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Weekly news and updates from Washington's workers' comp and workplace safety leader
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The WSIA Weekly, 11.18.16

Top News:

Winter West and East Conferences Opened Up

Yesterday, members should have received a notice that we've now opened registration for the Winter West and East conference series, Claims Management 360° -- Proven Methods from All Angles. We want to thank our conference sponsor for both West and East, Archbright. We're trying something a little different with the program this year - rather than a collection of thematic topics, we're building case studies and panel discussions around all the major issues to resolve in the duration of a complex claim. West is on January 12th in Gig Harbor and East is on January 26th in Spokane. Take a look at the program and registration pages here: West | East.

Lawyers (and others!): BIIA rule comments due Monday
As I noted last week, the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals is in a formal rulemaking period on a series of practice and procedure updates. A link to the proposed rule language is here. The deadline for written comments to be considered by the board is next Monday, November 21. The official proposal continues to include a number of provisions we have found problematic in prior drafts, including a ban on video depositions. Please submit any comments on the proposals that you would like to have part of a WSIA comment letter to Kris Tefft by next Monday morning We'll be submitting a comment letter later in the day. 

New on the blog: Sparks fly at Senate workers' comp session
On Tuesday, the Commerce & Labor Committee of the Washington State Senate, chaired by Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, held a public work session examining cost drivers and reform topics in workers' compensation. The too-often sedate topic was lit up pretty quickly as sparks flew through a number of testy exchanges between committee members and a claimants' bar representative. All told, the employer and self-insured community was able to educate lawmakers on our priorities for 2017 and ways we think the state system can be improved for workers and employers alike. We recounted some of it on our blog this week, along with a link to some clips and a link to a recording of the whole work session. Take a look here.

L&I needs your help to keep the SIRAS/EDI project moving
The Department of Labor & Industries' Self-Insurance section now has the medical bill electronic data interchange (EDI) feature of the upcoming SIRAS (Self Insurance Risk Analysis System) in place and ready to begin testing. However, employer and vendor sign-ups for the system have been lagging. Reporting medical bill data to the EDI will become a regulatory requirement as soon as next year, so now is a great time to sign up and test out the system. Take a look at the Department's request for help here, and note the internal links in the document to further resources.

Learn the latest on the Tier 1 audit reform pilot
The Tier 1 pilot of the new audit reform model is nearing a conclusion. As of the end of October, all remaining employers for Tier 1 had their audit initiated. Of the 59 employers left to complete, the Department estimates having work wrapped up by the end of November. The structure of Tier 2 audits, meanwhile, is under development with the Audit Reform Oversight Committee, in which we are represented by Lisa Vivian of Eberle Vivian, Therese Baxter of the Seahawks and Mariners, and Terri Nienkark of Childrens' Hospital. Take a look at the latest statistics from the Department here.

This year's national workers' comp benchmark study released
The annual Workers' Compensation Benchmarking Study report, sponsored by Rising Medical Solutions, is now out for 2016. For the first time, study identifies which claims best practices are generating better outcomes and clearly differentiating high performing claims organizations from industry peers. Results from this nationwide survey of 492 claims leaders substantiate various methods that drive claims success. Building on the cumulative intelligence and research with nearly 1,200 claims leaders, the 2016 study provides a data-backed profile of the higher performing claims organization. Take a look at the report here.
  
Fall protection rulemaking meeting set for December 13th in Tukwila 
The Department of Labor & Industries has been meeting with stakeholders all year on the issue of updates to the state's fall protection safety standards, following concern from federal OSHA that the existing standards are below federal requirements. The latest stakeholder meeting is set for December 13th at 9:00 a.m. at L&I's Tukwila office. For more information, check the rule web page here.
 

WSIA News & Events:

Don't forget next Tuesday's Fireside Chat with Dr. Franklin
What better way to get into the Thanksgiving mindset than with a web broadcast from Dr. Gary Franklin, delivering all the latest updates in countrywide and Washington health policy. These occasional "Fireside Chat" series are meant to be in lieu of a winter self-insurance colloquium for now. Dr. Franklin will be broadcasting the presentation live from the WSIA office in Olympia, Tuesday November 22nd at 9:00 a.m., so local or nearby participants are welcome to come over to our training room and be a live audience for him. Register here or contact Patrick Koenig for more details. 

New on the blog this week: Kids' Chance fundraiser may hit $70K
We noted last week the tremendous response to our fundraiser benefit at Safeco Field for Kids' Chance, which took place on November 10th. We described the event in a bit more detail on the blog this week, including announcing that with donations still coming in, our fundraising total for this important charity appears poised to hit or exceed $70,000. Take a look at the article here. Incredible job, WSIA members and friends! 

No WSIA Weekly next week
Please enjoy a safe, healthy, and blessed Thanksgiving holiday next week. We'll be back the following Friday, December 2. 

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