World
California Auditing Insurance Company That Took Away Home Health Aide
A top labor official in California challenges our characterization of changes to the state's workers' comp system. His department will audit a case spotlighted by us
 
Updated (Mar. 16, 2015): This story was updated to include statements from the California labor department’s Division of Workers’ Compensation and the California Workers’ Compensation Institute. 
 
California’s labor department says it will conduct an audit of how Travelers Insurance handled the case of paralyzed worker Joel Ramirez, who was left to fend for himself for months after the company withdrew his 24-hour home health care.
 
Ramirez was featured in a ProPublica/NPR investigation of state changes in workers’ compensation laws nationwide. Since 2003, more than 30 states have cut benefits, created hurdles to getting medical care, or made it more difficult for injured workers to qualify.
The agency said the audit was prompted by our investigation.
 
The 48-year-old former warehouse manager was hurt in 2009, when a 900-pound crate that had been unsafely stacked at his employer’s Southern California warehouse fell on him. Travelers initially provided him with a home health aide to help him transfer from his wheelchair and with his personal care, as the accident left him incontinent. But the insurer terminated the care after the passage of a new law in 2012 that allowed insurers to subject even old cases to a new, more stringent medical review process.
 
David Lanier, secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, challenged ProPublica and NPR’s description of the new law and said it did not allow insurers to reopen settled cases and renege on previously approved treatment plans. (See full statement.)
 
Travelers, he said, failed to follow the mandated process and unilaterally terminated Ramirez’s home health care.
 
 
Courtesy: ProPublica.org
 

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Nifty, Bank Nifty may rally – Monday closing report

If Nifty holds Monday’s lows and closes above 8,670, it will be the first sign that the downtrend is over   

 

We had mentioned in last week’s closing report that the move on NSE’s CNX Nifty may remain weak and the short-term support for the index maybe around 8,550. Monday’s session saw Nifty moving in a volatile manner with the occasional move in the green for few minutes. It broke Friday’s low and closed in the red.
 
S&P BSE Sensex opened at 28,546 while Nifty opened at 8,657. Sensex moved in the range of 28,384 and 28,582 while Nifty moved between 8,612 and 8,664. Sensex closed at 28,438 (down 66 points or 0.23%) while Nifty closed at 8,633 (down 15 points or 0.17%). Bank Nifty moved on without any specific direction today. After a flat opening at 18,787, the index moved between 18,688 and 18,913 and closed at 18,837 (up 58 points or 0.31%). NSE recorded a volume of 73.86 crore shares. India VIX rose 1.42% to close at 15.1775.
 
The latest data showed that India’s annual rate of inflation based on monthly wholesale price index (WPI) remained in negative zone last month. Annual rate of inflation based on monthly WPI stood at minus 2.06% (provisional) in February 2015 as compared to minus 0.39% (provisional) in January 2015. The WPI for December 2014 was revised to
negative 0.5% as compared to 0.11% reported earlier.
 
Data released by the government after trading hours on Friday showed that India's merchandise export dipped 15% to $21.55 billion in February 2015 compared with the year ago period. Imports dipped 15.7% to $28.39 billion in February 2015 compared with the year ago period. The trade deficit narrowed to the 17-month low of $6.85 billion in February 2015.
 
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) reportedly said that India's economy is a bright spot in a cloudy global economy and that recent policy reforms and improved business confidence are set to boost the country's growth. Lagarde also said, "India has prepared better than most emerging-market economies for any such external shocks."
 
Coming back to Indian stock markets, PMC Fincorp (9.98%) was the top gainer in ‘A’ group on the BSE while Monsanto (5.89%) was the top loser in the group.
 
Infosys (2.28%) was the top gainer in the Sensex 30 pack. It was the in news for merging its core banking product Finacle with its products and platforms subsidiary Edgeverve Systems that was established last year.
 
Sesa Sterlite (5.16%) was the top loser in the Sensex 30 stock.
 
On Friday US indices closed in the red. A two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to review US monetary policy is scheduled on 17-18 March 2015.
 
The International Energy Agency on Friday said in a monthly report that investors and oil producers should brace for further declines in oil prices, which haven't fallen far enough yet to cut supply. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index dropped in March 2015 to its lowest level since November 2014.
 
Asian indices showed mixed performance. Shanghai Composite (2.26%) was the top gainer while SET Composite index of Thailand (1.69%) was the top loser. European indices were trading strongly high. US premarket futures were also bullish.
 

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'No malafide intent in short-term passport to Prashant Bhushan'

Prashant Bhushan has challenged the government's refusal to reissue him a passport with usual 10 years validity

 

The central government on Monday told the Delhi High Court that it has "no malafide intention" in issuing advocate Prashant Bhushan a passport with a year's validity instead of the usual 10 years and the decision was taken as criminal cases are pending against him.
 
The government told Justice Rajiv Shakdher that the action to issue a short validity passport of one year to Bhushan was completely in conformity with the prevailing provisions of a 25 August 1993 notification.
 
Bhushan has challenged the government's refusal to reissue him a passport with full validity.
 
Filing an affidavit, an undersecretary in the ministry of external affairs, said: "Passport Authority, despite the fact that criminal cases were pending against the petitioner (Bhushan), had never denied the passport facility to him and also at any point of time had no intention to impede, hamper or confine the movement of the petitioner."
 
Bhushan has contended that merely because a few criminal cases pertaining to being part of an unlawful assembly are pending against him, the government denied him a passport with full validity.
 
The advocate, also a founding member of India Against Corruption (IAC), had staged a protest in August 2012 against the coal scam. Though the protest was non-violent, police had registered a few cases against IAC members including Bhushan for participating in an assembly which was declared unlawful. The cases are pending in Patiala House court here, the plea said.
 
Bhushan has also argued that the one-year restriction on reissuing the passport is "arbitrary, unreasonable and also discriminatory" and thus in violation of the constitution's article 14 (equality before law).
 
As per the plea, Bhushan had applied for renewal/ reissue of the passport to the regional passport office in 2014. The government had informed him that in order to get his passport renewed, he needs to first obtain a no objection certificate (NOC) from the court where criminal cases are pending against him.
 
Though the metropolitan magistrate at Patiala House Courts granted him an NOC, he did not specify the duration of validity of the passport, which led to Bhushan being issued the passport on 12 September 2014 - valid only till 11 September 2015.
 
The government said Bhushan's request for the re-issue of the passport with full validity cannot be acceded to unless the concerned court issues a fresh order in this regard.
 
The government argued that as per the 1993 notification, a person with a criminal case pending and who applies for the issue or reissue of a passport, has to first obtain a NOC from the court where the case is pending and if the court does not lay down any time period for renewal, then a passport of only one year validity would be issued.
 
The court posted the matter for 15th April.
 

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