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Compensation Advisory Council
Council on Worker’s Compensation
August 1, 2007
Members present: Ms. Bean, Mr. Beiriger, Mr. Brand, Mr.
Buchen, Mr. Furley, Ms. Huntley-Cooper, Mr. Kent, Mr. Newby, Mr. Redman, Mr.
Shaver, Ms. Vetter, Mr. Collingwood (for Mr. Schimke) and Ms. Connor (for Mr.
Excused: Mr. Scott, Mr. Schimke, Mr. Olson
Mr. Conway, Mr.
O’Malley, Ms. Knutson, Mr. Topp and Mr. Krueger
- 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 July 11, 2007 meeting were approved
with a formatting correction. (The last paragraph of #4 was moved to the
last paragraph of #3.)
- Reports: Ms. Huntley-Cooper reported the Health Care Provider
Advisory Committee met on July 20th and reviewed the final draft of the
Medical Treatment Guidelines (Wis. Admin. Code Chap. DWD 81). The Committee
requested an opportunity to speak on plans to measure the effectiveness of
the Medical Treatment Guidelines. Ms. Huntley-Cooper indicated that once the
WCAC completed work on the agreed bill, Dr. Jurisic and Dr. Lischak will
represent the Committee in providing a presentation to the WCAC. Mr.
O’Malley indicated the current time line for the Medical Treatment
Guidelines to be in effect is November 1st. The Guidelines are posted on the
Ms. Knutson reviewed the litigated case report. The number of cases pending
in ready for hearing status is over 3200 with over 1500 cases currently
scheduled for hearing. The median lag time for cases pending ready for
hearing to the date the hearing notice is issued is around seven months.
Hearing notices are being sent out approximately 11 weeks in advance of the
Ms. Huntley-Cooper reported that Mr. Newby met with Secretary Gassman,
Deputy Secretary JoAnna Richard and herself on July 30th. Frances relayed
the following statement from the Secretary: “Appreciate the interest and
support of the Council to address the backlog. Important to provide
assistance to injured workers in a timely fashion and the Department and
Council both share that goal.
Department and Staff have made great progress by:
• Maintaining a full complement of ALJ’s;
• Having an ALJ offer mediation services and clearing up cases;
• Having an ALJ LTE who will help clear up older cases;
• Instituting scheduling and staffing changes to help facilitate a smoother
• Establishment of certificate of readiness to ensure sounder and more
certain hearing schedules.
Department will continue to make progress and pledge that at each Council
meeting, will provide a briefing on our progress to date.
Department and Division of Workers Compensation leadership will carefully,
and with stakeholder feedback, review Dale Cattanach’s report to address
those recommendations and suggestions that merit implementation and do not
disrupt the progress we have made, thus far. Only those items contained in
Dale Cattanach’s report will be considered for any future scheduling
The Department will report to the Council in 6 months on our progress for
the certification of readiness. Appreciate the feedback of stakeholders and
have adopted modifications to the form and application which reflects the
Ms. Huntley-Cooper added that she wanted to ensure that her division staff
continue to provide information to the council. Mr. Buchen commented that,
for the record, he felt that the council was very satisfied with how the WCD
administration and staff work with the council. His concern was regarding
how the council is viewed by the Secretary’s Office.
- Correspondence: Mr. Conway reported on correspondence received
from Mr. Chuck Carr. Mr. Carr referenced discussion included in the June 25,
2007 minutes regarding treating doctors’ interaction with insurance
- Review of Dale Cattanach’s Report: Ms. Huntley-Cooper indicated
Deputy Secretary JoAnna Richard requested that the Department allow for
further discussion of the report. The Department will try to allow for input
and feedback from the stakeholders on the suggestions and recommendations in
the report. No suggested changes or recommendations referenced in the report
will be implemented before the next WCAC meeting in September. Dale
Cattanach’s report will be included on the agenda for the next meeting. Mr.
Kent inquired whether the Department considered cross-training Unemployment
Division ALJs to hear WCD cases during high volume periods. Ms. Knutson
indicated intensive and lengthy training was required for attorneys who were
not experienced in worker’s compensation law.
Mr. Newby indicated he expressed concern to Secretary Gassman in the July
30th meeting that DWD consult more with the WCAC. Labor would like to pause
and evaluate the changes the WCD has already made and the status of the
backlog before taking additional measures to change hearing procedures.
There was motion by Mr. Newby, seconded by Mr. Buchen to strongly urge the
Department not to make further administrative changes for six months to
allow time to evaluate the impact of the changes already implemented. The
motion carried unanimously.
- Labor/Management Proposals: Mr. Newby outlines Labor’s current
proposal to Management:
1. The Department would create a mean charge per CPT or DRG code based on
data contained in the existing certified databases by zip-coded region, and
would calculate 1.4 standard deviations as a maximum charge based on that
data. The maximum charge would be adjusted annually based on the Medical
Consumer Price Index. Further, a provider in a small-defined geographic
region could not charge in subsequent years, more than the provider’s base
year charge plus the Medical Consumer Price Index with a maximum allowable
charge (1.4 standard deviations from the mean).
2. Option 2 for increasing the maximum benefit for permanent total
disability benefits to bring all existing PTD claims currently up to the
2001 benefit rate with payments to be adjusted annually according to the TTD
rate. A six-year lag would be created for PTD benefit increases. For
example, PTD claims with a date of injury in 2008 would not receive a
benefit increase until 2014. For existing PTD claims, supplemental benefits
would be paid by assessments to the Work Injury Supplemental Benefit Fund (WISBF)
against insurers and self-insured employers. For increased benefits for PTD
claims with dates of injury after the effective date of the bill, increased
payments would be paid by the insurer or self-insured employer.
3. Set the maximum permanent partial disability benefit rate at 34% of the
temporary total disability benefit rate.
4. Accept Management Proposal #3 modified to provide that the WISBF would
pay for barred traumatic claims where the amputation or original joint
replacement did not occur until after the statute of limitations had run.
5. Accept Management proposal #5 concerning evidence in hearing loss claims.
6. Accept part one of Management proposal #6 that provides an employee of a
temporary help agency cannot bring a third party suit against an employee of
a different temporary help agency if the same employer compensations both
temporary help agencies.
- New Business: None discussed.
- Unfinished Business: Ms. Knutson will provide the WCAC with a
summary of WCAC action on Department proposals prior to the next meeting.
Adjournment: Discussion on all agenda items concluded and the meeting was
adjourned at approximately 4:00 p.m.
Future meeting dates are as follows:
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007