Committee of the Whole Debates Workers’ Compensation

Springfield, IL... Yesterday, The Illinois House of Representatives participated in its second day of ‘continuous session.’  Afterward lawmakers assembled into their first Committee of the Whole regarding Workers’ Compensation reform. A Committee of the Whole is when the entire House acts as a single committee with all assembly members considered committee members. After lawmakers spent Thursday evening listening to testimonials from Illinois citizens and subject matter relevant to workers’ compensation, State Rep. Jerry Long was reached for comment.
“I am optimistic about our State’s possibility of finally reforming our broken workers’ compensation system. [House Republican]Leader Durkin has put forth an excellent piece of legislation in HB 4068. I support this legislation because it benefits not only employees, but employers as well. HB2525 was passed by the majority in late April. That legislation does nothing to make Illinois attractive for business.”
House Bill 4068 amends the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act in the following ways:
1)     If an impairment report exists, it must be considered when determining the level of permanent partial disability. Additional factors must now be reconsidered such as age and occupation of the injured employee, as well as their future earning capacity.
2)     Clarifies that an injury shall not meet the causation standard if it occurred while the employee was traveling away from the employer’s premises and the travel was not required for job duties.
3)     Clarifies that shoulder injuries are considered arm injuries and hip injuries are considered leg injuries.
4)     Makes targeted cuts and adjustments for certain areas of the medical fee schedule using Medicare reimbursement rates as a one-time baseline benchmark.
5)     Allows for the implementation of a closed drug formulary via rule to address fraudulent practices within physician dispensing and compound drugs.
6)     Increases the waiting period for temporary total disability benefits from three to five days.
7)     Freezes the maximum wage for permanent partial disability benefits for four years.
8)     Allows an injured employee to see an expedited hearing if he or she has not received authorization for medical care.
9)     Institutes reporting requirements for self-insured employers, including the number of cases, the premiums and the payouts.
10) Increases penalties for certain types of workers’ compensation fraud.
Constituents that wish to stay up to date on continuous session as well as view the activity of legislation within Illinois’ House of Representatives are urged to visit www.ilga.gov or contact Rep. Long’s office via email at long@ilhousegop.org or over the phone at (815)-510-9689.

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