Council on Worker's
April 19, 1999
Members present: Mr.
Bagin, Mr. Beiriger, Mr. Buchen, Ms. Coakley, Mr. Glaser, Mr. Gleichert,
Mr. Grassl, Mr. Muelver, Mr. Newby, Ms. Norman-Nunnery, Mr. Olson, Mr.
Vetter, Mr. Welnak.
Staff present: Mr. Smith,
Liaison present: Mr.
Leonard, Wisconsin Chiropractic Association
1. Minutes. Ms.
Norman-Nunnery called the meeting to order in compliance with Wisconsin's
open meetings law. Mr. Vinge said that on page 1, there was a typo in the
eighth proposal; the word should read insurers not employers.
As amended to accomplish Mr. Vinges correction, Mr. Muelver moved
approval of the minutes of the March 22, 1999 meeting as drafted. Mr.
Welnak seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Stewarts introduction of new administrator. Secretary Stewart
introduced Ms. Judy Norman-Nunnery as the Administrator of the Worker's
Compensation Division. Ms. Norman-Nunnery replaced Mr. Gates who recently
resigned from state service. Ms. Norman-Nunnery previously served for more
than a decade as Administrator of the Division of Vocational
Rehabilitation and more recently, as a Special Assistant to the Secretary.
Secretary Stewart said that Ms. Norman-Nunnerys background in the
vocational rehabilitation and her outstanding work on the Departments
Quality of Worklife Initiative will be of particular value in her new
assignment. Ms. Norman-Nunnery said she was looking forward to working
closely with the Division staff, the Council and other stakeholders in the
3. Medical Records
Privacy. Mr. Smith said that, as requested by the Council, he met with
Rep. Schnieder regarding AB 32 relating to limiting access to worker's
compensation records. He said that Rep. Schneider agreed not to pursue his
proposal because current law was adequate to deal with the problem that
Mr. Smith also discussed
pending federal legislation that would require patient consent for the
release of records, including worker's compensation records. He said that
under current federal law, Congress was required to pass legislation by
August 1999 with the regulations taking effect during the year 2000. As
currently being discussed, the federal proposals would seem to supercede
worker's compensation statutes such as s. 102.13, Wis. Stats., which
provide for the release of all records reasonably related to a claim once
there is an allegation of a work injury, with or without a release. Under
the proposed federal law, a signed release would be required in all cases.
Mr. Glaser doubted that
the legislation would change much because employe releases, while not
required, are so common. Mr. Bagin and Mr. Grassl said releases are not
common in uncontested cases. In the overwhelming majority of cases, they
said that the first time employers and insurers hear about claims is when
the medical bills and reports are submitted by providers. Mr. Grassl also
said that, if enacted, there might be problems for insurers in meeting the
14-day-prompt-payment standard. Mr. Gleichert also expressed concern that
the process would be come more bureaucratic. The Council recommended that
the Department take no action in support or opposition to the proposals at
legislative proposals. The Council gave preliminary approval to the
- 102.01(2)(b). Repeal
the provision authorizing the Deputy to conduct hearings.
- 102.05(1). In the
phrase, any calendar quarter in a calendar year, substitute the
word every for any.
- 102.18(3). In the
phrase, is not timely filed unless the petition shows probable good
cause, substitute the word petitioner for petition.
- 102.87(9). Change the
word insured to uninsured.
- 15.227(4) and (11).
Designate the Department Secretary rather than LIRC as the appointing
authority for the Council on Workers Compensation and the
The Department withdrew
proposals to amend:
- 102.04(1)(e) et al.,
relating to no-employe contractors.
- 102.65(3) relating to
the Work Injury Supplemental Benefits Fund.
The Council tabled a
proposal to amend 102.28(2)(a) relating to the degree of common ownership
required for two employers to insure under the same policy.
The Council requested
more information on proposals to amend:
- 102.43(2) relating to
the proper treatment of wages lost during the 3-day waiting period
when calculating TPD benefits. The Department will provide examples.
- 102.82(2) relating to
doubling the penalties for employers who are multiple offenders in
being uninsured within a 3-year period. The Department will provide
additional documentation on the nature and scope of the problem.
proposed by legislators and public. The Council again reviewed the
proposals submitted by legislators to give the Department and, if
necessary, individual legislators some preliminary feedback. While no
final decisions were made, a summary of the Councils most recent
discussion of these proposals follows:
- Volunteer diving
teams; 102.07(7); 102.475. Draft some comfort legislation to
more clearly cover them as employes. Rep. Meyer et al. Rationale:
while they are probably covered as employes under current law, the
ambiguity creates problems for law enforcement in some jurisdictions.
102.17(1)(d). Do not include a proposal to authorize dentists to issue
opinions on the cause and extent of disability. Rep. Vrakas.
Rationale: the current system seems to work well for injured workers
and their employers; none of them has requested this change.
- Drug-free workplace;
102.31. Do not include a proposal to require insurers to offer a
premium for a drug-free workplace. Rep. Walker. Rationale: the Council
supports the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureaus position that
premiums should be based on experience rather than public policy
goals, and premium reductions for one employer mean premium increases
- Open records; 102.33.
Do not include. Rep. Schneider. Rationale: Rep. Schneider has agreed
not to pursue AB 32.
- Out-of-state medical
referrals; 102.42(2). Sen. Rude. Study the proposal further.
Rationale: This will be reviewed more carefully when the Council
debates the extension of sunset provisions in Chap. 102.
6. Proposals from
other stakeholders. Mr. Glaser requested that the Council consider
Mr. Leonards proposal to audit the databases used to determine
reasonable fees under s. 102.16(2), Stats. Mr. Smith recommended that the
Department meet with Mr. Leonard and representatives of the State Medical
Society to determine the scope of the audit request. Mr. Vinge said the
Department would consider contracting for outside auditors within the
current budget if the request seemed appropriate and affordable. Ms.
Norman-Nunnery said the Department would report back to the Council after
meeting with provider representatives to define the scope of the proposed
audit and reviewing available resources.
7. Summary of
correspondence. Ms. Norman-Nunnery reviewed correspondence from
Representative Wood asking the Council to address the 6- to 9-month delays
in hearings. Mr. Glaser asked the Department to provide some statistics on
the trends relating to the backlog prior to the next Council meeting.
Ms. Norman-Nunnery also
reviewed three legislative proposals from Attorney John Edmonson relating
Authorize an injured worker choice of providers in the state of injury
- New Authorize a 7%
interest credit on benefits that an administrative law judge
determines by order, after hearing, have accrued. (It is not clear
whether the accrual date would be the oldest date of accrual or the
date the application for hearing was filed or some other date).
Delete the phrase in person and substitute a phrase broad enough
to clearly encompass delivery by mail.
Finally, she reviewed a
request from Mr. Bruce McCulloch requesting the law be amended to
authorize payment for hearing aids prior to having a date of injury under
Mr.Vinge reviewed his
correspondence with Ms. Mary Machmueller requesting information related to
transportation issues in which he suggested that Ms. Coakley, among
others, might be able to help her.
The Council adjourned until 10:00 a.m., Monday, May 24, 1999. (Note: This
meeting will be primarily for purposes of caucusing on proposed