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Compensation Advisory Council
Council on Worker’s Compensation
July 11, 2007
Members present: Mr. Beiriger, Mr. Brand, Mr. Buchen, Mr. Furley,
Ms. Huntley-Cooper, Mr. Kent, Mr. Newby, Mr. Olson, Mr. Redman, Mr. Schimke, and
Excused: Ms. Bean, Mr. Shaver, Mr. Scott
Mr. Conway, Mr.
O’Malley, Ms. Knutson, and Mr. Krueger
- Call to Order/Introductions: Ms. Huntley-Cooper convened the
Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) meeting at approximately 10:00
a.m. in accordance with Wisconsin’s open meetings law. Ms. Huntley-Cooper
introduced Ms. JoAnna Richard, DWD Deputy Secretary and WCAC members, staff
and members of the audience introduced themselves.
- Minutes: The minutes of the June 25, 2007 meeting were approved
- Certification of Readiness and Caseload Update: Ms. Richard indicated
that Mr. Dale Cattanach, former head of the Legislative Audit Bureau, was
retained by the Department to review the hearing scheduling process in
response to concerns by the Secretary and the Legislature surrounding the
amount of time injured workers wait for a hearing. Ms. Richard distributed
Mr. Cattanach’s report on the Worker’s Compensation Backlog. Mr. Cattanach
interviewed WCD staff including administrative law judges, members of the WC
Process Improvement Team, members of the Advisory Council, members of the WC
Bar and other interested stakeholders. Mr. Cattanach recommended that the
Department continue to implement the improvements in the hearing processes
that were already in process. One of these improvements is the requirement
that the applicant’s attorney file a Certification of Readiness before a
case would be placed in ready status and in line for hearing to be
scheduled. The Certification of Readiness process will be implemented on
August 1, 2007. Other recommendations include reviewing the current
postponement policy and accommodation of outside attorney schedules. For
some outside attorneys, their availability is so reduced that it causes a
problem for the scheduling staff. The department will be evaluating its
policy to try and strike a balance between the attorneys’ need for some
flexibility and the department’s scheduling needs. Secretary Gassman
provides monthly reports to Governor Doyle and Senator Robson on the
progress in reducing the backlog. While the Department is aware the WCAC
requested that implementation of the Certification of Readiness be delayed,
the Department needs to move forward with this administrative matter.
Currently, cases are scheduled and the parties are not truly ready for
hearing; applications for hearing are filed to hold a place in line for a
hearing. Ms. Huntley-Cooper explained that the Department’s goal is to
provide some predictability with respect to scheduling hearings, which will
be accomplished through scheduling those cases that are certified as ready
for hearing. In response to a request by the WCAC, Ms. Richard indicated
that the Department would provide the background information on the hearings
process that lead to the recommendations for administrative changes. The
WCAC requested that Mr. Cattanach’s report be placed on the agenda for the
next meeting and that WCD provide statistical information on the
Certification of Readiness process six months after the implementation date.
Report – WC Council Membership: Ms. Huntley-Cooper reviewed the statutory
authority for the WCAC – Wis. Stat. §15.227(4). The statute only enumerates
the insurance representatives as non-voting members. A quorum consists of
the presence of a majority of the voting members. In typical councils, the
chair votes to break a tie, but the WCAC through custom and tradition has
acted on matters through unanimous agreement. The Labor and Management
members discussed the role and authority of the WCAC.
Ms. Knutson reported that the number of pending litigated cases and the
waiting time for scheduling hearings continues to decrease.
Correspondence: None discussed.
Unfinished Business: None discussed.
Labor/Management Proposals: The medical liaisons to the WCAC and the
Management representatives discussed a proposal that would establish a
medical fee schedule utilizing data combined from the existing certified
databases to establish a baseline maximum payment amount for medical
expenses by billing code and zip-code region. Thereafter, the maximum charge
(1.4 standard deviations from the mean) would be increased each year based
on the Medical Consumer Price Index. The medical liaisons emphasized that a
fair baseline be developed that considered the geographic location of the
individual medical provider. Management representatives expressed concern
that a fee schedule result in cost savings and not result in providers
raising prices to reach the 1.4 standard deviation price. Further discussion
was tabled for the next meeting.
Mr. O’Malley indicated that September 6, 2007 was the target date for
introduction of the agreed bill. The WCAC agreed that the Department should
forward the agreed-upon Department proposals and the Christian Science
proposal to the Legislative Reference Bureau drafter to start preparing the
- Adjournment: Discussion on all agenda items concluded and the
meeting was adjourned at approximately 2:30 p.m.
Future meeting dates are as follows:
Wednesday, August 1
Thursday, September 6, 2007