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Maine Occupational Research Agenda (MORA) Meeting
Minutes

Bureau of Labor Standards

Third Floor Conference Room

June 9, 2004

Staff Present: Terry Hathaway, Lynne Lamstein, Kurtis Petersons (Summer Intern), & John Rioux.

Staff Absent: Desi-Rae Grady

Members Present: Ron Dyer (DEP), Peter Crockett (MLGH), Peter Doran (MIOHE), Carol Eckert (MIOHE), Saskia Janes (Maine Public Health Association), Ruth   Lawson-Stopps (Occupational Health Associates), Jonathan Lepoff (Consultant), Jeff Levesque (Maine Workers’ Compensation Board), & Ivan Most (Strategic Occupational Health).

Members Absent:  Brad Brown (Bureau of Insurance), Valerie Carter (Bureau of Labor Education), Sharon D’Orsie (USM), Denise Dumont (U.S. HealthWorks), Kim Lim (Bureau of Labor Standards), Dwight Littlefield (Maine Bureau of Health), Heather Mason (Maine Safety Council), Steve Minkowsky (Maine Workers’ Compensation Board), Louise Morang (MAOHN), Pat Philbrook (Maine State Nurses Association), Jonathan Torres (WorkMed),, & Leslie Walleigh (Workplace Health).

Ivan Most, Chair, opened the meeting at 9:05 A.M.

Approval of May 12, 2004 Minutes.  Jonathan Lepoff made a motion to accept the minutes. Ron Dyer, seconded. Vote, unanimous.

Operative Document. MORA looked at the other two (2) objectives of the Operative Document. Changes were made. Terry Hathaway will send the revised copy to MORA members for review before the next meeting, August 11th. Ivan Most asked members to concentrate on  “who and when”.

Report of Meeting with Commissioner – Ivan Most. Ivan summarized the meeting with the Commissioner. Along with Ivan were John Rioux, Ruth Lawson-Stopps, and Bill Peabody. The Commissioner would like MORA to pick up some of the activities that the Commission used to do and that the activities could be divided between MORA and the Occupational Safety and Health Data Collection and Injury Prevention Work Group. Also, she would like to see MORA as an advisory group to the Commissioner. MORA needs to become more independent from BLS. This would include two (2) decisions—incorporation and nonprofit. This will tie in with the Operative Document, Goal II, Objective A. A group was formed to look at this objective and make recommendations by the September meeting. The group consists of Saskia Janes, Carol Eckert, Peter Doran, and Jonathan Lepoff. Ivan Most will call a meeting of this group.

Lead and Occupational Disease Reporting – Carol Eckert.  Carol Eckert presented her findings on her public health graduate research. Members were given an abstract entitled “Occupational Disease Reporting—Possible and Practical”. The last published report was “Survey of Disease Reporting Law” (MIOHE) IN 1996. Also, handed out was a summary table on blood lead levels, based on adult workers. This data is based on two (2) years, 2002-2003) and does not include self-employeds, small employers, or manufacturers. There is a federal program ABLES (Adult Blood Lead Exposure Surveillance).  Lead levels are dropping due to government regulation. HUD is starting a lead removal program. Also, Peter Doran mentioned soil samples. Jonathan Lepoff will send Terry Hathaway the court requirement for mold and she will e-mail it to the group.

2005 Conference Committee Update – Ivan Most. As MORA will not know if funding is available for the conference until the end of June, Ivan Most estimated the cost and MORA discussed how the conference could still happen on a limited budget. Some ideas included raising the registration fee, more sponsorships, cutting down on honorariums and travel and lodging expenses, and perhaps shortening the conference to one day. Also, perhaps BLS could pick up the cost of the brochures and perhaps the administrative services provided by UNE could be adjusted. John Rioux will check with BLS if the grant is not received.

Ruth Lawson-Stopps made a motion to proceed with the conference with the understanding that if the funding doesn’t come through from NIOSH, that we look at structuring the conference differently. Carol Eckert seconded the motion. Vote, unanimous.

Peter Doran stated that Earl Dotter is now under contract with MEMIC for their annual report. As Mr. Dotter is a visiting scholar at Harvard, Ann Backus supports the exhibition of Mr. Dotter’s work at the conference. After discussion, Peter Doran suggested that perhaps Mr. Dotter could be exhibiting in the art gallery. Ivan Most will speak to Kim Lim regarding the exhibition as David Parker will be attending the conference and also does photography.

Prevention Data Advisory Group Update – John Rioux. John summarized the last Prevention Data Advisory Group meeting, who had Martha Mayo (Workers’ Compensation Council) and Peter Gore (Maine Chamber of Commerce) as their guests. This came about as there was opposition to the legislation, which created this group and new reporting mechanisms for MO’s (Medical Only’s). The Workers’ Compensation Council (WCC) would like a definition of “what is a cost case” (when does it actually start to cost). The WCC is willing to answer any questions that the Prevention Data Advisory Group or MORA has for them.

Discussion followed and MORA has decided to keep contact with the WCC.

After further discussion, John Rioux will ask the Prevention Data Advisory Group how it may pay to use the workers’ compensation data based on EDI and what form does it have to be in. Also, does MORA have to go into advocacy. This will be discussed at our August meeting.

Harvard RFP’s Update – Ivan Most/Lynne Lamstein. Ivan Most announced that two (2) RFP’s had been submitted to Harvard. One was concerning workers’ compensation costs and the other was concerning aging workers. Ivan handed out a copy of each proposal for members to look at.

Lynne Lamstein thanked folks for their letters of support for the RFP on aging workers. The University of Maine Center on Aging actually submitted the proposal. If accepted, this will allow development of a survey of employers and employees in certain industries regarding older workers and their safety and health.

Lynne also announced that she will be taking a leave of absence, but will continue to work with the aging priority group. Ivan Most recognized Lynne Lamstein for her contributions to MORA.

Ivan Most suggested that MORA start an invitation calendar for speakers. He will invite Ann Backus, Harvard School of Public Health, and Dr. Meredith Tipton, NIOSH, to a fall MORA meeting.

Ivan Most summarized the RFP for workers’ compensation costs. If accepted, this would allow the continuation of the project with Jeff Levesque regarding folks who have received lump sum payments; it would include designing a survey and evening focus group meetings to be held in Bangor and Portland for the purpose of understanding the issues and structuring a survey.

Open Forum – Exchange on Conferences, Research, Doctoral Thesis, Etc.  John Rioux asked about a partnership with NORA. Ivan Most will follow-up with a letter to the Director of NORA. He explained that the CDC and NIOSH are being reorganized into one group.

Included in the handouts was a NIOSH publication, “Guide to Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Work Injuries”.

Members are reminded to send Ivan names of folks working on research projects who could be invited to future MORA meetings.

Kurtis Petersons, summer intern at BLS, is working on a project regarding misclassification of independent contractors and will make a presentation at the August meeting.

MORA Contact

Title of Event

Sponsoring

Organization

Location &

Date

Ivan Most

Meeting

NORA

July 15 & 16

Ivan Most

Intervention Effectiveness Conference

 

Fall

Next Meeting – August 11, 2004 – Agenda. The next meeting of the MORA Steering Committee will be held Wednesday, August 11, 2004 from 9:00 AM to Noon in the Third Floor Conference Room, Bureau of Labor Standards.  There will be no meeting in July. The following items will be on the agenda for the August meeting:

            I.          Approval of June 9, 2004 Minutes                          Ivan Most

            II.          Finish Operative Document Ivan Most & Saskia Janes

III.                   2005 Conference Update Ivan Most & Kim Lim

IV.               Plan an Invitation Calendar                          Ivan Most

(September, October, & November)                     

            V.        Report on Harvard RFP’s Ivan Most

            VI.        Prevention Data Advisory Group Update               John Rioux

VII.      Misclassification of Independent Contractors        Kurtis Petersons

Summer Intern, BLS

VIII.            NORA/NIOSH Report Ivan Most       

IX.               Open Forum Ivan Most

X.                  Next Meeting – September 8, 2004 – Agenda     Ivan Most

   

Adjournment. Chair Ivan Most adjourned the meeting at 11:55 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry M. Hathaway