureau of Labor Education), Peter Crockett (MLGH), Denise Dumont (U.S. HealthWorks), Ruth   Lawson-Stopps (Occupational Health Associates), Jeff Levesque (Maine Workers’ Compensation Board), Louise Morang (MAOHN), & Pat Philbrook (Maine State Nurses Association).


Guests: Ron Dyer (DEP) and Ann Backus (Harvard Public School of Health)



Jonathan Lepoff opened the meeting at 9:04 A.M.


Approval of February 9, 2005 Minutes.  Carol Eckert made a motion to accept the minutes of February 9, 2005. Sharon D’Orsie seconded. Ginger Jordan-Hillier noted an error on page 3, line 13, which should read “elemental” mercury. Corrected minutes were approved unanimously.


As guests were present, introductions were made.


Overview of Smart Production Program - Ron Dyer (DEP). Ron Dyer presented an overview of the Smart Production Program, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Innovation and Assistance. He provided a couple of handouts, “Annual Report 2005” and “The Maine Step-Up Program”. Under this program, DEP provides free technical assistance for small businesses regarding toxics and hazardous waste reduction. Ron’s presentation was followed by a discussion. Ron’s office can collect the data, but a metrics report needs to be done. He will notify Terry of the web site of the list of participating businesses; this will be forwarded to the steering committee.


DEP will be hosting another session this summer or fall on how to use the variety of chemical databases for both the public and private sectors. Sharon D’Orsie will work with DEP on pulling this together.


Leslie Manning suggested that the Bureau’s SafetyWorks! office coordinate with Ron Dyer on this program.


Memorandum of Understanding. Carol Eckert asked the status of the MOU between MORA and MCD. Carol is going to get ballots to MIOHE for a vote on the transfer of funds from MIOHE to MORA, using MCD as a fiscal agent.


Regarding the MOU between MORA and BLS, Leslie Manning would like to see a financial statement for MORA as MORA needs to be accountable. UNE is holding the money left over from the previous conference. This money is being used for the upcoming 2005 MORA Symposium. The Bureau of Labor Standards is picking up the balance of the symposium, but Leslie said, “we are not staking MORA’s independent entity”.


Also, Leslie Manning suggested that the June meeting be devoted entirely to the future of MORA. There could be an outside facilitator.


Leslie Manning would like MORA to have a treasurer and finance committee to produce a financial report annually; MCD is only a fiscal agent.


Gwen Thomas, Assistant Attorney General for the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards, attended the meeting as a guest. Gwen doesn’t know if she is authorized to advise MORA. She asked for a history of MORA. Jonathan Lepoff told her that MORA is not a part of State government and MORA is not mandated by statute. Ginger Jordan-Hillier said that the Bureau provides the secretary and provides meeting space. Jonathan further explained that MORA grew out of a conference on occupational safety and health research and one of the sessions at that conference dealt with establishing a research agenda. MORA is a sponsored activity of the Bureau and needs to stand alone. MORA needs a “code of conduct”.  Leslie Manning said that BLS would provide a level of support to be negotiated as a public/private partnership. Gwen will check with her peers to see about a code of conduct.


Leslie Manning suggested legislation or rules for MORA and would make a recommendation to the Bureau Director.


Gwen needs more information, which Terry Hathaway will provide. Gwen will then notify Leslie Manning, who will report back to MORA.


Peter Doran suggested Saskia speak with John LaCasse (Medical Care Development) regarding the types of organizations associated with MCD.


Leslie Manning said that the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor wants MORA to be an advisory group.


Carol Eckert will go ahead with the dissolution of MIOHE and leave the money in a bank account.


Saskia said that MCD is willing to take on this piece, but needs to know what the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards will provide and their responsibility.


Prevention Data Advisory Group (PDAG) Update – Leslie Walleigh. Leslie summarized the March 16th meeting of PDAG. A prelimary report for the labor committee has been distributed; it was requested that the report be sent to work group members via e-mail. Steve Minkowsky did a presentation on issues relating to M.O.’s (Medical Only’s) and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). Paul Fortier, Maine Workers’ Compensation Board, was a guest. He told the work group members that requiring M.O.’s to be filed with Workers’ Compensation, the total reports received by that agency would reach 80,000 and additional staff would need to be hired. There is no clear definition of what a M.O. is; large companies have in-house medical staff, so no report needs to be filed.


Workers’ Comp – Medical Only’s (M.O.’s).  Steve Minkowsky handed out a copy of the EDI filing law as well as a copy of “Definition of Medical Only First Reports and Proposed Electronic Filing Rule”. Maine is the only state having unique requirements that other states don’t have. MORA has looked at databases as well as the Prevention Data Advisory Group. The work group could look at M.O. data to see how they may be a basis for future First Report of Injury (FROI). Steve suggested MORA and the Prevention Data Advisory Group should make a case for filing M.O.’s. 


Ivan Most suggested a research proposal,  how many M.O.’s turn into FROI’s?” Workers’ Compensation is willing to gather data.


Steve explained that the purpose of Section 359 is to target employers with no recorded coverage; substantial penalties are occurring. He also explained that Workers’ Compensation audits specific carriers who have poor compliance; for example, questionable claims practices. Maine is one of the few states with full public disclosure. Public disclosure is on the Workers’ Compensation web site. Workers’ Compensation puts together a corrective action plan for the carrier and then refers them to the Bureau of Insurance.


MEMIC, who is the largest carrier filing ED, already files M.O.’s with Workers’ Compensation. Kim Lim said that MEMIC codes their own reports and can create an internal report that would have M.O.’s.


Steve asked the steering committee if they would like to have someone from MEMIC address the group. MORA would like Steve to ask Dan Cote about M.O.’s. MORA would like to know the conversion of M.O.’s to FROI’s and how to prevent injuries. It was suggested that a target group be selected; Leslie suggested custodians. Steve will contact Dan Cote and cc Kim Lim.

Report will be presented at the July meeting.


2005  Conference Update – Kim Lim. Kim provided an update on financials. So far, there have been three (3) sponsorships, totaling $250, 14 paid registrants, 30 non-paid registrants, 50 presenters. MEMIC is mailing 300 fliers. Leslie Manning suggested that an invitation be issued to the co-chairs of the Labor Committee. Jonathan Lepoff will write a letter inviting them.


Open Forum.  Leslie Walleigh announced that on May 19, 2005, at the Cumberland Club in Portland, there will be a dinner meeting on “Workplace Violence: Issues and Strategies”, sponsored by the New England College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The guest speaker will be Gene Rugala, Supervisory Special Agent, FBI National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Quantico , Virginia. Members present would like their e-mail addresses forwarded to Ann Backus so they can be kept updated on what is going on. Terry will get the list to Ann.


Anne Backus, Harvard School of Public Health, told the group that financial picture does not look good for the CDC reorganization.


Ann works with the health effects of the fishing industries. She is a member of the Maine Commercial Fishing Safety Council. She will be going on the “Sunbeam” to go to Matinicus and Isle Au Haut to talk to fishermen, bringing research to them. Ginger said there would be a tie-in with toxic use regarding waste being thrown overboard.


Next Meeting – Wednesday, June 8, 2005 – Agenda.  The major topic of the meeting is the organization of MORA.


Adjournment. Jonathan adjourned the meeting at 12:14 PM.

Respectfully submitted,


Terry M. Hathaway