Website - Division of Worker's Compensation
Email - WC Administration
Website - Division of Worker's Compensation
Email - WC Administration
Members present: Mr. Beiriger, Ms. Bloomingdale , Mr. Buchen, Mr. Ginsburg, Mr. Herzog. Ms. Johnson, Mr. Kent, Ms. Nugent, Mr. O'Malley (Acting Chair), Mr. Schwanda, and Ms. Seiler
Member Excused: Mr. Brand, Mr. Redman, and Ms. Thomas
Staff present: Mr. Aiello, Ms. Arnold, Mr. Dernbach, Ms. Endter, and Mr. Krieger
Rep. Spiros sponsored AB-501 because the legislature was not aware of the Council's progress in developing a bill for this session. He stated the intent of AB-501 was not to deconstruct the worker's compensation system but to make the system fair for both employers and employees. He indicated AB-501 incorporated some of the changes that were included in the Council's last bill, including an increase in supplemental benefits, extending the sunset for not considering part time wages while an employee was attending school for retraining, the hiring of a Department of Justice (DOJ) position for investigating and prosecuting fraud, and setting a flat fee for electronic medical records. Rep. Spiros pointed out that AB-501 also included some provisions that are contained in the Council's current bill, such as reducing the statute of limitations, and reducing benefits for employee negligence.
Rep. Spiros explained the main points of AB-501:
Mr. Buchen inquired of Rep. Spiros what was he interested in from the Council. Rep. Spiros responded that he was interested in reviewing the Council's bill and comparing it with AB-501.
Rep. Spiros concluded by commenting the original intent of worker's compensation was to get injured workers back to work as soon as possible and not to have cases end up in litigation. His only interest is for a bill that is in the best for employers and employees alike.
Mr. Beiriger asked if the other members received the letter from the Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) offering to meet with the Council to discuss their program. There was agreement that a LIRC representative will be invited to the next Council meeting to give an overview of their activities.
The Council reconvened in open session at approximately 3:00 p.m.
Section 32: s. 102.175 (3) (a), on page 19, should read as follows:
If it is established by the certified report of a physician, podiatrist, surgeon, psychologist, or chiropractor under s. 102.17(1)(d)1., a record of a hospital or sanatorium under s. 102.17(1)(d)2. or other competent evidence that an injured employee has incurred permanent disability, and that a percentage of that disability was caused by an accidental injury sustained in the course of employment with the employer against whom compensation is claimed and a percentage of that disability was caused by other factors, whether occurring before or after the accidental injury sustained in the course of employment, the employer shall be liable only for the percentage of disability that was caused by the accidental injury sustained in the course of employment. However, if previous permanent disability is attributable to occupational exposure with the same employer, the employer is also liable for such prior permanent disability so established.
Section 32: s. 102.175 (3) (b), page 20, line 2, add the following:
, including occupational exposure with the same employer
Mr. Beiriger explained that these changes are to make it clear that an employer has liability for any prior permanent disability arising out of employment with that employer.
Section 66: s. 102.58, on page 35, line 22, add the following:
Nothing in this section shall reduce or eliminate liability for incidental compensation under s. 102.42 (1) – (8) and s. 102.425.
Mr. Beiriger said that the reference to subsection (9) regarding vocational rehabilitation was removed.
Section 65: s. 102.44 (4m) (a), on, page 34, line 15, replace "periodically review" to "review every 8 years."
Section 65: s.102.44 (4m) (a), on page 34, lines 19- 20, revise the language to," to review and recommend revision of those minimum permanent disability ratings based on typical loss of function…"
Mr. Beiriger said that this section addresses the creation of a committee to look at permanent partial disability (PPD) ratings. Rather than having a periodic review by the committee, the review will be done every eight (8) years. The members also wanted to clarify the committee will review and recommend PPD changes based on the typical loss of function, allowing for medical advancements that may modify what the loss of function may be.
Section 33: s. 102.18 (1) (b) 2, page 20, line 20: correct the statutory reference from 102.16 to 102.61. This change was self-explanatory.
The Council also agreed to Mr. O'Malley's recommended changes:
On page 7 of the draft bill: In the plain language analysis in the section for self-insured employer assessments, clarify that governmental units are currently not covered by the self-insurer's fund, are not assessed by the self-insurers fund, and do not receive payments from that fund, by substituting the following as the first sentence of the second paragraph, "The bill also clarifies that governmental employers are not covered by the self-insurer's fund."
On page 13 of the draft bill, Section 20, s. 102.07 (3), line 16, delete the word "disability" where it appears twice, a drafting error
On page 24 of
the draft bill, Section 38, s. 102.33 (1) (c), line 7, where the drafter did not
include time limits for the party to file an answer to the complaint that
initiated the action, add the following sentences for lines 6 to 10, "Except
as provided in par. (cm), any other defendant may serve an answer to the
complaint within 20 days after the service of the complaint, which answer
may, by way of counterclaim or cross complaint, ask for the review of the order
or award referred to in the complaint, with the same effect as if the
defendant had commenced a separate
action for the review thereof of the order or award."
On the wage expansion proposal Mr. Beiriger stated there is a need to address this issue but it will not be on time for the current bill. He thanked Mr. Aiello for the data which showed that the Work Injury Supplemental Benefit Fund would not be a viable source of funding for the wage expansion provision. Mr. Beiriger also said that the proposal for a dispute resolution pilot program to deal with the cost of medical care was of interest to the Council but it was too late for this session and was not ready for introduction. Both sides would continue to look at directed care and its ability to resolve health cost disputes.
Mr. Beiriger moved to modify the draft bill as described above as recommended by the Council. Ms. Bloomingdale seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. O'Malley said he would get these changes to the drafter by the end of the day. Once the bill was ready, the Council will meet to approve it, by telephone conference call if no other discussion or changes are required.