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Compensation Advisory Council
Council on Worker's Compensation
October 19, 2009
Members present: Mr. Beiriger, Mr. Brand, Mr.
Collingwood, Ms. Connor, Ms. Huntley-Cooper, Mr. Kent, Mr.
Newby, Ms. Nugent, Mr. Olson, Ms. Pehler, Mr. Schwanda and Ms. Vetter
Excused: Mr. Redman
Staff present: Mr. Conway, Mr. O'Malley, Ms.
Knutson, 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 October 6, 2009 meeting were
unanimously approved without correction.
Conway reviewed correspondence from Mr. John Edmondson regarding insurance
carriers' delay in providing a copy of an adverse medical or vocational
report to the applicant. Mr.
O'Malley explained that currently Wis. Stat. sec. 102.13 (1)(b)4 provides
that the employee has the right to receive a copy of the report 'immediately
upon receipt of these reports by the employer or workers compensation
insurer. No penalty is provided
in the statute if the carrier does not comply. Mr. Newby requested that the WCD report on the number of problems or
complaints with regard to delays in providing a copy of the reports to
employees so that in the next agreed bill cycle, this issue can be addressed
Conway reviewed the correspondence from Mr. Walter Stern regarding his
suggestion to eliminate the use of certain reports or opinions in contested cases. Mr. O'Malley will include Mr.
Stern's suggested law changes on the public proposal list for the next
agreed bill cycle
- Reports: None.
Unfinished Business-Proposals: The WCAC members went into
closed caucus and upon return from caucus, Mr. Newby reported that Labor
received Management's October 19, 2009 medical cost containment proposal.
Labor is not rejecting it out-of-hand; however, this different approach will
require time to analyze its implications. Labor suggests that a study
committee be formed to analyze the cost of this new proposal along with the
proposal currently under consideration. If an agreement can be reached on a
medical cost containment proposal before the next agreed bill cycle, Labor
would be willing to consider a trailer bill. Labor proposes that the items
agreed upon at this time be submitted to the Legislature. The proposed
agreed bill includes all items in the tentative agreement set forth in the
department's October 2009 summary plus raising supplemental benefits for
injured workers receiving permanent total disability benefits (PTD) up to a
six-year lag. The Work Injury Supplemental Benefit Fund (WISBF) would pay
the supplemental benefits until the WISBF reserves drop to an established
minimum level; at that point the carriers would pick up the cost through an
assessment. In addition, Labor proposes that PTD benefits would be indexed
going forward with the carriers paying the cost.
Mr. Buchen responded on behalf of Management, indicating Management's
proposal to increase PTD supplemental benefits would raise the benefit rate
by five years. This additional amount of supplemental benefits could be
paid by the WISBF. The remainder of the PTD benefit increases would be
considered when an agreement is reached on health cost containment. Mr.
Newby responded that the benefit levels for PTD have become totally
inadequate. The WCAC has discussed this issue for the last six years. It
is time to resolve this problem. Labor has shown good faith throughout the
health cost containment discussion.
The WCAC members discussed a subsidiary agreement. Management indicated
they would consider Labor's proposal. The WCAC members went into closed
caucus and upon return from caucus, Mr. Beiriger reported on behalf of
Management that their current proposal includes the items agreed upon at the
June 5, 2009 meeting. This includes increasing PTD supplemental benefit
rates by five years. However, Management is withdrawing its proposal on
payment of prosthetic devices for barred non-traumatic injuries. Management
would agree to a study committee on the issue of health cost containment.
Management agrees to the amendment that covers firefighters from the time of
being called to the location of the fire or emergency and return, except for
deviations for private or personal purposes. The WCAC needs to decide
whether it will continue to work on having an agreement on health cost
containment in time to submit a trailer bill or to try and address as many
issues as possible for inclusion in this agreed bill cycle. Labor was not
expecting Management's response on the prosthetic device issue for barred
traumatic injuries and would like to consider it further. In addition,
increasing supplemental benefits for PTD recipients by five years is not
enough of an increase.
New Business: None.
- Adjournment: Discussion on all agenda items concluded and the
meeting was adjourned at approximately 5:45 p.m.
Future meeting dates: November 12, 2009 at the Crowne Plaza
Next Meeting: not scheduled yet.