12-3-2018; IL Senate Bill 904 Is now law in this State; Chgo Alderman Ed Burke again under Fed Microscope and more

Synopsis: IL Senate Bill 904 Is now law in this State. For the First Time, WC ‘Reform’ Isn’t in the IL WC Act.


Editor’s comment: Last week, the IL House joined the IL Senate in overwhelmingly overriding Gov. Rauner’s veto of SB 904. From what I can tell, the initial “effective date” of SB 904 is November 27, 2018.


We are going to have the weird “effective date” concept that statutory interest for medical bills pending prior to that effective date aren’t supposed to be the subject of a Circuit Court claim for interest by doctors and medical providers.


That said, beginning this month and from now on, the game on new WC medical care and late-paid medical bills starts to allow independent collection actions in the local Circuit Court against carriers/TPA’s and self-insured and self-administered employers.


Yes, we are going to have to add a chapter to our IL WC textbook—if you want a courtesy copy, send a reply.


I am sure if an insurance carrier/TPA pays a medical bill for care after this month, at any later time under WC, interest at 1% per month or 12% per year will attach and be subject to a Circuit Court claim.


Jay Shattuck from the IL State Chamber points out this is going to apply to fully disputed and denied medical bills where the IWCC orders payment years after the care is completed. Doctors and other facilities are demanding this from the insurance industry, as if you owed it all along.


So please understand, as fast as the IWCC decision or reviewing court order becomes final, interest from years earlier on unpaid medical bills, no matter how esoteric or nebulous will be due. The Medical Hyper billers in IL WC are going to be running wild.


In short, Docs and hospitals will make demand and then sue to also seek court costs if they are paid late but then prevail in Circus Court.


In my view, the game on denying medical care and disputed treatment is going to go up in value. I think reserving for such “risk” or exposure is going to be very hard for you and our clients and their actuaries.

I am also sure if there are significant disputed medical bills, taking IL WC cases to the snail-like reviewing courts is not going to be favored. For example, if there are $400K in disputed medical bills and it takes four years to get through the Circuit and Appellate Courts, do the math, the statutory interest could be $100K or more. Please also remember your defense lawyers will need to tell their clients of this new exposure when they decide to appeal past an IWCC ruling.


As a nutty example, I had a claim where Claimant got $50K in worthless injections. The doctor doing all the worthless injections admitted to me in his deposition the care was at an end and no more shots were needed. And Claimant kept showing up and he did another $50K in injections. Then-Commissioner Barb Sherman and the Commission panel ordered payment of all the care before and after the doc said under oath no more shots were needed. And then interest would have continued to run while we appealed and lost in the Circus and Appellate Courts. Statutory interest would apply from the day our client received the “needed info” to figure out the bills.


I ask for your thoughts. I think UR is going to be much more important, as it is a stronger way to block care. There is a presumption when UR non-certifies.


But I am not sure—IME’s may still have their place.


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



Synopsis: Chicago Alderman Ed Burke is Again Under the Federal Microscope and some of it may be due to WC!!!


Editor’s comment: Alderman Ed Burke is the husband of IL Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke. He is one of the most powerful politicians in the history of politics. He first got his legislative job in 1969—no, Chicago doesn’t have term limits on anything.


If you aren’t sure, Ed Burke is one of the wealthiest humans in Illinois. He has feasted on the stupid and impossible-to-understand “real estate appeals” tax process to make literally billions of dollars, per my analysis of the Chicago Tribune’s review of his client’s tax-cutting work. He makes the money “legally” but it is all the result of bumbling by the Assessor’s office. The Assessor screws tax assessments up, Ald. Burke makes a third of the corrections. What a sweet deal…


The so-called “appeals” are simply math—there is no lawyer “appealing” anything. To my knowledge, Ed Burke has never, ever filed a brief or argued a single tax appeal claim before anyone. In my view, the whole Cook County RE appeals process is a complete and embarrassing sham. It will never be “reformed” as our politicians are making millions from it.


Last week, the Feds raided Alderman Burke’s office, looking for whatever. No one knows.


My questions for all Chicago voters:


  1. How many pending IL WC claims are there for all City of Chicago workers?


Seems like a simple question—good luck getting an answer. I asked and Ed’s troops said “we don’t know.” How can they not know that silly and simple answer? FYI, if they respond to this article with the answer, I will publish it next week. To my understanding, there are tens of thousands of pending IL WC claims for City of Chicago workers. Is that because the City is dangerous to work for or they don’t investigate and deny any claims, ever?


  1. How much does the City of Chicago spend on all workers’ comp claims in a given year?


Again, simple question—Rotsa ruck getting a simple answer. Again, if they respond, I will be happy to publish the response and buy everyone of my readers a lottery ticket. To my understanding, Ed Burke and his minions hide the monies in lots of different places that civilians can’t find.


  1. How many litigated IL WC claims are handled by how many adjusters in the Dep’t of Finance?


Same—rotsa ruck getting an answer. I was told there are over 3,000 claims handled by one adjuster.


  1. How many litigated IL WC claims are handled by how many attorneys in the Corp Counsel’s office.


Same. I was told there are several thousand claims handled by a single lawyer.


  1. Please note Ed Burke doesn’t believe in “light duty” so injured City workers are off work indefinitely basically until they want to return to work or they get giant settlements.


I asked under the Freedom of Info Act and the answer was “we don’t know.” This should be corruption but no one seems to care.


  1. Please also note Ed Burke doesn’t believe in surveillance of injured City workers because he doesn’t want to catch them working at other jobs, in taverns or whatever they are doing while on TTD.


None of this appears to me to be against federal or state law. All of this appears to me to be Chicago politics/corruption—you let me know how you feel!!


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


Synopsis: Two New Indiana WC Single Hearing Members (Judges) Just Named and Soon To Take Office. Article and analysis by our IN WC Defense Team Leader, Kevin Boyle, J.D.

Editor’s comment: Last week, I mentioned that temporary assignments were made for two Single Hearing Member regions. However, here’s the latest: two replacements have just now been picked.

Bridgett Repay will replace the long-serving Northwest Region SHM Gerald Ediger. Ms. Repay has practiced  for over 20 years in the Region on both sides of IN worker’s compensation cases.

In the Southeast Region, Krysten LeFavour will be replaced by new hearing member Kyle Samons. Mr. Samons has been a prominent plaintiff’s WC attorney in Jeffersonville, IN for the last seven years.

I have experience with both new judges, and if you have any questions, please contact me.

Thank you Judge Ediger and Judge LeFavour for all of your time at the IWCB, and we look forward to working with these two fine worthy replacements in the near future.

If you have questions, concerns or just want to reasonably and rapidly close your IN WC claims, no one is faster and better than Kevin Boyle. He can be reached 24/7 at kboyle@keefe-law.com