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Worker’s Comp committee proposes health care fee schedule

The state’s Worker’s Compensation Advisory Committee (WCAC), whose voting members come from the state’s labor and business communities, has included creation of a health care fee schedule as one of the negotiated “agreed-to” items that will be submitted as state legislation later this fall.

The negotiated agreement was announced Aug. 23 at the WCAC meeting in Madison. The Society is one of four non-voting health care liaisons to the WCAC, all of which have objected to the inclusion of a fee schedule in the final negotiated proposal.

The state’s worker’s compensation system is a national model, enjoying rapid return-to-work for injured workers, less need for repeat treatment, very high patient satisfaction and a very low litigation rate. The high-quality health care injured workers receive is an essential element for Wisconsin’s successful system, which costs less per claim overall than the national average. (In anticipation of a fee schedule proposal from the WCAC, the liaisons have already provided to the state legislature this information sheet).

The fee schedule is the major anchor of the overall agreement, which also includes numerous items more in line with typical labor-management negotiations, such as payment rates due to injury. The package also includes a diverse set of opioid-related items, from dispensing limits to providing workers with information about pain treatment alternatives. Society members Michael McNett, MD, and Mary Jo Capodice, DO, inspired that part of the package through an information presentation to the WCAC in June.

The agreement will be drafted as legislation that will then be submitted to the relevant committees in the State Assembly and State Senate, therefore requiring legislative and Gubernatorial approval to become law. A fee schedule also was proposed in an “agreed-to” bill during the 2013-2014 legislative session. That proposal, which shares similarities with the current fee schedule proposal, was rejected by the legislature following vocal and coordinated outcry from the health care community. Similar efforts will be needed this session to prevent a fee schedule from becoming entrenched in another element of health care. The Society will alert members at the appropriate time for maximum effect.

Contact Mark Grapentine, JD, in the Society’s Government Relations department for more information.

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