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Society testifies against Worker’s Comp fee schedule bill

The Wisconsin Medical Society joined a host of other health care entities yesterday in voicing strong opposition to Senate Bill 665, which is the “agreed-to bill” from the state’s Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC). The bill would establish for the first time in the worker’s compensation (WC) program’s 107-year history a fee schedule for WC-related health care services. The hearing was before the Senate Labor and Government Reform committee.

This is the second time in four years that the state legislature has held hearings on an “agreed-to” bill containing a fee schedule; health care’s opposition scuttled that bill in 2014. The Society’s testimony Wednesday highlighted that 2014 effort, pointing out how ready access to Wisconsin’s high-quality health care is a key element in our state program’s impressive performance and how a government-mandated fee schedule is a direct threat to that access. Similar testimony came from many state health care system physicians from around the state, who shared their experiences in treating injured workers and difficulties dealing with some WC payors.

The case for opposing a fee schedule was bolstered with a special study commissioned by the Society and the Wisconsin Hospital Association. From that study, a white paper was produced by the employment benefits services company Benefit Services Group and was published as an HC Trends product. The study detailed a thorough examination of the state’s worker’s compensation program and did an excellent job detailing how Wisconsin’s stable and successful program surpasses most other states’ systems.

The bill is now eligible for a committee vote, but it appears the committee is unlikely to take that action—much like in 2014, when that session’s bill died at the committee hearing level. A video of the six-hour hearing is available at the WisconsinEye website.

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

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