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News from Washington's Workers' Comp & Workplace Safety Association
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WSIA Weekly, 1.09.15

Click here for past editions of the WSIA Weekly (member login required)
     
After a brief holiday hiatus, the WSIA Weekly is back, wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous start to 2015. Here are this week's top items:

2015 legislative session begins on Monday - WSIA's preview is out
The Washington State Legislature reconvenes on Monday, with education funding, taxes, budgeting, the environment, and the economy on its mind. Where does workers' compensation and workplace safety policy fit in? What are the various stakeholders proposing this year? Take a look at our 2015 Legislative Preview posted on the WSIA blog.

Washington Supreme Court accepts review in firefighter occupational disease case
The Washington Supreme Court reported this morning that it has accepted review in an appeal brought by the City of Tacoma of an adverse Court of Appeals decision construing the presumption of occupational disease for firefighters contracting respiratory/infectious diseases. WSIA submitted a friend of the court brief urging the court to take the city's appeal, and we've blogged some background about the case previously. This is a welcome development, as the Court of Appeals decision egregiously opened up the infectious disease presumption to any respiratory distress, or any infectious disease, contrary to the plain language of the statute and intent of the Legislature in providing these presumptions to public safety personnel. Oral argument will bet set for this spring, with a decision expected later this year or early next year.  

WSIA's first regional meeting of 2015 is coming soon -- RSVP today
We're pleased to bring the membership our first complimentary regional meeting of 2015, featuring a presentation and update on coming changes to the labor market survey (LMS) methodology in vocational rehabilitation claims handling, as well as a presentation on L&I's audit reform project and its recently adopted rules on penalties for delay/denial of benefits. Subject matter experts Jan Donley and Cloie Johnson will present on the LMS, and Audit Reform Working Group member Lisa Vivian will present on the rest. The meeting is on Tuesday, January 27th from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Group Health's Tukwila location. More information, including RSVP instructions is available on our website here.

Major meetings this week and next
Yesterday, WSIA's liaison committee met with Labor & Industries' self-insurance program management and other key program employees. The notes from yesterday's meeting are available here. Then, WSIA's executive committee held its quarterly meeting with L&I Director Joel Sacks and his executive management team. A major aim of the meeting was to build a bridge with L&I's executive leadership to take up in earnest the issue of benefit accuracy and consistency as it relates to the wage calculation, as well as improvements to adjudicative authority for self-insurers. We marked these as major working group items for us over the course of 2015. Finally, WSIA's Board of Directors meets next Thursday, January 2015, in Olympia, to review and set policy for the association. These boards and committees represent you, the members, and if you have any items or issues you would like brought to their attention, contact Kris Tefft anytime.  

Registration continues for the Winter West conference January 23 in Gig Harbor
We continue to accept registrations for the Winter West conference, "New Strategies for Self-Insurance Success," coming January 23rd at the Inn at Gig Harbor. More information and links to the agenda and registration are available here. We are also seeking members' support of the association through sponsorship of the conference, information about which is available here.

New: Complex Claims is coming February 5-6 in Renton
Our Industrial Insurance University is featuring its first professional development opportunity of 2015, with our two-day Complex Claims Management Training. This training, taught by expert presenters from claims handling and the legal profession, follows up in more detail on issues evoked in the IIU's Intro to Claims training. Information and registration is available here.

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