WSIA Weekly, 2.13.15
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Plot thickens as legislative action continues on the "Hill"
In a week where the big legislative news was the unveiling of a $15 billion bipartisan transportation package, financed by a 11.7 cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax, phased in over three years, there was still considerable action on bills of interest to WSIA. For the first time in possibly a generation, a bill creating a "three way" compensation system in Washington emerged from a policy committee for further consideration, a symbol of growing impatience with the glacial pace of incremental reform efforts at the Legislature. A number of much less ambitious proposals were also heard and voted out of committees, including WSIA's top legislative priority to bring accuracy, consistency, and fairness to the benefit calculation formula. To follow along with all the action, check out our weekly legislative update available by clicking here (member login required; e-mail us if you've forgotten).
WSIA announces webinar calendar for first half of 2015
As WSIA members were alerted by separate e-mail earlier today, WSIA has announced its online learning calendar for the first half of 2015, bringing forward seven different webinars, a mix of complimentary and low-cost professional development opportunities covering safety, claims, medical, legal, and legislative topics to help your programs succeed. Click here to take a look, and sign up for the topics that interest you!
Early registration now available for Spring Conference!
We'll be circulating the announcement and registration information for WSIA's 2015 Spring Conference next week, but WSIA Weekly readers get a jump on the information. This conference, to be held at Valley Medical Center in Renton on March 20, brings a medical management focus to workers' compensation, bringing an array of experts together to address medical issues that affect the workplace. Click here for the conference agenda and registration page. Sponsorship of WSIA conferences and events is an important way to support our continued activities in advocacy, professional development, and networking. Please take a look at the sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities available for the spring conference by clicking this link and consider showing your support for WSIA in this vital way.
Court of Appeals clarifies "lighting up" doctrine in favorable decision
Yesterday, Division III of the Washington Court of Appeals, covering cases from Eastern Washington, issued a published (and therefore precedent-making) decision in Zavala v. Twin City Foods. Click here to read the court's decision. In Zavala, the injured worker bumped (in the court's words) her knee on an object at work, resulting in a torn meniscus and a corrective surgery. However, at the time of injury, the worker's knee was already significantly arthritic, and on the basis of the "lighting up" doctrine and the testimony of many non-expert witnesses, the worker sought coverage for the end-stage arthritis and a total knee replacement. The court resisted, finding the self-insured employer not responsible for the alleged prior knee damage on the basis of competent medical testimony. This is the kind of favorable decision for employers likely to result in an appeal to the Washington Supreme Court, supported with funds and briefing by the claimants' bar. We'll be watching the case with great interest.