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Business lobby turns up heat on Worker’s Comp fee schedule; physicians urged to contact legislators

The state’s most powerful business lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), continues to apply heavy pressure on the Wisconsin state legislature to create a health care fee schedule in the state’s worker’s compensation (WC) system. Yesterday WMC delivered “petitions” from nearly 400 employers around the state to every legislative office. The petition adds nothing new to the ongoing debate over the fee schedule, but rather highlights so-called “incredibly high worker’s compensation health care costs in Wisconsin,” terms health care payments a “hidden worker’s compensation tax” and culminates with calling said tax “outrageous.”

The Wisconsin Medical Society and other health care liaisons to the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC)—the panel of Labor and Management members that proposes changes to the state’s WC-related statutes and administrative code every legislative session—have pushed back against WMC’s misinformation campaign for months. Some of the key facts and data include:

  • Wisconsin businesses received a $170 million reduction in WC insurance premiums on October 1, 2017.
  • Wisconsin’s cost per claim in WC is on par with the national average.
  • Injured workers return to the job an average of three weeks sooner than the national average.
  • Patient satisfaction with the WC system—including access to care and quality of treatment—is among the highest in the nation.
  • Wisconsin has the second lowest rate of WC-related litigation in the country.

When one considers that the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality ranks Wisconsin best in the nation for health care quality, Wisconsin’s WC program is truly a bargain for Wisconsin’s employers.

It’s important that physicians remind state legislators about Wisconsin’s positive WC experience, especially as we near the final months of the current legislative biennium and given WMC’s rhetoric.

Please consider contacting your State Assembly Representative and State Senator (you can find contact info here) with information highlighted above or via this fact sheet. Phone calls to Capitol offices are best, and show more commitment to issues than form letter-style petitions. Even if you have already contacted your elected officials, it is worth following up—you can reference the WMC petitions as a reason for reaching out.

Contact Mark Grapentine, JD, in the Society’s Government Relations Department with any questions or feedback.

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