11-6-2018; Election Special; Dreaded Consecutive IL WC Claims--Who Knows Who Owes and more

Synopsis: 2018 Midterm Election Special from KCB&A/Gene Keefe


Editor’s comment: Lots of things are on the line. As I advised in weeks past, JB Pritzker is way ahead in the polls. Barring a major upset, he is going to be our next IL Governor. He has vowed to


  • Increase state income taxes “temporarily”—sure… Once, in place, income taxes aren’t going to be cut so long as our troops in Springfield don’t dramatically reform their spending habits;

  • Work to pass a graduated income tax for an unknown new levy in about two years. It will require a constitutional amendment (Try to imagine anyone amending the IL Constitution to limit fake gov’t pension!);

  • Make marijuana legal at the State level—I am sure this is to try to get the same level of tax income folks in Colorado are seeing from marijuana taxation/fees;

  • Raise the IL statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour.


The only one of these many factors important to IL WC professionals is the $15 per hour minimum wage. If that passes, I assure you IL WC wage loss differential benefits are certain to change in many industries, because anyone who can work, even with severe restrictions, will be making at least $15 per hour.


I assure my readers reserves for wage loss differential claims are going to have to change if the new minimum wage becomes law. If you aren’t sure why/how, send a reply.


As a long-time IL WC Commission observer, I hope the secret-powers-that-be who run the Commission keep our State in the middle of the pack of United States for work comp costs. We don’t need to get on everyone’s radar for being too expensive, PLEASE!!


On the federal level, the Bipartisan HSA (or Health Savings Acc’t) Improvement Act (H.R. 5138) was introduced in the U.S. House, but was not included in the spending bill and has yet to be voted on. The proposal makes helpful changes to current HSA rules, including:


  • Allows HSA-compatible plans to provide pre-deductible coverage for services and medications for chronic conditions and for services at on-site clinics and retail clinics (e.g., clinics in pharmacies).

  • Permits employees to use HSA funds to pay for wellness activities, equipment and gym memberships.

  • Conforms HSA rules to other tax code rules to allow parents to use their HSA funds to pay for medical expenses of children who are not dependents through the end of the year in which the child turns 26.

  • Permits employees to contribute to HSAs even if the employee’s spouse participates in a general-purpose health flexible spending arrangement (health FSA).

  • Makes it easier for employers to add an HSA-compatible plan when the employer sponsors a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) or health FSA.


These proposals, if they become law, may significantly change the U.S. landscape on non-work-related healthcare coverage.


On another front, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently advised a federal court it is not likely to meet its self-imposed August deadline to issue updated regulations describing how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to corporate wellness programs. Regulations issued in 2016 were recently vacated by the court effective Jan. 1, 2019.


One problem for the EEOC is all regulations must be voted on by the five-member commission. Two seats on the commission are vacant and one commissioner is up for re-nomination. Nominees for those seats are being held up in the U.S. Senate, pending the outcome of the current mid-term election.


Whatever you do folks, keep the faith. The United States will rise again! I appreciate your thoughts and comments. No, I don’t like Donald Trump. Please post them on our award-winning blog.



Synopsis: Dreaded Consecutive IL WC Claim(s)—Who Knows Who Owes?


Editor’s comment: In Par Electric v. Illinois Workers' Compensation Comm'n, 2018 IL App (3d) 170656WC, issued October 19, 2018, the IL WC Appellate Court considered a claim where Claimant filed workers' compensation claim for a June 2014 injury to his right arm while in the employ of Par Electric Company. He returned to work elsewhere and later filed IL workers compensation claims for April 1, 2015 and April 3, 2015 injuries to his right shoulder while working for the other company. The events leading to new problems were not severe trauma—one event was simply tossing a tool to another worker.


The IWCC in its wisdom, reached the conclusion the two April 2015 accidents did not constitute intervening and superseding accidents sufficient to break the causal connection from the June 2014 accident. In short, Par Electric, the first employer got stuck with all three claims, even though Claimant recovered sufficiently to return to construction electrician work.


In my opinion, the new Appellate ruling follows a solid trend—they let the IWCC, as the primary IL administrative agency entrusted to determine medical causation make they call. In short, the Appellate Court ruled the IWCC decision  was not against manifest weight of evidence. Our Appellate Court, WC Division noted the evidence supported a finding Claimant had not completely and fully recovered from his 1st injury and surgery despite being released to return to work.


My final whiny, court-watchers comment is to note it took almost four years to resolve who was going to have to take care of this worker—one would think we are smart enough to get such decisions done quicker. I do feel the ruling by the Appellate Court, WC Division does send a message—they are going to follow the IWCC’s lead on such issues so, don’t waste time and money appealing.


It was a unanimous ruling you can view on this trusted link: 


Par Electric v. IWCC


I appreciate your thoughts and comments. Please post them on our award-winning blog.



Synopsis: From Brad Smith, our KCB&A GL defense team lead—New Cook County HIPAA order.


Editor’s comment: This was just disseminated and we want clients and colleagues to be aware of it.

Law Division Administrative Order 18-1 HIPAA Order

Cook County HIPAA Order to view the Law Division Administrative Order 18-1 HIPAA order.

Please contact Brad Smith at bsmith@keefe-law.com for concerns.