The Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) reportedly is close to proposing a Medicare-based fee schedule as part of its recommendations for potential changes to the state’s worker’s compensation (WC) statutes and administrative code. The Wisconsin Medical Society and other health care liaisons to the WCAC have vigorously opposed creation of a fee schedule for WC care.
The WCAC includes representatives from Labor and Management interest groups tasked with bargaining to an agreement on potential WC changes. Other liaisons include organizations representing hospitals, physical therapists and chiropractors in Wisconsin.
Over the past several months, the health care liaisons prepared a joint proposal on how to find potential cost savings in the WC system while not upsetting the tremendously positive outcomes injured employees currently enjoy due to WC health care access and performance. That proposal was delivered to the WCAC on November 5 and to Labor and Management representatives in separate follow-up briefings on November 7.
The health care proposal also was read into the record during the WCAC’s monthly meeting on November 12 in Madison. Both Labor and Management held closed caucuses for the next five-plus hours; however, the health care liaisons were not asked to provide any further information. The WCAC ended the meeting without reaching a “grand bargain” on a final proposal — a consensus needed to proceed on draft legislation that can be presented to the State Legislature for their consideration and further modification, although the legislature has generally avoided making substantial changes in previous sessions.
The WCAC is scheduled to meet again December 3 and could reach a final agreement at that time. If the WCAC proposes a fee schedule, the Society and other health care organizations will weigh their options on how to maintain a WC system that provides ready access and high quality care.
Contact Mark Grapentine, JD, in the Society’s Government Relations Department with any questions.
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