The Illinois legislature recently passed HB1698 (2011 Illinois Workers Comp Reform). While we would have liked to have seen more out of this bill, it is definitely a step in the right direction.
- Reduction of the Medical Fee Schedule rates by 30%
- Tightening of guidelines for permanency ratings
- Reducing compensation in select areas (Carpal Tunnel, wage differential)
- Requiring arbitrators to use AMA guidelines when making rulings and requiring them to provide justification for their rulings.
- Allowing an employer to utilize a Preferred Provider Program (PPP) approved by the Department of Insurance to provide Workers Comp medical services and requires an employee to use providers that are part of the network unless they opt out in writing. (see attached from the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois website)
We believe these PPPs will give you much more control over claims and their costs. For now, the industry is waiting for the Illinois Department of Insurance to clarify exactly how these programs will work. We are watching very closely. As soon as there is more clarity we will provide guidance to you so you can take full advantage of the new tools HB1698 has made available to you. In the meantime, if you have questions, please feel free to call our claim specialist, Diane Mangan or your Risk Manager.