Does the Mental Nervous Disorder Limitation in an ERISA LTD Plan Violate ADA Laws?

In a recent long term disability insurance claim against Aetna insurance company, Aetna denied long term disability benefits after 24 months in accordance with the mental nervous limitation clause contained in the claimant’s disability policy. Rather than appeal Aetna’s long term disability denial, the claimant filed a claim of discrimination with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”). The claimant alleged that limiting his benefits for a mental/nervous disability violated both Massachusetts law and the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 (ADA). After several years of reviewing the charge, the MCAD decided to set the charge for a public hearing.

Aetna and claimant’s previous employer filed a lawsuit against MCAD arguing that as a matter of law ERISA preempts this ADA claim and they have no right to continue with a public hearing on the matter. The MCAD disagreed and after extensive litigation on the issue, the First Circuit Court of Appeals issued a legal opinion on July 20, 2015 which held that the public hearing should move forward and that further legal analysis must be conducted in order to determine if this claimants ADA claim is preempted by ERISA laws…

Some Illinois health systems say no to medical marijuana

Meanwhile, veterans receiving treatment at Veterans Affairs hospitals have a somewhat easier time getting a medical marijuana card. VA doctors, as federal employees, aren’t permitted to recommend controlled substances, so the state’s rules spell out that those under VA care don’t need a doctor to sign off.

Thinking of you, John Roback

The man who police say set himself on fire in front of City Hall this week was passionate about issues of the poor and an advocate for his Hilltop neighborhood, those who knew him say.

“He didn’t have a lot and he just wanted fairness for the poor,” Sharry Carey, a member of the Greater Hilltop Area Commission and secretary of the Highland West Neighborhood Association, said of John Roback.

Roback joined the Greater Hilltop Area Commission in 2014 after he ran as a write-in candidate and was elected, then appointed by Mayor Michael B. Coleman, said Lane Newcome, who chairs the commission.

Carey said Roback was passionate about the Hilltop. She said he’d often cut the grass outside abandoned houses to make sidewalks more accessible. However, Roback’s ideas weren’t always accepted with open arms, especially when he pushed for the residents to have more control of what happened in their neighborhood…

Geoff Phillips, chairman for the Hilltop Commission’s parks and recreation committee, said Roback was upset about recent commission elections in June, saying they were fraudulent because candidates didn’t get to speak in front of commission members.

Phillips thinks Roback set himself on fire to make a political statement.

“If a guy does this and he does it… outside of City Hall, it’s political,” he said.

Nobody in Roback’s neighborhood knew much about his personal life, though they said he had a roommate. The door to his home went unanswered on Wednesday. County records show Roback bought the 1,175-square-foot home in 1998.

Cindy Dobbins lived next door to the home. When she returned from a short vacation on Wednesday, she found a bag of cat food and a police scanner on her porch. It had been left for her by Roback, who often tended the neighborhood cats with her and monitored problems in the area.

“He had a room with computers connected to cameras outside his house,” Dobbins said. “He’d listen to the police scanner to know what was going on in the neighborhood.”

It wasn’t until Wednesday morning that Dobbins learned Roback had died, and in such a horrific way. “I don’t understand why he did that,” Dobbins, 58, said with tears in her eyes.

Jenise Jeffrey, whose house is behind Roback’s house, said she often saw him walking to a community garden at the intersection of Oakley and Broad to maintain the plants.

“He seemed to be a very peaceful guy,” Jeffrey, 57, said.

Jeffrey said Roback always kept an eye on the neighborhood and notified neighbors if there were problems in the area or crime…

Under comments:

Richard Anthony
John Roback was a regular commenter here and he will be missed….frown emoticon
Aug 19, 2015 6:22pm

Behind the walls of a mental hospital

(CNN) — Photographer Aun Raza had been warned that chronic mental patients could be fearsome, threatening and even violent. But after he was allowed unfettered access inside the Punjab Institute of Mental Health in Lahore, Pakistan, Raza found the opposite: a group of sensitive, open and trusting people who eventually befriended him.

From 2011 to 2014, Raza used a camera to document the shuttered lives of dozens of adults who’ve been identified as mentally ill or disabled. He came away with remarkably candid and intimate images from a cloistered world we rarely see…

Many patients displayed a “superior emotional sensitivity,” which Raza said is sometimes the real reason for their hospitalization. “The outer world discards anyone who’s emotionally too sensitive or too fragile,” he said…

Aun Raza is a photographer who currently lives in Canada. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

What should you do with your old electronics?

There are three things people should, at least, attempt to do with their old electronics: Donate them, get them refurbished or recycle them.

The goal of doing any of these things is to minimize the amount of electronics that are thrown away. Because those devices contain harmful chemicals, like lead, mercury, cadmium and even arsenic. And disposing of them inappropriately means the chemicals can get into the earth’s groundwater supply and even the air — eventually we’re going to drink that and breath that…

Electronics stores like Best Buy and Staples have programs that will recycle your old electronics at no cost. Sites like Ebay and Amazon will pay you for your slightly outdated phones. And even churches and schools will occasionally have e-waste drives where they collect what you no longer want…

When my toaster oven died, I left it on a shelf for over a year because I didn’t know how to recycle it. Finally, I just threw it away. When I bought my laptop, I recycled my old computer through Best Buy. I wonder if Best Buy also accepts digital cameras for recycling?

Generic Drugs Banned in Europe But Not in the US

Some of the drugs that are affected by the European ban include the antihistamine fexofenadine (Allegra), the seizure medicine levetiracetam (Keppra), the blood pressure pill nebivolol (Bystolic) and the antidepressant venlafaxine (Effexor). There are hundreds more…

Many people don’t realize that their generic drugs may be approved based on clinical tests conducted in India, China and other countries where oversight could be less rigorous than in the U.S. If the data that is submitted to the FDA for analysis is flawed, then we may not be able to trust that the generic drugs are truly bioequivalent to their brand-name counterparts.

Over the last several years there have been numerous scandals involving lax manufacturing practices at generic pharmaceutical firms in India. Now we have learned that some of the companies that do human testing to get generic drugs approved in the first place may also be cooking the books…

Nothing’s Free

Have you seen the message that sometimes pops up in your WordPress posts: “About these ads”? You don’t see any ads, just the message, and when you click on it, the message just goes away.

Well, try this:  log out of your blog and go incognito. (That’s what it’s called in Chrome.)

“Pages you view in incognito tabs won’t stick around in your browser’s history, cookie store, or search history after you’ve closed all of your incognito tabs.”

Now visit your blog. Do you see the ads? A moment ago, it was this one: