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Major business lobby calling for health care fee schedule in worker’s comp

Physician calls to state legislators needed

Wisconsin Manufactures and Commerce (WMC) has launched a significant effort to impose a fee schedule on worker’s compensation-related health care services. Complete with its own website and missives sent to state legislators, WMC has dramatically increased its rhetoric on this issue.

The proposed fee schedule is part of the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council’s “agreed-to” bill for this session, with members of Labor and Management submitting suggested statutory and administrative code changes to the state legislature. “Agreed-to” bills have a long history of being noncontroversial and therefore gaining swift legislative approval. However, the proposal in the 2013-2014 legislative session included a fee schedule, faced vigorous opposition from the health care community and was not voted out of committee. This session’s proposal will require similar health care efforts to defeat the fee schedule proposal.

WMC’s commitment to implement a fee schedule comes just after many employers received an 8.46 percent reduction in their worker’s compensation insurance premiums, saving employers an estimated $170 million (see a press release from the Society and other health care liaison groups to the WCAC here). Rather than trumpet a worker’s compensation system that could attract businesses to Wisconsin, WMC has chosen instead to cite the difference between worker’s comp-related charges and those in group health insurance, which reflect negotiated rates between employers and health care providers.

Wisconsin health care’s performance, meanwhile, continues to lead the nation—injured employees return to work a full three weeks earlier than the national average, while health care costs per worker’s comp claim are lower than the national average. This information, along with other pertinent facts about Wisconsin’s worker’s comp system, was provided in another health care liaison message to the State Legislature earlier this year.

Calls to lawmakers needed now!
Physician calls are needed to the State Assembly and State Senate to explain why the proposed health care fee schedule could harm Wisconsin’s model worker’s compensation system. To find the contact numbers for your elected officials, type your voting address into the “Who Are My Legislators?” box on the state legislature’s website.

When reaching a Capitol office, let them know you are a physician in their district, serving patients who are also constituents and that you are opposed to an artificial fee schedule for a worker’s compensation system that provides the nation’s best care at a below-average worker’s compensation cost. If the legislator or staff asks any follow-up questions for which you are unsure of the answer, refer them to Mark Grapentine at the Wisconsin Medical Society for ample facts and data.

If you have any questions or would like more information, contact Mark Grapentine, JD, in the Society’s Government Relations Department. In addition, please contact Grapentine if you would be willing to lend your clinic or business entity’s name to future health care coalition messages to the state legislature and the Governor’s office.

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