Worker's Compensation Advisory Council
    Council on Worker’s Compensation
    Meeting Minutes
    Madison, Wisconsin
    September 24, 2007

     

    Members present:   Ms. Bean, Mr. Beiriger, Mr. Brand, Mr. Buchen, Mr. Furley, Ms. Huntley-Cooper, Mr. Kent, Mr. Newby, Mr. Olson, Mr. Redman,  and  Mr. Scott

    Excused:  Mr. Shaver, Ms. Vetter, Mr. Schimke

    Staff present:   Mr. Conway, Mr. O’Malley, Ms. Knutson, Mr. Aiello and Mr. Krueger

    1. 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.
       
    2. Minutes: The minutes of the September 6, 2007 meeting were approved without correction.
       
    3. Reports - Certificate of Readiness Update: Mr. Shorey reported the Certification of Readiness (COR) process started August 1, 2007. Letters were sent out to applicant’s attorneys for hearing applications filed between January 1, 2007 and August 1, 2007 advising that a COR should be filed. The WCD has been receiving a steady stream of CORs and has scheduled quite a few hearings on those cases where a complete COR was filed. Ms. Knutson is providing training to staff on processing the CORs. In August, 460 applications for hearing were filed and around 40 CORs were received on those cases. The WCD expects the number of CORs filed to increase as attorneys become familiar with the process.

      Mr. Newby asked the attorneys in the audience if they had any comments on the COR process and there was no response.
       
    4. Correspondence:  Mr. Conway reported on the letter from Sen. Ellis expressing concern that the WCAC provide an adjustment in benefits to PTD recipients.

      Ms. Huntley-Cooper informed the WCAC she had just returned from the IAIABC conference where she gave a presentation on advisory councils. The attendees had wonderful comments on the Wisconsin system and the agreed bill process. During a roundtable discussion attendees questioned the WCAC’s consideration of a medical fee schedule.

      Ms. Knutson reported that hearings were currently scheduled 10 weeks in advance with the scheduling staff working very hard to reach the 12 week goal. The schedulers are concentrating their efforts on scheduling the oldest cases first.
       
    5. Labor/Management Proposals: The WCAC members and the liaisons discussed extensively the difficulty in reaching an agreement on an approach to a medical fee schedule. Issues of concern include: using a 9-digit zip code area to determine the maximum fee per procedure code; whether to use the Producer Price Index or the Medical Consumer Price Index to add to the base year fee; preventing providers from increasing costs in anticipation of a fee schedule; and data collection difficulties including the difference between a provider’s billing address and the service location. Management stressed their concern with limiting growth on medical costs. Labor stressed the need to immediately address the low benefit rate for permanently and totally disabled workers. Both Management and Labor want injured workers to have access to the best available medical care.

      Labor and Management returned from caucus around 6:00 pm and reported an agreed bill had been reached. In addition to the previously agreed Professional Employer Organization (PEO) amendments, the contents of the agreed bill are as follows:

      *No changes in medical expense reimbursement.

      *PTD benefits raised to 1992 rates.

      *Barred traumatic prostheses first implanted after the 12 year statute of limitations has run to be paid by Work Injury Supplemental Benefit Fund (WISBF); if the prosthesis was first implanted prior to the 12 year statute of limitations, carrier is responsible for payment (as in 2006 amendment).

      *Hearing loss - where no practical hearing impairment, no expenses for medical treatment, evaluation, testing or hearing aids shall be compensable.

      *Amend 102.29(6) to provide that no employee of an employer that is injured by an employee of a temporary help agency compensated by the employer may make a claim or maintain an action in tort against the temporary help agency or the employee of the temporary help agency. Notwithstanding 102.01(2)(f), for purposes of this subsection, a temporary help agency is defined as an employer primarily in the business of placing employees with other employers.

      *Decrease the interest credit on advancements from 7% to 5%.

      *PPD rates - increase $10 per year.

      *Christian Science treatment amendment – employers no longer allowed to opt out and the fee is limited to usual and customary rate.

      *Adopt Dept. proposals 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 13 & 14 concerning (respectively): delete reference to the Minnesota Rules; delete reference to the Blue Book, which is out of print; create a dispute resolution process for pharmacy fees disputes; provide the department of justice represents the WISBF for claims payments into the Fund for illegal employment of minors under §102.60; delete obsolete language in §102.65(3); eliminate the requirement to consider incurred but not reported (IBNR) claims when considering encumbrances to the Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF); a WC collections lien will remain in effect until paid; and personal liability of officers or directors is an independent obligation and the WC lien will remain in effect until paid.

      At this point, the attorney’s fees proposal previously presented to the WCAC is not included in the agreed bill. The WCD will forward the attorney’s fees proposal to Management for further consideration.
       
    6. New Business - Future meetings: No new business was discussed. Future meeting dates will be determined later.
       
    7. Unfinished Business: None discussed.
       
    8. Adjournment: Discussion on all agenda items concluded and the meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:30 p.m.

      Future meeting dates are to be announced.