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The WSIA Weekly
3.13.20


WSIA Behind the Scenes: Newly minted production technicians Lloyd and Kari hard at work broadcasting today's Spring Conference entirely online from the WSIA offices in Olympia. We live in interesting times now; many thanks to our conference attendees for joining us online today for our first-ever virtual conference!

Legislative session ends with important legal changes for self-insurers; more to come

The 2020 session of the Washington State Legislature came to a close about 8:15 last night amidst a vote on a supplemental state operating budget and additional funding for coronavirus/COVID-19 response. Earlier in the session, a couple major changes in workers' compensation law passed the Legislature, which will require several new rulemaking projects in the coming months. Read our full wrap-up here.

Department adds some Q&A to new policy on COVID-19 quarantines, workers' comp
Last week, Governor Jay Inslee and L&I Director Joel Sacks announced a new policy that would allow workers' compensation coverage for health care workers and first responders who are quarantined by a physician or public health officer during this outbreak. In essence, the system will provide medical and time loss benefits for the workers while quarantined. The Department is also encouraging employers to keep quarantined workers on salary. This policy change so far has been communicated at the press release level, which you can read here. It has given rise to a lot of good questions about claims management under these circumstances for self-insurers, and we continue to work on getting clarifications. In the meantime, the Department has added some modest Q&A to its policy, which you can read here.  

Department announces emergency telehealth payment policy
Also as part of state response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department announced Tuesday that effective immediately, telehealth payment would be made from providers using home as an origination site as opposed to a medical origination site. The policy is effective but has not yet been published - it is expected to be published next week at this link. Additionally, the temporary policy will state that L&I will not provide the worker with or reimburse the worker for equipment. If a worker doesn’t have access to high-speed internet via computer or a camera phone with reliable connectivity, the provider must work with the worker to identify an alternative. Also, claim managers have been instructed not to automatically stop time loss benefits if the restrictions on an APF expire because the worker was unable to be seen in person due to COVID-19 precautions. The policy exceptions will be in effect through July 3, 2020. 

March Liaison Committee Report available
WSIA's Liaison Committee met with the Department's SI management team on March 5th. Please see the report of items discussed at that meeting here (member login req'd due to candid nature of meeting discussions). 
(c) 2019 Washington Self-Insurers Association, 828 7th Avenue SE, Olympia, WA 98501 info@wsiassn.org 
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