Council on Worker's Compensation
August 10, 1999
Members present: Mr. Bagin, Ms. Coakley, Mr. Glaser, Mr. Grassl, Mr. Muelver, Mr. Newby, Ms. Norman-Nunnery, Mr. Olson, Ms. Vetter, Mr. Cafuro for Mr. Fronk.
Staff present: Ms. Piraino, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Smith.
Liaison present: Ms. Kathy Anderson, State Medical Society of Wisconsin.
- Minutes. Ms. Norman-Nunnery convened the meeting in accordance with Wisconsin’s open meetings law. Mr. Bagin moved adoption of minutes of the May 24, 1999 meeting. Mr. Glaser seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
- Agreed-Upon Bill (LRB draft 3192/2). Mr. Smith said there were two changes in the bill from the bill draft that had been mailed to the Council members prior to the meeting. On page 4, line 9, the word, "a," was deleted. On page 10, the effective date for all the provisions was set at January 1, 2000.
Mr. Bagin moved that the Department jacket LRB 3192/2 for introduction and that the Council work with the Senate and Assembly Labor Committees to secure passage of the bill. Mr. Glaser seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
- Senate Bill 194 relating to the distribution of 3rd-party proceeds. Mr. Paul Sicula, representing the Wisconsin Association of Trial Attorneys, requested that the Council review SB 194 as part of the next agreed-upon bill. He said he was familiar with the Council’s role in such matters from his service in the Legislature and felt that the bill was better left to the Council’s jurisdiction.
- Open records. Mr. Smith distributed the opinion of the Attorney General supporting the Department’s position that certain insurance records obtained from the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau were not subject to release under the open records statute.
Mr. Bagin said the Department and Council should continue to monitor federal health care legislation that would limit insurers’ access to injured workers’ health care records.
Mr. Grassl asked if there was any further activity at the state level relating to the various privacy bills that had been introduced earlier in the session. Mr. Metcalf said the Governor had appointed a Commission to study the subject. He said that he was representing WMC on the Council.
- The assignment of benefits. Ms. Norman-Nunnery distributed a copy of a memorandum and bill draft (LRB 1195/1, not introduced yet) she had discussed with Attorney Peter Christenson relating to structured settlement agreements. Currently, s. 102.27(1) prohibits the assignment of benefits. The material from Mr. Christenson suggests that similar provisions in other jurisdictions have not been fully effective in preventing creative financing arrangements that effectively transfer future benefit payments for a current lump sum—at a heavily discounted rate.
Mr. Glaser asked the insurance representatives of the Council why Mr. Christenson had chosen to circulate draft legislation rather than working with the Council. Mr.Grassl and Mr. Cafuro agreed. Mr. Grassl said he would work with his industry contacts to get copies of legislation enacted in other states. The members agreed to continue the discussion at a future meeting.
- Van crash involving Yes. Mr. Glaser asked for an update on claims against the uninsured employer fund as a result of the van crash near Janesville. Ms. Piraino said the Department had two claims, but said that currently the Department did not think the total of all claims would reach the $250,000 threshold of the Department’s excess insurance policy. She said they had determined that Yes was the employer and turned the matter over to the Attorney General to collect uninsured employer penalties and payments from the UEF.
- Adjournment. The Council adjourned. The members agreed to reconvene subject to the call of the Chair. No future dates were set.