Cabin fever has taken on new meaning this winter, as the cold and short days are exacerbated by pandemic-driven social distancing and self-quarantine.
It usually starts in one of two ways: You’re sitting at your desk and HR calls and asks why you filed for unemployment insurance, or you open your mail to find an unexpected letter from the state with information about an unemployment insurance claim in your name. Either way, you’re likely a victim of unemployment insurance fraud.
MIIA Annual Members Business Meeting Friday, January 22, 2021 2:00–3:00 pm
It’s that time of year when we turn back the clocks and seemingly turn off the lights. And while Dec. 21 – the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year – is not too far off, it will be mid-March before we get back to an even split of daylight and darkness. For some, the lack of daylight leads to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
The past six months have been particularly challenging for school districts – with urgent demands to quickly design new learning options and ensure that facilities meet new safety standards – so some may not have had the time and resources to tackle full implementation of new regulations under Title IX.
We hear a lot about the “new normal,” but it will take some time and effort to figure out what that means for workplaces. As municipalities reopen facilities and welcome back employees, here are some strategies to help manage staff well-being and human resources risks while everyone adjusts.
As the weather warms and we venture outside to seek relief from being housebound, it’s important to be on the lookout for ticks, particularly this year because the mild winter allowed ticks to thrive instead of being killed off.
Last year, municipalities across the country experienced an increase in ransomware, a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.
This past winter was relatively mild, which typically means less property damage and cleanup. It is important, however, not to forego seasonal property maintenance tasks, including assessing winter damage and preparing for the spring and summer months ahead.
Cell therapies represent a significant scientific and medical advancement for patients suffering from serious disorders, and they are transforming how many diseases are treated and, potentially, cured.
In recognition of their dedication and commitment to risk management and employee wellness, eight MIIA member communities received special recognition during the annual MIIA luncheon on January 25.
It’s important for municipalities to be sure that they are adequately protected from the very beginning of a building project right through to its completion, and that there are no gaps in insurance coverage. As building costs rise – now ranging anywhere from several million dollars to $100 million or more – so does the importance of protecting a municipality’s investment.
Central to the MMA Annual Meeting is the wide range of workshops that provide important insights and strategies for town managers and administrators, department heads, job supervisors and other municipal staff.
Each fall brings seasonal challenges related to timely and effective facilities management practices. When properly deployed, facility management best practices can mitigate and prevent high-value losses, allow for continued and uninterrupted operations, and avoid the loss of valuable staff time and resources to respond to a loss.
Equal pay for equal work is a deeply rooted American value, and federal and state laws have reflected this concept for many years.
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health issues that affect our ability to be productive at work, and, according to recent surveys, they appear to be on the rise in younger generations. This trend is likely to amplify the challenges managers face in addressing mental health issues in the workplace.
For the first time in decades, measles outbreaks are making headlines across the country, worrying public health officials in cities and towns large and small.
Chapter 148 of the Acts of 2018 shifted to the employer the burden of proving working conditions were not a significant contributing factor to the development of certain types of cancer in firefighters. The cancers in question commonly include leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and brain, bladder and gastrointestinal cancers.
The sharing economy presents an expanding and unique set of risks and issues for municipal leaders to consider. Most important, the shared services, materials and facilities may not be adequately covered by their current municipal property and casualty insurance agreements.
The deadline is May 24 for submitting documentation for the fiscal 2019 MIIA Rewards program.
When it comes to property risk, read more about the three major factors that contribute to loss.
Of all the employment discrimination claims filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination last year, disability claims ranked at the top, with 1,082 claims filed.
During its Annual Meeting in Boston on Jan. 19, MIIA presented 10 awards for dedication and commitment to employee wellness and risk management. The MIIA meeting was held in conjunction with the MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show.
The Annual Meeting workshop sessions will be beneficial for town managers and administrators, department heads, and job supervisors, among others.
Traditional wellness programs – focused mainly on physical health and fitness – are very popular and here to stay. But a shift is underway toward new approaches and initiatives that are intended to have a direct impact on health outcomes and costs.
MIIA awarded $3.4 million to its members in fiscal 2018 through the MIIA Rewards program, which has earned MIIA members more than $32 million in premium credits since its inception in 2003.
The opioid epidemic is in the news, part of our discussions with neighbors, friends and families, and affecting our kids. Learn what municipal leaders do about it.
Massachusetts is winding down a statewide initiative to test public school drinking water for lead and copper. Approximately 40 percent of tested school buildings exceeded the “action level” of 15 parts per billion for lead only, while 3 percent exceeded the action level for copper only.
The past year has brought modest improvements, but opioid misuse and related deaths remain a national crisis, with the Massachusetts opioid-related death rate more than twice the national rate. (Note: 2 Opioid Webinars for Municipal Employers are available at end of this article.)
Hackers and perpetrators of cybercrimes are taking aim at local government networks, which can be relatively easy for them to breach.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, only 12 % of Americans are “well-informed, savvy users of health care.” Learn how to create a health-literate workforce.
Education, child care, religious worship and farming are among the land uses exempted from local zoning regulations under what’s known as the Dover Amendment. How far those exemptions extend, however, is a matter of debate.
Diabetes costs the U.S. economy more than $245 billion per year, making it the country’s most expensive disease, according to the personal finance website WalletHub.com. It’s the third most-deadly disease in the U.S., claiming more than 80,000 lives per year, and is becoming a daily concern for millions more.
The Society for Human Resource Management believes that conducting workplace investigations is one of the most challenging duties that HR professionals must take on. This is especially true for Massachusetts cities and towns, some of which are unable to staff a dedicated HR person, let alone a full HR team.
Musculoskeletal disorders often require costly MRI scans and x-rays that can be misleading, resulting in treatments and surgeries that may provide only temporary or no relief for the patient. Municipal managers see this reality in their spiking health care and workers' compensation costs, which often lead to greater lost time and lost productivity.
MIIA workshops will cover Strategies for Managing Rising Health Care Costs, A Practical Approach to Mitigating Municipal Cybersecurity Risks, Tips to Create a Thriving Workplace and Ways to Eliminate Discrimination in the Workplace
No matter what line of work an employee is engaged in, if he or she is fatigued on the job their work will suffer. Their safety could also be put at risk along with the safety of the public around them, especially if the individual is working long hours.
The cost of healthcare in America continues to increase each year, and the price of pharmaceuticals along with it. So, what kinds of strategies are in place to improve costs for insured individuals and families and to reduce costs for the employer?
Start your pre-season planning now to avoid winter-related damage.
Wellness programs have become an important component of employee education and healthcare benefits among for-profit and nonprofit organizations nationwide. The reason is clear: improving the wellbeing of an organization and its employees is a win-win proposition.
Violence against teachers results in, lost wages. lost days of work (927,000 days/per year nationwide), training and replacement of teachers leaving the school or profession prematurely, medical and psychological care, student disciplinary proceedings, increased workers’ compensation claims and premiums and incarceration of perpetrators. Learn how to train your way to safety.
Learn how "return-to-work" programs can help manage and reduce workers' comp costs.
Health care spending in Massachusetts continues to rise, faster than the state’s rate of inflation.
Battling the elements, water leaks (and mold!), preventing heat loss, finding fire, and improving energy efficiency. These are just some of the reasons why thermal imaging is an important tool for municipalities. At MIIA, the cost for damage from a burst pipe averages over $80,000 with the capacity to exceed $500,000 – reason enough to look into thermal imaging as a preventative measure.
MIIA workshops to cover workplace safety, stress management
MIIA marks 35th anniversary at Annual Meeting
Which substitute teachers are eligible for health insurance, and when are they eligible? It seems like it should be a straightforward query, but the answer, and statutory background, is complex.
Summertime often brings a need to hire seasonal workers for municipal jobs, such as at summer camps, swimming pools, and with schools and public works departments. These hires, often high school and college students, create safety and liability concerns for municipalities – risks that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Depression affects an estimated one in 10 adults in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and ranks third among workplace problems for employee assistance professionals – behind only family crisis and stress.
Driverless cars, with potential implications ranging from traffic and roadway adjustments to planning and budgeting, are another innovation that’s poised to raise new issues that will need to be addressed at the local level.
Driverless Cars Predicted to Reduce Vehicle Ownership while Reducing Industry Auto Premium with Assisted Driving Innovations.
During its annual meeting on Jan. 23 in Boston, MIIA honored 12 member municipalities for exemplary efforts to promote employee wellness, control costs and losses, and reduce insurance claims.
One provision of the Affordable Care Act that is beginning to garner attention and debate is the so-called Cadillac tax, a 40 percent excise tax that will be imposed upon group health plans that offer benefits greater in aggregate cost than certain statutory thresholds.
With the inevitable cold temperatures and snow around the corner, this is an ideal time to make the most of the available sunlight and fresh air and to plan for when it becomes a bit more difficult to venture out.
Last winter broke records for snow accumulation and extreme cold. Unfortunately, for those working in municipal governments around the Commonwealth, it broke records for overtime work, building and property damage, and stress levels as well.
With more outside-the-box activities – innovative town events, alternative energy systems, creative learning methods in schools, and other programs – careful consideration must be given to potential liability issues as well as long-term costs.
If you’ve noticed your pharmacy bills creeping up, you’re not the only one. A recent report from prescription management company Express Scripts shows that prescription drug spending in the United States rose by 13 percent in 2014 – the largest annual increase in more than 10 years. And these increases don’t just affect patients, they affect payers and providers as well.
Opinions still differ regarding the Affordable Care Act and how it will affect health care costs and delivery in the long term, but most agree that the landscape is evolving rapidly.
Job-related injuries are costly to employers both in terms of workers’ compensation and lost productivity. In response, some communities are implementing “return-to-work” programs to help them manage and reduce these costs.
Have you ever driven right past your own exit on the highway? Or opened the refrigerator door and realized that you forgot what you went there for? These are common examples of not living in the moment.
Board elections and Wellness and Loss Control awards were the highlights of the MIIA Annual Meeting and luncheon, held on Jan. 25 in conjunction with the MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show in Boston.
Here’s a startling statistic: 19,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day in the United States, a trend that will continue through 2030, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s a lot of potential retirees being added every day.
The economic impact of unnecessary emergency department use is significant. The cost of an ER visit is, on average, $580 more than the cost of a regular doctor’s office visit.