News from Washington's Workers' Comp & Workplace Safety Leader
View this email in your browser

The WSIA Weekly, 7.24.15

JLARC releases much-anticipated performance audit of claims management in Washington
Earlier this week, the Legislature's Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) released the preliminary draft of a long-awaited performance audit report on claims management in the State Fund (and, to a limited extent, self-insurance) in Washington. The performance audit was ordered as part of the landmark 2011 workers' comp reform legislation. While the auditors note that injured workers in the State Fund tend to be off work for twice the national average, and are much more likely to never return to work than workers elsewhere, the auditors' headline conclusion is "claims management by L&I is unbiased and decisions are generally timely. Outcomes could be improved if systems were more focused on prompt and safe return to work." With respect to self-insurance, the audit makes a specific recommendation that the Legislature allow self-insured employers to issue allowance orders, noting that the current process of L&I adjudication adds 30-45 days to the process for no justifiable reason. You can navigate through the preliminary draft at this link; a final draft, including the Department's responses to audit recommendations, is expected this September.

Department seeks stakeholders for firefighter hazardous exposure working group
This year, the Legislature passed House Bill 1604, directing Labor & Industries to convene a working group of stakeholders to discuss whether there should be additional reporting requirements for hazardous exposures suffered in the course of employment by firefighters. The Department is inviting stakeholders to the group, which is expected to meet eight times between August and November, 2015. If you are interested in being part of this working group, please contact me by e-mail for more information.

Labor & Industries releases ICD-10 conversion guidance
On Wednesday, the Department released a one-pager for self-insurers on the coming conversion from ICD-9 to ICD-10 for diagnosis coding in Washington workers' compensation. The change goes into effect October 1, 2015, and while the guidance states the Department "won't require self-insured employers to develop or change existing automated payment systems," nevertheless the Department will "require that self-insured employers process proper billings." You can download the guidance document at this link.

Court of Appeals: What a difference a day makes
Earlier this week, Division III of the state Court of Appeals in Spokane issued a decision in Kovacs v. Dept. of Labor & Industries, a case again calling upon the courts to interpret the 1-year statute of limitations for filing a workers' compensation claim in Washington. Here, the worker filed his claim on September 29, 2011 for an injury taking place on September 29, 2010. Thus the issue became whether the 1-year deadline includes the day of injury or starts the next day. The Department and Board took the former position, the Superior Court the latter; the Court of Appeals reversed the Superior Court, agreeing with the Department - but provoking a disagreement among the three-judge panel that resulted in three total opinions. You can read the action at this link.

WSIA member discount for National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference
We're happy to announce a WSIA member discount for this year's National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference taking place November 11-13 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. WSIA members registering through November 9 using promo code WSIA receive $100 off the registration amount. View the conference agenda here. WSIA members attending past conferences have had very positive reviews of the program.
Webinar - Treating Chronic Pain in Workers' Compensation:
An Inside-Out Approach

August 20, 2015, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Chronic pain is by far the most debilitating, and for claims payers the most costly, compensable condition in workers’ compensation. Dr. Michael Harris, Clinical Director and Psychologist for Pacific Rehabilitation Centers (formerly United Back Care) has worked in the field of chronic pain for a number of years. His presentation will provide practical guidance on some of the difficult questions around chronic pain management: What leads to diagnosis, and when does it become an issue in claim management? How does chronic pain factor into the return to work process? How does medication for chronic pain management impact return to work? What are the current best treatments, and what are treatments to avoid? What does CARF accreditation mean and why should I care about it?

Special emphasis will be placed on how to handle a diagnosis of chronic pain, and what it means for employers, employees, vocational rehabilitation consultants, doctors, lawyers, and claim managers.

Cost: 59.00 for WSIA members
Approved for 1.5 WWCP; CEU, CRC, CDMS pending.
Register Here!
Copyright © 2015 Washington Self-Insurers Association, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp