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Negotiations continue on worker’s comp

Despite a recent 8.46 percent reduction in rates the state charges businesses for their Worker’s Compensation (WC) insurance premiums (the largest reduction since 1995), some stakeholders are still calling for a WC fee schedule to help curb what one called “out of control” health care costs.

The Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) met Tuesday in Madison to negotiate potential changes to the state’s worker’s compensation statutes and administrative code. Representing Labor and Management, the WCAC bargains to an “agreed-to” bill proposal that is then presented to the Wisconsin State Legislature.

As mentioned in a previous Medigram article, Management has included some troubling proposals—including the fee schedule—that could upset Wisconsin’s status as a national leader in the availability of high quality health care for injured workers. The proposal would set the rate for worker’s compensation services at 150 percent of Medicare payments, as well as give businesses the power to direct where injured workers get treatment. It also would turn WC treatment guidelines into parameters, requiring prior authorization for any services needed outside of the listed guidelines.

Management’s comments at Tuesday’s meeting continued to strongly support the fee schedule idea but included no evidence to support concerns about rising costs.

To help educate the Advisory Council, the four health care liaisons to the WCAC provided this one-page memo describing not only the premium rate reduction but other facts and data trumpeting Wisconsin health care’s excellent outcomes, patient satisfaction and below-average costs-per-paid-claims. The liaisons provided copies of the memo to the State Legislature as well.

Tuesday’s meeting did not result in a final agreed-to product; the next meeting is scheduled for August 22. The two sides hope for an agreement by this fall, although previous negotiating sessions have lasted into the winter months. Contact Mark Grapentine, JD, for more information.

Back to July 20, 2017 Medigram