Podcast category: Medical Law

Ringler Radio

Traumatic Brain Injuries: From Battlefield to Football Field


After years in Afghanistan and Iraq, our troops are returning home with traumatic brain injuries stemming from their time in combat. Traumatic brain injuries are also prevalent in sports-most recently on our football fields. On this edition of Ringler Radio, host Larry Cohen and co‑host Anne Marie VonBank welcome Attorney Gordon Johnson, one of the nation’s leading brain injury advocates, to talk about traumatic brain injuries from the battlefield to the football field, the impact on the individual and their family, methods to prevent tbi’s and ultimately the quest for recovery.

Visit Ringler Associates to contact a consultant in your area about structured settlements.

Workers Comp Matters

2015 Workers Compensation Research Institute Conference: Cost and Impacts of Physician Dispensing Drugs

At the 2015 Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) Annual Issues & Research Conference, panels of experts discussed the cost and impacts of physician dispensing drugs. Physician dispensed drugs are prescribed drugs available to be purchased directly from the physician (or in the physician’s office). Alternatively, prescriptions are filled at a pharmacy, often times with a cheaper (generic brand) version of the drug. The WCRI conference panel, “Physician Dispensing: Costs and Consequences,” dealt with regulation reforms, how they affected the cost of drugs, and behavioral effects.

Workers Comp Matters host Alan Pierce attended the conference and sat down with two panelists to further discuss their panel topics. Dongchun Wang of WCRI discusses her research, the frequency and cost of physician dispensing and how it impacts workers compensation claim costs. The study analyzed reforms in the regulation of physician’s ability to dispense drugs across several states. Dr. Vennela Thumla of WCRI talks about her study on the relationship between physician dispensing and unnecessary opioid use (only in the state of Florida). She explains why this research is important and gives examples of opioid alternatives that emerged after a particular reform.

Ms Dongchun Wang is an economist at WCRI. Her research focuses on medical practice patterns and medical care delivered to injured workers. She is the lead author of several studies that evaluate physician dispensing reforms in a number of states in recent years and of several other WCRI studies on utilization of workers’ compensation pharmaceuticals and prescribing patterns of opioids. During her tenure with WCRI, she has participated in earlier editions of the CompScope™ benchmarks and several public policy studies. She holds a master’s degree in applied economics and did her graduate work in applied econometrics, labor economics, and industrial organization at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Vennela Thumla is a policy analyst at WCRI. She conducts research examining costs, prices, and utilization of pharmaceuticals in state workers’ compensation systems, focusing on prescribing patterns of opioids and physician dispensing. She is also involved in a research project examining the self-reported outcomes of injured workers, including recovery of health and functioning, speed and sustainability of return to work, and access to care. Dr. Thumula received her Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi, School of Pharmacy.

Special thanks to our sponsors, Casepacer and PInow.

Lawyer 2 Lawyer

Mandatory Vaccines vs. Individual Rights

Credited with saving millions of lives per year, few health programs can boast the success of vaccinations. Even for those who, for health reasons, can’t be inoculated, vaccines provide a type of community immunity by preventing dangerous outbreaks in densely populated areas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call vaccinations the greatest public health achievement in 100 years. But does that mean we should make vaccines mandatory? In this episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, host J. Craig Williams interviews Drew Trimble, John Tocci, and Jeremy Byellin. Together they discuss federal authority and the police power of the states when it comes mandatory vaccinations and quarantine. Tune in to hear what exemptions exist for citizens opposed or unable to comply.

Drew Trimble is a featured author for The National Law Review where he wrote an article titled “The Law of Mandatory Flu Shot Requirements.” In addition, he is an associate at McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, where he focuses on general litigation, employment law and criminal defense. Prior to that, he worked for the United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky as a law clerk to Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove. Among the numerous issues he handled there were criminal law, employment law, contract disputes, medical malpractice, and civil rights.

John Tocci is a regular contributor to the Massachusetts Bar Journal where he wrote an article titled “Mandating flu immunization of health care workers: Not the best medicine.” In his practice life he handles a wide spectrum of employment law matters and manages his firm’s employment counseling and litigation practice. Finally, John is the current chair of the Massachusetts Bar Association Labor & Employment Section Council.

Jeremy Byellin is a writer for the Thomson Reuters Legal Solutions Blog, where he wrote an article titled “The Legal Status of Mandatory Vaccinations.” He is a practicing attorney who focuses on family law and estate planning. He resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife, who is also an attorney, and two children.

Workers Comp Matters

Chronic Pain, Opioid Addiction, and Injured Workers

“There are more people in chronic pain in America today than diabetics, those with heart disease, those suffering from strokes, and those with cancer combined.” – Dr. Joel Morton

The prevalence of chronic pain across the United States is certainly associated with the overuse of opiates, opioids, and narcotics, three words that are used interchangeably. While there are requirements surrounding the improper prescribing of highly-addictive pain relievers, they have been widely unenforced. The question remains, how do we address an individual’s problem of chronic pain without causing widespread opiate addiction issues.

In this episode of Workers Comp Matters, Alan Pierce interviews Dr. Joel Morton about the association between chronic pain and opioid addiction, alternative treatments to long-term opioid prescription, and how his company, Summit Pharmacy, works to help injured workers and has guidelines to recognize potential overuse. Dr. Morton describes the need for a mental evaluation of a patient for depression or a history of addiction before prescribing highly addictive products. He discusses alternatives such as anti-seizure medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants as well as cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, exercise therapy, and acupuncture. In the end, Dr. Morton says, it is the chronic pain issue that the medical, legal, and criminal community need to address.

Summit Pharmacy is a mail-order pharmacy that works alongside injured workers and attorneys to help them manage the claim and filling patients’ prescriptions regardless of claim status. Listen to this interview to learn more about the company.

Dr. Joel Morton is the medical director of Summit Pharmacy, Inc. He graduated from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1988 and he is a board-certified family physician. He has had extensive experience as a physician in charge of workers compensation clinics in North Carolina and throughout the United States. Dr. Morton also has training in sports medicine. He is a recently retired lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force reserve and he served active duty in Iraq in 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Case Pacer.

Ringler Radio

Brain Injury Association of America and Traumatic Brain Injuries


Aside from the physical, traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, can have a lasting effect mentally and financially on an individual and their families. On this Ringler Radio podcast, host Larry Cohen joins colleague Char Johnson and Attorney Daniel S. Chamberlain, who is helping victims of TBIs cope with their injury. They will talk about these TBIs, the need to consider a structure as part and parcel of settlement agreements, special needs trusts, as well as the work of the Brain Injury Association of America.

Visit Ringler Associates to contact a consultant in your area about structured settlements.

Workers Comp Matters

FECA and Workers Compensation for Federal Employees

Most workers compensation lawyers deal with state-based claims and private companies, but there is a separate section of workers comp law for federal and postal employees. The Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (DFEC) is responsible for administering the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) to these injured federal employees. What are the differences in this type of workers comp law and why are there so few practitioners who specialize in it?

In this episode of Workers Comp Matters, Alan Pierce interviews attorney Steven Brown at the Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group’s Conference. Brown talks about the differences between FECA benefits and state laws. Pierce and Brown discuss total disability versus partial disability, indemnity benefits and medical benefits, rates based on income, and the problems with the federal system of workers compensation benefits. In addition, Brown tells listeners about claims examiners, the first line of payment, and how the DFEC addresses denial and appeals. For any lawyer or federal employee interested in this area of workers compensation, Brown addresses how these laws work and the administrative process.

Steven E. Brown, PLC is an attorney who represents injured workers out of Westlake Village, California. He is active in several nationwide attorney groups in the area of federal employee rights and benefits, including Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group as chair of FECA Section, National Employment Lawyers Association, and FECA Law & Advocacy Group. Brown received his BA from Columbia University and his JD from the University of Southern California.

Workers Comp Matters

Black Lung Disease: Coal Miners, Their Disability, and The Quantum of Proof

In 1969, Congress passed the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act to help miners who, as a result of their work, developed pneumoconiosis, an occupational sickness more commonly known as black lung disease. The Act provides medical and financial benefits for those who qualify as well as death benefits for their beneficiaries. On this episode of Workers Comp Matters, host Alan Pierce interviews Joseph E. Allman, an expert trial attorney from Indiana. Together they discuss the causes of black lung disease, its latent or progressive manifestation, and legal presumptions based on years of exposure. In some cases, representation for plaintiffs can be free of charge. Tune in to learn more about determination of disability, administrative hearings, and the concept of responsible operator. Don’t forget to wait for the Case of The Day, where Alan reveals the dangers of smoking marijuana and working with bears.

Joseph E. Allman is an experienced trial lawyer who represents injured individuals in personal injury, products liability, construction accidents, federal workers’ compensation, social security disability and black lung cases. He is also experienced in labor and employment law, representing unions and employees in employment litigation in state and federal court. He is admitted to the State Bar of Indiana, Federal District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, United States Courts of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

Special thanks to our sponsor, PInow.

Ringler Radio

Ringler Associates: Celebrating 40 Years in the Industry


Since 1975, Ringler Associates has been a huge player in the structured settlement industry and this year, celebrating a 40th Anniversary! On this Ringler Radio podcast, host Larry Cohen joins colleague, Mike Casey and one of the original five Ringler hires, Cecil Matthews, as they discuss the structured settlement industry and how far they have come, share some personal stories about the people they have met along the way and pay tribute to a pioneer in the industry, David V. Ringler.

Visit Ringler Associates to contact a consultant in your area about structured settlements.

Ringler Radio

CMS and the Withdrawal of the Proposed Rule


Just last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) withdrew their proposed rule for the consideration of future medicals in liability bodily injury settlements. Ringler Radio host, Larry Cohen along with colleague, Tom Blackwell, Vice President and Program Director of Ringler Medicare Solutions, Inc. (RMS) and guest, Peter Foley, from the American Insurance Association, talk about this move by the CMS and what this means for the structured settlement industry and our clients.

Visit Ringler Associates to contact a consultant in your area about structured settlements.

Lawyer 2 Lawyer

Quarantine and Isolation: How Federal and State Powers Fight Ebola

Federal and State governing authorities have the power to quarantine an individual under the suspicion that person has Ebola and could possibly spread it to others. But what if the government is wrong? Is there redress for people held against their will? It might surprise you that your civil liberties can be subjugated for the common good. In this episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, hosts Bob Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams interview Gary Phelan from Mitchell & Sheahan, P.C. and Professor John Thomas from Quinnipiac University School of Law. Together they discuss balancing tests that allow both Federal and State governments to quarantine individuals as well the possible criminal and tort liabilities for people who knowingly, recklessly, or through negligence infect others. Tune in to hear more about the power given to the Executive Branch, Governmental Immunity from suit, and International Health Regulations from the World Health Organization.

Gary Phelan is a shareholder at Mitchell & Sheahan, P.C. where he represents employees and employers in a wide range of matters, including disability and age discrimination, family responsibilities discrimination, wrongful termination, and severance negotiations. Mr. Phelan was recently the attorney for a Connecticut family whose little girl was not allowed to attend school for fear that she had been exposed to Ebola during her trip to a family wedding in Nigeria. The case received nationwide attention.

Professor John Thomas of Quinnipiac University School of Law teaches health law and intellectual property. He has been published over 170 times on topics such as gun violence, health policy, politics, autism, juvenile justice, and music. In addition, he has spoken on health law topics across the U.S. and internationally. Thomas is a freelance writer and guitar player with a recent literary work titled “Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of the Extraordinary Women and Gibson’s “Banner” Guitars of WWII.”

Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.

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