Department approves WSIA's WWCP Curriculum
In a major piece of good news this week, we received word that the Department of Labor & Industries has issued formal approval of WSIA's newly developed Washington Workers' Compensation Professional (WWCP) 72-hour curriculum. As such, the 12 courses that make up the WWCP constitute a training program that meets the requirements of WAC 296-15-360 for purposes of becoming a state-certified claims administrator. We also have been able to confirm that the approval is retroactive to when we launched the curriculum last October for individuals who have been taking the courses in sequence. For more questions on this and the WWCP in general, contact our Training & Member Services pro, Lloyd Brooks. The remainder of WWCP courses for this program year are:
Bad bills still alive as legislators take to House and Senate floor
Today marked both the end of the fifth week of Washington's legislative session, in which bills with fiscal impact had to clear their committees and during which legislators took to the floor of the House and Senate to vote on bills in advance of the February 19th deadline for non-budget legislation to pass its house of origin to stay alive. Here's a quick summary on the major bills we're following:
-- SHB 2409 despite amendments continues to increase penalties on all employers, with a multiplier per occurrence penalty on self-insurers' delayed benefit payments, a new "insurance fair conduct" claims handling obligation on all employers and employer representatives, and licensing of all self-insured claims handlers, whether self-administered or third-party administered, in-state or out-of-state. The amended bill is in the House Rules Committee, but could be pulled to the floor for a vote any time. WSIA is part of a broad coalition of employer groups opposing the bill. Take a look at our talking points here, and if you are in a position to do so, don't hesitate to e-mail your legislator and let them know to reject this aggressively anti-employer bill.
-- SSB 6440 started out as a catastrophic set of restrictions and regulations on the IME process at the behest of the trial lawyers' association. An agreed-to floor amendment has left some vestiges of the original bill intact but has referred its most problematic provisions to an interim working group involving legislators, the Department, and employer, labor, and panel/provider representatives. This amendment is expected to pass and the bill will likely become law this year in that form.
-- SSB 6552, which would have eliminated the three-day waiting period from date of injury on time loss claims was amended to instead reduce the retroactive period for picking up those three days from 14 days, like most jurisdictions, down to seven days. This "solution in search of a problem" is in the Senate Rules Committee and might be pulled to the floor for a vote by the 02/19 deadline.
For more bills, bill tracking, and legislative info click here (member login req'd) or e-mail Kris Tefft to join our legislative or legal committee e-mail lists.