This week's top news from Washington's workers' comp + workplace safety leader
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The WSIA Weekly, 4.7.17

WSIA Safety Committee meets next Thursday
WSIA's Safety Committee holds its next regular monthly meeting next Thursday, April 13th from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. using the online GoToMeeting platform. Topics up for discussion will include an update from last week's VPP conference at Labor & Industries, changes in OSHA regulations and the repeal of the "Volks" rule, recent L&I fines and what it might mean for compliance, and fall conference planning. Click here to get your link to the online meeting. And if you're not the safety person at your organization, but think that person would be interested, please feel free to forward this -- all employees of WSIA members can participate in our programming. Contact committee chair John Shervey directly with any questions or topics to go over.   

Hotel block up today for Annual Conference today
Today's the deadline for getting your hotel reservations in for next month's Annual Conference in the Tri-Cities at the preferred WSIA room rate of $109/night plus taxes. Get the hotel information right here; and the overall conference information and registration details here. Look forward to seeing you in just over a month!   

Legislature passes SHB 1755, goes to Governor for signature
The one piece of legislation concerning workers' compensation that has advanced so far this session is Substitute House Bill 1755, a simple measure that provides ongoing notice to State Fund insured employers if there are settlement talks on third party lawsuits. The measure gives State Fund employers and their representatives some ability to at least know, and possibly participate, in third party settlements. It passed the Senate unanimously this week, having cleared the House last month. It goes to the Governor for signature.

L&I announces new contract with Harborview for chemical exposure claims
Earlier this week, the Department of Labor & Industries announced a new contract with Harborview Medical Center in Seattle to allow for the evaluation of both State Fund and Self-Insured workers with potential chemical exposure claims. The agreement with Harborview's Center for Chemically-Related Illness includes procedures for expedited evaluations, written illness reports, and on-site industrial hygienist evaluation with respect to toxic/heavy metal or solvent exposure, occupational asthma, pneumoconiosis, and occupational cancer. L&I is looking for feedback on the service from the SI community. Take a look at their announcement here.     

Court of Appeals issues good wage calculation clarification
Last week, the Court of Appeals in Tacoma issued a useful clarification for wage calculations, affirming in House v. Labor & Industries that unemployment insurance benefits are not included in the calculation of an injured worker's wages because the benefits are not received from an employer. Unfortunately, the Court of Appeals made the decision "unpublished," meaning it cannot be cited as precedent in future cases. We have encouraged the Department to request publication from the Court of Appeals, however, and the Department has indicated they intend to do so.

L&I announces tables changes for medical EDI
As the Department and self-insured community gear up for the initiation of medical bill data reporting this summer through the new Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the Department has issued this week a new technical bulletin highlighting some changes in the data reporting tables. If you did not see the original announcement, click here; you will want to make sure that the individual or firm responsible for ensuring your reporting compliance is aware of the latest technical specifications. 

WSIA Board meets next week, nominating committee to look at openings
WSIA's Board of Directors is holding its regular quarterly meeting next Tuesday at the WSIA office in Olympia. In anticipation of the annual business meeting next month at our Annual Conference, the board will be discussing its nominating committee for officer elections and to discuss any openings on the board at the end of our program year in June. We anticipate a limited number of positions coming open this year - if you have interest in volunteering on the WSIA Board, please contact me.   

WSIA members can attend upcoming ASSE conference at member rate
Our friends at the Puget Sound chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) would like to invite all WSIA members to consider attending their 2017 Professional Development Conference on May 5th at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. WSIA members are able to register at the ASSE price. If you're interested, take a look at the conference schedule and registration form at this link

Attend the National Council of Self-Insurers Conference at member rate 
Also, please be aware of the National Council of Self-Insurers' annual meeting, taking place this year in San Diego June 4-7 at the Wyndham Bayside Hotel. WSIA members can register for the conference at the NCSI member price, even if your company or organization is not a NCSI member. Just put WSIA along with your name on your registration. Click here for the conference details.
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