Health and Safety

City Needs to Analyze Workers’ Comp Data to Develop to Safety Injury and Illness Prevention Program

Joel Shufro, Executive Director New York Committee for Occupational Safety and HealthJuly 18, 2011
By Joel Shufro

According to a report issued May 1, 2011 by the New York City Department of Law, 15,079, city workers received workers’ compensation for job-related injuries and illnesses in 2010, an increase of 4.5% over 2010.  The cost of medical treatment, wage replacement and associated administrative costs was $12,611,059.  

In addition, according to the New York City Independent Budget Office, the City paid a total $166,161,528 last year to workers who were injured on the job in the past.  

The Psychological Cost of Workplace Injuries - A Firefighter After 9/11

Dr. Howard M. Rombom PhD, Behavioral Medicine AssociatesJuly 15, 2011
Dr. Howard M. Rombom, Ph.D.

John Smith is no longer the energetic dad he used to be. He also no longer works as a fireman. Before his disability, Smith used to have the energy to run alongside his two-year-old son and do everything it takes to be dad. Once he developed severe respiratory problems, Smith no longer had the stamina for this. This was the beginning of a serious and disabling depression.

Empire Participating Physician Practices Become Patient Centered Medical Homes

Tom Canty, Vice President & General Manager for Labor, Government & Special Accounts at Empire BlueCross BlueShieldJuly 8, 2011
Tom Canty, VP and General Manager Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Empire is pleased to announce that a growing number of our participating physicians have had their medical practices accredited by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (“NCQA”) as a “Patient Centered Medical Home.” In a patient centered medical home, the medical practice is organized around the patient and affords improved access to comprehensive primary care services where care is personalized and coordinated.

What is an Occupational Disease?

June 21, 2011
By Matthew A. Funk, Esq. Brecher Fishman Pasternack Walsh Tilker & Ziegler, P.C.

Worker’s Compensation Corner

Most of us know that Workers Compensation Law protects workers who become injured on the job. Under the law, workers can be compensated for accidental injuries, which often happen suddenly and traumatically at the work site. No big surprises there.

When Kids Are Overweight

Tom Canty, Vice President & General Manager for Labor, Government & Special Accounts at Empire BlueCross BlueShieldJune 15, 2011
Tom Canty,Vice President & General Manager Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Believe it or not, 40 percent of kindergartners through eighth-graders – or about half a million kids in New York City are too heavy. One in five kindergarten children is obese.

This has to stop.  With overweight kids, it’s not just that they’re more likely to be taunted and bullied by their classmates it means they’re at risk for diabetes, high blood and high cholesterol.

The Psychological Effects of Workplace Injuries

Dr. Howard M. Rombom PhD, Behavioral Medicine AssociatesJune 13, 2011
By Dr. Howard M. Rombom

John Smith, a New York City subway conductor, was piloting his train into the station one day when a commuter leaped from the platform onto the tracks.

After Smith witnessed the suicide, he followed all of the appropriate procedures as mandated by the New York City Transit Authority. He contacted the supervisor, spoke to a union representative and underwent testing for drug and alcohol use. Smith went home that evening feeling “okay.” However, the following morning he began to feel uncomfortable; everything started to seem a little surreal.  

Vince Lombardi is Not Available

Tom Canty, Vice President & General Manager for Labor, Government & Special Accounts at Empire BlueCross BlueShieldMay 25, 2011
Tom Canty, Vice President Sales, Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Most of us agree, there have been times when we’ve needed a coach. Our closets are a mess and our bank account, even more so. Marital bliss is far from effortless, and our own teenage angst was a walk in the park compared to what we’re currently living with.

And yet, while family health doesn’t top our list, according to a new Empire BlueCross BlueShield survey, sometimes this kind of guidance is exactly what we need. Disability can happen to any of us at any time. In fact, the actual odds that a new worker will experience a long term disability before retirement are one in three.

Myths About Worker’s Comp

May 19, 2011

Myth - I cannot afford an attorney, so how will I be able to represent myself at a hearing?

Truth - Lawyers only get paid if they win.

After Joe was injured on his construction job he asked his employer about workman’s compensation. He needed help to cover the medical bills for his swollen ankle. But his employer said Joe’s injury didn’t seem that serious.  So Joe sent him a doctor’s note that showed the severity of his injury. He didn’t hear back from his boss, even after Joe followed up with phone calls. He started to get the feeling he was being put off. Joe realized that to get the compensation he deserved, he might need to talk to a lawyer. But he hesitated. After all… aren’t lawyers pretty expensive? How was he going to afford the help he desperately needed?

Get a lawyer Joe!

These Regulations Save Lives and Jobs

April 29, 2011
By Joel Shufro

Today, April 28th is Worker Memorial Day, a day on which we remember the millions of brothers and sisters, here and throughout the world, who have died as a result of a job related injuries or illnesses and when we recommit ourselves to fight for the human right of every work to a safe and healthful job.

Substantial progress toward a safer workplace has been made in this country, particularly since the enactment of the OSHA law and mine safety laws Literally tens of thousands of workers are alive today because of regulations enacted and enforced by government agencies.

New Tools Help You Get the Most from Your Health Benefits

Tom Canty, Vice President & General Manager for Labor, Government & Special Accounts at Empire BlueCross BlueShieldApril 21, 2011
By Tom Canty, VP & GM Sales, Empire BlueCross BlueShield

What’s the difference between a co pay and co insurance? What does it mean if a doctor is ‘out of network’? How does a Health Savings Account work? Understanding your coverage and benefits should be a top priority. That’s why Empire BlueCross BlueShield has developed interactive eTutorials to help you get the most from your health plan.

The Basics of Health Insurance eTutorial can be viewed at, and the Web Overview eTutorial can be viewed at  When you log on, you can:


Health and Wellness Series - Brought to You by Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Tom Canty, Vice President & General Manager for Labor Government & Special Accounts at Empire BlueCross BlueShieldApril 6, 2011

I wanted to share something I think you’ll be pleased to hear. This year, Empire BlueCross BlueShield is a major sponsor of the 2011 World Police & Fire Games. If you haven’t heard of them, they are held every two years, and are open to active and retired law enforcement and fire service personnel from across the globe. The games are the second largest multi sport event in the world, surpassed only by the summer Olympics.

State Nurses Association Reacts to NYS Budget

April 6, 2011

The New York State Nurses Association applauds the state legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo for not including the suspension of the Nursing Care Quality Protection Act (Public Health Law 2805t) in the 2011-12 state budget. This important law protects public health by disclosing nursing quality care indicators and staffing ratios and its suspension would not have eased the state’s fiscal burden.

State Budget Includes Major Health Reforms

April 2, 2011
By Richard N. Gottfried, Assembly Health Committee Chair

The new state budget enacted this week includes major cuts to a broad range of vital programs in health, education, human services, and almost every area of public services. However, it is about as good as could be done, considering the financial, political, and legal realities.

Profit and Probability - Is Fukushima Another Ford Pinto

April 2, 2011
By Bob Hennelly

The collapse of the World Trade Center towers, the failure of New Orleans levies during hurricane Katrina, and the destruction of the half dozen Fukushima General Electric boiling water nuclear reactors are all monuments to "good enough" engineering.

Additional information