This week's top news from Washington's workers' comp + workplace safety leader
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The WSIA Weekly, 2.24.17

Costly occupational disease presumption bills pick up steam in Legislature
On a week when most workers' compensation legislation remained on hold while the fiscal committees of the Legislature tackled spending bills, the two occupational disease expansion measures we are following continue to move. House Bill 1723, which targets the self-insured US Department of Energy Hanford nuclear, was amended to cover additional conditions and strengthen the legal presumption. House Bill 1655, meanwhile, which expands stress-related occupational disease coverage for law enforcement and firefighters was amended to remove the presumption of occupational disease for post-traumatic stress disorder. WSIA continues to work with legislators of both parties to educate on the policy concerns and major increased costs of these measures.  

Wage Calculation Workshop newly added to our events calendar
Earlier this week we opened registration for our updated workshop on calculating wages for time loss, pension, LEP, and PPD benefits. Instead of one day-long seminar, this year's workshop is broken up over five individual topics taking place each Thursday morning in April and early May from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Attendees can attend the workshop either at its in-person location at the Archbright offices in Kent, or online via live webcast. Furthermore, folks can sign up for the whole workshop for all ten hours of training, or can select individual topics for registration. It's all kind of a new way of getting this important and sometimes complicated training out -- for more information and registration, visit the wage calculation webpage here.  

Two Regional Meeting presentations set for April 4 in Olympia, Renton
Members in our south and central Puget Sound regions are invited to a free continuing ed/networking meeting either in Olympia or Renton on April 4th. Both feature a presentation by orthopedic surgeon Scott Kitchel, M.D., and attorney Lauren Oda, covering the medical and legal aspects of common work-related spinal injuries. The Olympia Regional Meeting is from 8 to 9:45 a.m. at the WSIA office, and the Renton Regional Meeting is from 11:00 am. to 12:30 p.m at Valley Medical Center. Free for any member, we just ask that you RSVP. Click here for the Olympia meeting and here for the Renton meeting. 

Department seeks comments on expanded Carpal Tunnel Guideline
Earlier this week, the Department of Labor & Industries announced it is seeking comments on changes to its treatment guideline on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which expands the section on work-relatedness as it pertains to computer use in the workplace. Despite "insufficient evidence to definitely establish a cumulative exposure . . . at which CTS will occur," the Department follows "the imperative to liberally construe worker benefits" to develop a threshold of 20 hours per week of computer use at which an increased risk of work-related CTS is indicated. The guidance can be read here; comments are requested by March 14th at the contact information available here; and the matter will be discussed at the April 27th Industrial Insurance Medical Advisory Committee meeting, which takes place from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at SeaTac airport. 

Want to learn more about the IIMAC? Attend Spring Conference March 17
Speaking of the Industrial Insurance Medical Advisory Committee (IIMAC) and its work on coverage decisions and treatment guidelines like the Carpal Tunnel Guideline, you can learn all about it and evidence-based medicine in general at our Spring Conference, March 17th at the Bellevue Embassy Suites. Click here for program info and to register
WSIA Liaison Committee to meet next week - got any issues?
WSIA's Liaison Committee holds its next bi-monthly meeting with the leadership of Labor & Industries' Self-Insurance Section next Thursday, March 2. The Committee is an excellent forum to bring to light any claims or personnel related issues you may be experiencing with the Department, for resolution or troubleshooting. If you have any issues you would like the Committee to take up with the Department, just drop me a line.

Labor & Industries touts newly developed smartphone app for safety
Although we've been promoting it for awhile now, Labor & Industries this week issued a press release directing the public's attention to WA HSEQ, a free smartphone app for all Washington employers to report safety-related observations, near miss and accidents on the work site and e-mail accompanying reports with enhanced pictures to management personnel. The app was developed by WSIA Safety Committee chair John Shervey with a grant from the L&I Safety & Health Improvement Program (SHIP). A YouTube video is available to explain the app, and it can be downloaded from the App Store for iPhone here or Google Play store for Android here. Questions can be directed to John by dropping him a line.

Slowly getting there on mandatory Medical EDI submission registrations
For several months now the Department has been reaching out to self-insured employers and Third Party Administrators to get folks enrolled in the new Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for medical bill data. Submission will be mandatory starting July 1 of this year. So far, registration is up to 75 percent of self-insurers, but 25 percent still need to register. If your self-insured program has not yet registered, or if you are a Third Party Administrator who has not yet registered your client companies, please take a look at the Department's latest Medical EDI registration info & links
Have you heard? MEDPlus is WSIA's preferred vendor for hearing claims services. Click here to learn more about your member discount.
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