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Maine Occupational Research Agenda (MORA)
Steering Committee Meeting
Minutes

Bureau of Labor Standards

Third Floor Conference Room

February 12, 2003

 

 

Staff Present: Terry Hathaway, Lynne Lamstein, & John Rioux.

 

Members Present: Brad Brown (Bureau of Insurance), Peter Crockett (MLGH), Peter Doran (MIOHE), Denise Dumont (U.S. HealthWorks), Carol Eckert (MIOHE), Ruth Lawson-Stopps (Occupational Health Associates), Jonathan Lepoff, Kim Lim (Maine Bureau of Labor Standards), Steve Minkowsky (Maine Workers Compensation Board), Ivan Most (Strategic Occupational Health), Pat Philbrook (Maine State Nurses Association), Jonathan Torres (Workmed) & Leslie Walleigh (Workplace Health).

 

Members Absent:  Ron Dyer (DEP), Brenda Joly (Maine Center for Public Health), Andy Smith (Bureau of Health) & Castine Verrill (Maine Cancer Registry).

 

Guests:  Jeff Levesque (Maine Workers’ Compensation Board) & Skip Hoyt (OSHA).

 

 

Peter Doran opened the meeting at 9:10 AM. He announced an addition to the agenda, a procedure for approving the minutes of the MORA Steering Committee meeting.  He also handed out an Earl Dotter article, ‘Winter Harvest of Danger: Fishing On Board a Maine Trawler in the Storm-Tossed North Atlantic’ (Public Health Reports, July-August 2003), Fisherman’s Voice-January 2003.  The illustrated article previews Earl’s exhibit scheduled for our 2003 Conference.

 

Conference 2003 - Brief update by Kim, Ivan, & Lynne.  Kim announced that the speakers are committed. There is a lot of room for poster sessions. Also, MORA committee members will need to be facilitators. More information is available on the MORA website, www.maine.gov/labor/bls/mora/ <http://www.maine.gov/labor/bls/mora/>. Lynne circulated a list for folks to sign up for multiple copies of the conference brochure.

 

Peter reminded steering committee members to let Lynne know their preference of the MORA brochure cover.


 

Procedure for Approval of Minutes - Lynne.  Each steering committee member received a copy of the proposed procedure for the approval of the minutes. The procedure is, as follows:

 

1.   Terry drafts the minutes; sends them to Peter Doran.

2.   Peter revises, approves, & sends back to Terry.

3.   Terry sends the minutes to the steering committee.

4.   The Steering Committee approves at the next meeting, making

 the minutes public.

5.   Terry sends the approved minutes to the larger MORA group &

Lynne puts them on the web.

 

Jonathan Lepoff made a motion to use this procedure for the minutes.  Steve Minkowsky seconded the motion. Vote, unanimous.

 

Cost Drivers Priorities - A brief update by John R., Jeff Levesque, & Steve M.  Maine’s workers’ compensation monitoring program is one of the top ten in the country. A bill will modify behavior of insurance companies by having them file a report electronically with the Workers’ Compensation Board of any injury that requires medical care, not just lost time cases.

 

John Rioux announced that The Annual Report of the Status of the Maine Workers’ Compensation System is now available. He explained that this is a joint report, mandated by law, between Workers’ Compensation, the Bureau of Insurance, and the Bureau of Labor Standards.

 

John went on to explain that the subcommittee is analyzing the Workers’ Compensation file of cases for the years, 1994-1998, costing over $5,000 and case specific. The top 100 have been turned over to Jeff Levesque as a pilot project.

 

Jeff is in the process of ranking them. Jeff explained that he’s started looking into the top 100 claims to see if the claim was denied initially what the injury led to, failures in secondary treatments, safety failures, medical costs, and, in some cases, legal costs. Jeff will also be reviewing the medical records and contacting the insurers in these cases. The claim becomes the focus of the injured person’s life causing them to lose the motivation to work.

 

Jeff noted that the First Reports do not have all the elements of the injury/disease; there is a breakdown between the initial First Report and the final diagnosis. Carol suggested that Jeff come back to the Steering Committee at the April meeting to report his findings. March will be when Jeff has a draft for comments. Ivan suggested that there is a NORA model for intervention effectiveness research and that they fund research projects.

 

Discussion of Expectations and Plans for MORA’s Future - Peter Doran. MORA has pretty well accomplished its mission. The Steering Committee has identified six (6) priorities, which we should review and see if we want to promote further research. We have adopted other functions, such as advocacy. What role should we be playing (legislative, administrative)?  Healthy Maine 2010 is a public health report published by the Bureau of Health, Department of Human Services, which identifies MORA and MIOHE roles. We are also involved in education and training (conferences and workshops).  To what extent should we be involved?

 

Ivan suggested we look at the priorities and see which ones have “homes” and lead agencies and which ones don’t.

 

Ivan suggested that the Steering Committee could partner at the community level.  Ruth suggested the Steering Committee could ask for NORA’s assistance to get the research priorities off the ground; also, we could seek assistance from NIOSH how to proceed.

 

Ivan noted that the Steering Committee would have a chance at the 2003 Conference to ask for assistance. He suggested that we formulate questions to be addressed at that time. Also, Ivan will be making a presentation on MORA at the NORA Conference in June.

 

Kim stated that OSHA has different perspectives. Skip Hoyt told the Steering Committee that OSHA is doing LEP’s (Local Emphasis Programs) regarding toxic exposures in auto body shops, amputations in woodworking.

 

Jon Torres raised the question of the status of the Steering Committee reporting to the larger MORA group. It was decided that the Steering Committee should reaffirm their priorities to the larger MORA group at Conference 2003.

 

Denise suggested that the Conference 2003 would be a good opportunity to meet with interested parties concerning the six research priorities.

 

Jeff Levesque suggested that New Brunswick has a full data set and that the Steering Committee should contact Rick Hancox to discuss this.

 

Peter Doran will present at the March meeting a proposal of a formal agreement with American Lung Association of Maine to pursue the occupational asthma priority. Kim suggested that Bill Peabody could be beneficial in explaining what needs to be in an agreement for data sharing as well as defining MORA (is it under the auspices of BLS?).

 

Advocacy - Steve & Ruth.  Steve explained the handout, L.D. No. 398, “An Act To Improve Collection of Information about Work-related Injuries and To Enhance Injury Prevention Efforts”. Steve noted that the sponsor and several co-sponsors are members of the Labor Committee.  The Bill will modify behavior of insurance companies by having them file a report electronically with the Workers’ Compensation Board of any injury that requires medical care, not just lost time cases. Steve encouraged MORA Steering Committee members to establish a presence. The public hearing should be coming up within the next month or so.  Ruth will keep Steering Committee members updated.

 

Pat Philbrook is also a member of the Health Security Board and the Health Action Team, established by the Governor. The goal is to be sure that every Maine person has health insurance. The Bill is in the Insurance and Banking Committee.

 

Minutes of December 13, 2002.  Jonathan Lepoff made a motion to approve the minutes of that date. Leslie Walleigh seconded the motion. Vote, unanimous.

 

Next meeting. The next meeting of the MORA Steering Committee will be held on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 9:00 AM - Noon, Bureau of Labor Standards Third Floor Conference Room.  The Steering Committee will continue with today’s agenda.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

Terry M. Hathaway

Secretary