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Worker’s comp ‘agreed-to’ bill signed into law

Taking a legislative path that was as non-controversial this session as last session’s effort was rancorous, worker’s compensation (WC) legislation was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Scott Walker as 2015 Act 180. Assembly Bill (AB) 724 is the product of the “agreed-to bill” process of the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC), made up of voting representatives from the state’s Labor and Management communities and non-voting liaisons from health care and insurance. The Society is one of the four health care liaisons to the WCAC.

The new law makes numerous changes to the state’s WC system, including:

  • Changing the statute of limitations on injuries from 12 years to six years. Management originally had asked for a three-year limitation.
  • Creating a panel of health care clinicians to review and potentially revise permanent partial disability ratings.
  • Setting reimbursement rates and dispensing fees for medicine dispensed outside of a licensed pharmacy to the current pharmacy fee schedule for worker’s compensation.
  • Fixing medical record copy fees at $26 per request for electronic formatted records. Final medical reports are capped at $100.

This biennium’s WCAC effort avoided the controversy of the 2013-2014 bill, which included a provision that would have created an artificial fee schedule for worker’s compensation-related health care services. The Wisconsin Medical Society and other health care liaisons led opposition to that provision throughout the Labor-Management negotiations, and the bill failed to pass either house of the legislature. AB 724 avoided going down that harmful path, which no doubt helped the bill enjoy unanimous votes in both the State Assembly (97-0 on Feb. 9) and State Senate (32-0 on Feb. 16).

Contact Mark Grapentine, JD, in the Society’s Government and Legal Affairs Department with any questions.

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