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Compensation Advisory Council
Council on Worker's Compensation
November 12, 2009
Members present: Mr. Beiriger, Mr. Buchen, Mr.
Collingwood, Ms. Connor, Ms. Huntley-Cooper, Mr. Kent, Mr.
Newby, Ms. Nugent, Mr. Olson, Ms. Pehler, Mr. Schwanda and Ms. Vetter
Excused: Mr. Brand, and Mr. Redman
Mr. Conway, Mr. O'Malley, Ms.
Knutson, Mr. Krueger and Mr. Shorey
- 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 October 19, 2009 meeting were
unanimously approved without correction.
- Correspondence: Mr. Conway reviewed Secretary Gassman's November
4, 2009 correspondence to the State Hygiene Lab informing them that the
Department will continue funding the state match portion for the Census of
Fatal Occupational Injuries and Occupational Safety and Health Statistics
programs for fiscal year 2010.
Mr. Conway reviewed the correspondence from Senator Risser wherein he
expresses concern regarding the lack of a cost of living adjustment for
recipients of permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. Senator Risser
encouraged the WCAC to increase PTD benefits.
- Reports: Mr. Kent reported on the results of the requested WCD
survey of injured workers receiving PTD benefits. The survey asked
questions concerning the extent to which PTD benefits meet economic needs,
receipt of health insurance benefits and private pension benefits. Over 750
surveys were mailed with 234 returned with responses. The WCD did not have
current addresses for 116 injured workers. Injured workers had the option
to call in with survey responses. Mr. Conway listened to approximately 30
phone responses. A summary document containing the results of the survey
was provided to the WCAC members.
Mr. Newby reported that at the recent Worker's Compensation Research
Institute (WCRI) briefing, the Oregon study comparing insurance premium
rates for 2008 was discussed. Wisconsin was ranked 35th in that survey.
Higher premium rates occur for manufacturing and farming. However, the
farming rate is dropping due to an increase in corporate farms.
Mr. O'Malley reported that for 2010, the maximum wage for benefit purposes
will be $1,222.50, resulting in a maximum temporary total and permanent
total disability rate of $815 per week. The average weekly wage is
calculated by the Unemployment Insurance Division for the preceding June
30th. The maximum average weekly wage for worker's compensation benefit
purposes is calculated as 110% of the state's average weekly wage.
Unfinished Business: The WCAC members went into closed caucus
and upon return from caucus Mr. Newby reported that Labor and Management had
reached an agreement on proposals to be included in the agreed bill as
- PTD supplemental benefits will increase to a maximum rate of $582
per week as outlined in the department's proposition #4 (for dates of injury
prior to January 1, 2000);
- Temporary total disability benefits will
be suspended for injured workers convicted of a crime while incarcerated;
Statutory amendment to require the WCD to hold prehearing
conferences in all cases where bad faith is claimed;
hearing aid payments when an injured worker does not suffer a compensable
occupational hearing loss for all dates of injury effective January 1, 2012;
Increase the maximum PPD rate by $10 per year for the next 2 years (2010 and
- Increase the maximum burial expense reimbursement
to $10,000 or the actual total expenses, whichever is less;
- Volunteer emergency responders will be covered enroute from the time paged
or called to the emergency unless the employee is involved in a deviation
for a private or personal purpose;
- Allow by administrative rule non-obstructive
audio-recording of formal hearings by parties;
- Department proposals
1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20 are approved.
The WCAC is committed to good faith efforts to resolve the medical
cost issue between now and the next agreed bill cycle. Mr. Buchen moved to
adopt the aforementioned proposals for inclusion in the agreed bill and the
motion was seconded by Mr. Newby. The motion carried by unanimous vote of
New Business: None.
- Adjournment: Discussion on all agenda items concluded and the
meeting was adjourned at approximately 2:30 p.m.
Future meeting dates: To be determined