Weekly news and updates from Washington's workers' comp and workplace safety leader
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The WSIA Weekly, 7.15.16

Please note - WSIA's regular e-mail is down today for server maintenance. Our staff will be able to respond to messages on Monday.

Washington Supreme Court adds a day to injury statute of limitations

If you're evaluating an injury claim apparently filed right on or just after the one-year deadline, know that yesterday, the Washington Supreme Court appears to have given an extra day for late-blooming claimants. In a unanimous decision in Kovacs v. Dept. of Labor & Industries, the court tackled the simple question whether the one year statute of limitations for injury claims in RCW 51.28.050 starts on the day of injury or the next after. Although precedent suggests the day of injury starts the clock, and statutory language states an injury claim must be made "within one year after the day upon which the injury occurred," the court followed more general civil litigation principles and decided the clock starts on the day after the injury. You can read the full opinion here.

Important webinar Tuesday on the new Electronic Data Interchange for medical bills
On Tuesday, July 19th from 10:00 a.m. to noon, the Department of Labor & Industries is hosting an important webinar about the upcoming Medical Bill Reporting Electronic Data Interchange that is part of the new Self-Insurance Risk Analysis System (SIRAS) under development as part of audit reform. After the Department released the technical requirements for data submission, there has been a lot of questions raised. This webinar is jointly conducted with L&I and ISO, the third-party vendor developing the portal. The webinar is aimed at SI employers or the entity submitting data on their behalf to understand and interpret the technical requirements. You can register directly for the webinar at this link, and get more information on this flyer. If you can't make the webinar live, it will be recorded and made available after the fact on the Department's website.  

New numbers on progress of SI audit reform
The Department of Labor & Industries has shared the latest update newsletter on audit reform, tracking the progress of the Tier 1 pilot, which began in January of 2015. Of the 346 total employers under the pilot, 168 were audited in 2015, and 12 employers had no eligible claims. Of the remaining 166 in 2016, 67 audits have been initiated, and 29 employers have no claims, leaving 70 more employers left for Tier 1. The Department has committed to focus additional staff resources to complete the Tier 1 by the end of September of this year. Catch up on the latest stats and audit news here.

L&I SIRAS testing may result in contact with your injured workers
Earlier this week, the Department released notice that an outside firm called Anthro-Tech would be contacting a random sample of self-insured injured workers and inviting them to help test a component of the new SIRAS computer system called the "customer concern" system, which is a web-based portal where claims issues on the worker or health care provider side can be filed. We asked the Department to be sure to let employers and TPAs know this, in the event workers are contacted and don't understand why. Please contact us if you hear of any issues arising in connection with this testing.  

Department releases updated PPD schedule
Along with the maximum time loss rates, cost of living adjustments, and related benefit levels that rose on July 1st for the year, due to the year-over-year increase in the state's average monthly wage, the Department has released the updated schedule of benefits for the various forms of permanent partial disability (PPD) payments, including down payments, scheduled payments, and so on. The updated tables can be accessed here.  

Is your member profile up to date? 
The start of a new program and membership year for WSIA on July 1 marks a great opportunity to check in and make sure your member profile in our system is up to date, that you have your login credentials to easily register for events and access members-only content, and that your information in our online searchable membership directory is up to date. Click this link to login to your WSIA account, and if you need any help or have any questions about it, call or drop a line to Kari at the office and she can get you set up.
Copyright © 2016 Washington Self-Insurers Association, All rights reserved.

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