Last week, KC&A reported Governor Quinn was hot on the trail of meaningful WC reform. Last week, he released an outline of reform proposals he was seeking to enact. We would like to report them to you directly. We also note an exhaustive search of the Illinois General Assembly’s website this morning has confirmed the only drafted bills currently in the system are the previously reviewed SB 1349 and HB2883 which were previously discussed.
Per the article released by his administration, the Governor is seeking to have a bill presented by April 15, 2011 (just in time for tax day?). The Governor stated he supports a number of “common sense” reforms – the following is taken directly from his press release:
• Caps on carpal tunnel disability payments
• Restoring compensation for temporary total incapacity partial disability to pre-2005 levels (savings as much as $50 million)
• Denial of claims by intoxicated workers injured due to their inebriation
• Enhanced authority to investigate and prosecute fraud
• Capping wage differential awards at the age of 67 or 5 years post-accident, whichever is later (saving as much as $87 million)
• Increased utilization review of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and chiropractic care (savings estimated at $16 million)
• Insurers must accept electronic billing from providers, protecting workers from treatment disruption.
• Insurers/employers must pay providers on a timely basis, or pay providers interest and penalties.
• We must enhance enforcement against employers who fail to maintain proper coverage.
• Current arbitrators’ terms will end and be subject to performance evaluation prior to re-appointment.
• Arbitrators will serve 3-year terms, be licensed attorneys, act in an unbiased, impartial manner, and follow the same rules that apply to Judges.
• Attorneys before the commission will follow the same ethical standards as attorneys before a court.
• Claims by commission appointees or employees will be heard by the Court of Claims, and not arbitrators within the commission.
• The State of Illinois can engage appropriate outside vendors to operate all or part of the state’s self-insured workers compensation program.
• An advisory board will be appointed to review and report to the General Assembly about the state's workers’ compensation program, including needed improvements and adherence to best practices.
We have also been repeatedly asked by our readers and other national sources about what we are calling the “Bradley Bill” which is designed to immediately end the Illinois Workers’ Compensation system. We consider this more legislative maneuvering and feel it has literally no chance at passage. If you read today’s news on www.workerscompcentral.com, you may note your editor is quoted as saying legislation to resolve workers’ compensation injury disputes by “belly-bumping” has a better chance of being passed. If you want all the reasons the Bradley Bill won’t be seriously considered, send a reply.
If you have any questions or comments, please forward them to our resident Blog Administrator, Arik D. Hetue, J. D. who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Currently the blog archive goes back through January 2009, however we have plans to archive all issues of the Monday Law Update, all the way back to the founding of KC&A in June 2003. Be sure to stop on by.