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The WSIA Weekly

Self-Insurers face continued attack at Legislature as bad bills advance
Today marked both the end of the fourth week of Washington's legislative session as well as an important deadline for policy bills to have emerged from their committee to remain alive in the process. Unfortunately, a trio of bad workers' comp bills emerged from committee, and partisan amendments did little to improve them:

-- SHB 2409 despite amendments continues to increase penalties on all employers, with a multiplier per occurrence penalty on self-insurers' delayed benefit payments, a new "insurance fair conduct" claims handling obligation on all employers and employer representatives, and licensing of all self-insured claims handlers, whether self-administered or third-party administered, in-state or out-of-state. The amended bill was voted out of the House Labor Committee yesterday and is in the House Rules Committee.

-- SSB 6440, likewise despite amendments continues to place significant limitations and onerous new regulations on the conduct of Independent Medical Examinations, while calling for a summer legislative task force to consider even more overhauls to the IME process. The amended bill was voted out of the Senate Labor Committee yesterday and is in the Senate Ways & Means Committee due to a large fiscal impact on the state. 

-- SSB 6552, which would have eliminated the three-day waiting period from date of injury on time loss claims was amended to instead reduce the retroactive period for picking up those three days from 14 days, like most jurisdictions, down to seven days. This "solution in search of a problem" will simply increase costs by resulting in more short-term time loss claims and less impact of the waiting period.

Other legislative cutoff news
While these adverse bills are moving through the process, two WSIA-backed bills did not receive committee votes: SB 6372, related to expanding structured settlements and SB 6373, related to self-insurance allowance orders. Both were pretty tame responses to recent third party recommendations for improvements to our system, but proved too controversial for the Committee. Likewise, bills regulating an employer's pre-hire screen for marijuana use (HB 2740) and mandatory pre-employment safety training for construction workers (HB 2564) stalled at the deadline.

For more bills, bill tracking, and legislative info click here (member login req'd) or e-mail Kris Tefft to join our legislative or legal committee e-mail lists. 

Spring Conference now open for registration
Since our last newsletter came out, we've opened registration for our Spring Conference, "Treatment 20202," taking place at the Embassy Suites in Bellevue all-day March 13th. We have a great agenda that will wrap up the 2020 legislative session and then include, as this conference traditionally covers, a host of topics related to the sound management of the medical side of workers' compensation. Click here for program details and registration.

Just a few slots left for annual legal year in review webinar set for March 3
We've almost given out all 100 logins for our popular annual legal year in review March 3 with Chris Bishop of Wallace, Klor, Mann, Capener & Bishop. This up-to-120 minute webinar is free for members. As the program is almost entirely full, click here and reserve your spot today -- but only if you plan to attend, please! 

Looking for L&I's current PPD schedule? We can help
It was brought to our attention that one casualty of L&I's new website launch was the current (2019) PPD schedule, which is apparently nowhere to be found on the public-facing website. Click here for a workaround to get to the PDF version of the schedule. Hat tip to our own Lloyd Brooks for tracking this down for numerous members who have inquired about it. 
(c) 2019 Washington Self-Insurers Association, 828 7th Avenue SE, Olympia, WA 98501 
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