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Compensation Advisory Council
Council on Worker’s Compensation
September 6, 2007
Members present: Ms. Bean, Mr. Beiriger, , Mr. Furley, Ms. Huntley-Cooper, Mr. Kent, Mr. Newby,
Mr. Olson, Mr. Redman, Mr.
Shaver, Ms. Vetter, Mr. Schimke and Mr. Scott
Excused: Mr. Brand, Mr. Buchen
Mr. Conway, Mr.
O’Malley, Ms. Knutson, Mr. Aiello 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. WCAC members, staff
and members of the audience introduced themselves.
- Minutes: The minutes of the August 1, 2007 meeting were approved
- Reports: Ms. Huntley-Cooper reported the Certification of
Readiness (COR) process was implemented August 1, 2007. In August, 11
hearing applications were filed with the completed COR form attached. Those
cases have been given scheduling priority. The WCD is in the process of
identifying benchmarks for evaluating the COR process. Mr. O’Malley
indicated 3,960 hearing applications had been filed through August 2007. The
monthly trend is lower than in prior years; however, in the fall the number
of hearing applications filed usually increases.
Ms. Knutson reviewed the litigated case report. The number of cases pending
in ready for hearing status has dropped to 3080 with over 1270 cases
currently scheduled for hearing. The median lag time for cases pending ready
for hearing to the date the hearing notice is issued is around seven months.
Hearing notices are being sent out approximately 9 weeks in advance of the
hearing date. The notice time has decreased due to staff vacations.
Mr. Conway provided information regarding the State of Pennsylvania’s
Certified Workplace Safety Committee Program. Worker’s compensation premiums
were reduced 5% for employers who have a safety committee and complete
training requirements. The WCD will arrange for a presentation on MATC’s
training program at a future WCAC meeting.
- Correspondence: Mr. Conway reported on correspondence received
from the State Bar Association concerning the amount of attorney’s fees
recoverable in worker’s compensation cases.
The Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Wisconsin Medical Society
submitted correspondence signed by providers from around the state
expressing concern over a proposed medical fee schedule.
- Review of Dale Cattanach’s Report: There was nothing to report;
however, this item will be kept on the agenda for the next meeting.
- New Business: None discussed.
- Review of Department Proposals: Mr. Krueger explained new
Department proposals # 13 and 14 concerning assessment of penalties and
issuance of warrants and liens. Under Wis. Stats. Chap. 893, a lien remains
in effect 10 years unless another law supersedes the 10 year limitation. The
Department proposes language that would keep the lien in effect until it is
paid. This would also apply to personal liability against corporate officers
and members of limited liability corporations. If the warrant (lien) expires
and the Department is required to issue a new warrant (lien), the previous
priority for collection would not apply.
Mr. O’Malley reviewed Department proposals #2 (relating to distribution of
third party proceeds applying to the Work Injury Supplemental Benefit Fund (WISBF);
#5 (relating to the evidence used to establish financial support to persons
claiming partial dependency); #9 and 10 (relating to the application of the
exclusive remedy and penalties applying to the Uninsured Employer’s Fund and
its third party administrator); and #11 and 12 (relating to changing the
time that surcharges are due to 30 days rather than 90 days). Labor is
continuing to review these proposals. Management is in agreement with
Department proposals #2 , 5, 13 and 14; and they have proposed their own
amendments regarding application of the exclusive remedy. Mr. Shaver
indicated that regarding Department proposals #11 and #12, carriers and
self-insured employers need adequate time to question the surcharges.
Labor and Management expressed concern with the Department introducing new
proposals late in the agreed bill process.
- Labor/Management Proposals: Mr. Newby indicated that both sides
are concentrating on the issues of increasing permanent total disability
benefits (PTD) and Management’s proposal for implementing a medical fee
schedule. Labor’s position is there must be a permanent solution to
increasing PTD benefits. Labor suggests that its proposal on PTD and a fee
schedule proposal have a 4-year sunset provision. Mr. Beiriger responded
that while rates are decreasing and total costs per claim are low in
Wisconsin compared to other states, medical costs per procedure are high and
need to be addressed. The medical fee schedule proposals that have been
considered preserve disparity in medical payments per procedure for worker’s
compensation claims versus non-work injuries. The WCAC’s past actions have
resulted in the continuing low PTD benefit rates for older claims.
Management remains optimistic that the two issues can be resolved.
Management will prepare a medical fee schedule proposal in writing to use as
a discussion point for the next meeting.
- Unfinished Business: None discussed.
Adjournment: Discussion on all agenda items concluded and the meeting was
adjourned at approximately 4:45 p.m.
Future meeting dates are as follows:
Monday, September 24, 2007