Wednesday, January 08, 2014

All About Claims Newsletter, Issue 37

The Colorado Division of Workers Compensation has issued a new newsletter, issue number 37. A newsletter is an informal way of providing insight as to what is happening at the Division. This latest newsletter contains an interview with Chief Administrative Law Judge Goldstein. It provides his history and experiences. In addition the newsletter gives us other news such as the addresses for prehearings and the Office of Administrative Courts. It also discusses some changes in the Division IME (DIME) law. I enjoy the newsletters and expect that many others do too. Reading about the people involved with workers compensation and getting insight on changes as they come along are both informative and enjoyable. I would love to see these newsletters issued with regularity.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Labor pushing for WC Reforms

It is being reported there is interest by labor in some workers comp reforms. Articles on this appear here and there. Over the years my experience with reforms has been to see a reduction in benefits disguised as reform. This has led to lower workers compensation premiums for employers. I've always wondered why employers can select the treating doctors.
My experience is that these selected doctors are not always loyal to their patient the claimant. I've seen cozy relationships with many of them with the insurance. I've seen lack of interest in the welfare of the claimant. Of course there have been other doctors who have been on the claimants side too. But by and large I've wondered why the claimant cannot pick his own doctor. In any event this is one area of interest by labor which may mean an effort to give the claimant more choice. In another area it's been my experience that most injured workers with a serious injury do not stay with their employer. Perhaps they do with a minor injury but anything significant almost always led to some form of job termination. I can understand where this can happen aside from the obvious cases where the employer wants to get rid of the injured worker. Often the claimant is left with restrictions and disability which cannot be accommodated. Others are truly totally disabled. But in some cases the employee wants to work but can no longer do his existing job. Receiving a modest benefit is not enough. Again in this area there is labor interest in reform. Lastly there is interest in changing the penalty portion of the law which permits a 50 per cent reduction in benefits for safety rule violations. I've often wondered how they can say workers comp is no fault and then introduce fault into it as a way to reduce worker benefits. While I am on the side of the injured worker I can see the other side has some points too. Businesses want healthy workers and smart ones too. Injuries or rule violations are an expense they want to minimize. Hopefully there is room to compromise here. For the present the news is that there appears to be an effort in 2014, by labor, to help the injured worker by reforming parts of existing law.