New Washington State Law Battles Immigration Related Fraud

A new Washington state law, protecting consumers from immigration-related fraud, went into effect, according to a report from the Attorney General’s Office.

 
 
The recently enacted Immigration Services Fraud Prevention Act, requested by the Attorney General’s Office, prohibits anyone from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in an immigration matter, unless that person is a licensed attorney or is otherwise authorized to provide legal services under federal immigration law. (WCxKit)
 
 
Designed to protect consumers from deceptive business practices, the new law prohibits non-lawyers and unauthorized individuals from engaging in several other activities.
 
• Selecting or assisting another in selecting an immigration-related government form;
• Advising another as to his or her answers on an immigration-related government form;
• Soliciting to prepare documents for another for submission in a judicial or administrative immigration proceeding;
• Charging a fee for referring another to a person licensed to practice law;
• Drafting or completing legal documents affecting the rights of another in an immigration matter;
• Referring oneself as an “immigration assistant,” “immigration consultant,” “immigration specialist,” or any other term in any language (including the Spanish term notario publico), that conveys or implies that the person possesses professional legal skills in the area of immigration law
 
 
While the law does not prohibit the provision of translation services, the law does prohibit non-lawyers and other unauthorized persons from advising customers as to their answers on immigration forms.
 
 
As the new law goes into effect, the Attorney General’s Office warns consumers to be careful who they trust when it comes to immigrant assistance.
 
 
In Washington and around the country, people advertising immigration services use the title notario publico on business cards and in their business dealings to deceive consumers into thinking that they have special legal training in immigration affairs,” said Attorney General Rob McKenna. “However, a notario publico is not a lawyer and is not authorized under state or federal law to provide you with legal assistance in your immigration case.”
 
 
In several Latin American countries, the term notario publico refers to an individual who has received extensive legal training over the course of several years.
 
 
In the United States, a “notary public” is an individual who has the authority to administer an oath or affirmation or witness the signing of papers. The title is relatively simple to obtain. (WCxKit)
 
 
Many people use this linguistic accident to deceive Spanish-speaking customers into thinking that they are experts in immigration law. Do not be deceived by a person described as a notario or notario publico. He or she is probably just a “notary public” with no legal skills whatsoever, according to McKenna.

 

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 

New 2012 Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com
 
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact

Washington State Workplace Injury Rates Continue Improving

Washington's job sites were safer in 2010, continuing a trend that began nearly a decade ago, according to survey results released recently by the Department of Labor & Industries.
 
 
The Occupational Injury and Illness Survey for Washington State noted that 5 out of every 100 full-time workers in Washington in both the private and public sector industries suffered a job-related injury or illness in 2010, down from the 5.3 rate in 2009. (WCxKit)
 
 
It is the lowest rate recorded since 2003, when the injury rate in Washington state was 6.9. That is when L&I began using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) which had been adopted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
 
 
For private industry alone, Washington's reported injury and illness rate remains higher than the national rate. For Washington, that rate was 4.8 per 100 full-time workers in 2010, while the national rate was 3.5.
 
 
Almost all major industry sectors in Washington reported improved numbers in 2010. In construction, for instance, the injury and illness rate dropped from 8.2 in 2009 to 7.2 in 2010. Nursing and Residential Care Facilities saw a decline of 11.4 injuries per 100 workers in 2009 to 9.4 injuries last year. (WCxKit)
 
 
Also declining in the latest survey was the rate of injuries serious enough that a worker had to miss work. In 2010, 2.5 of those 5 workers who were injured or became ill needed time off or modified work duties while they recovered. That rate is down from 2.6 in 2009.
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
 
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.com. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 

Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com
 
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Washington State Workers Compensation 101

Workers Compensation Laws change frequently. This is only a summary; a complete copy of the most up-to-date version can be found at:  www.WorkCompResearch.com an excellent service.  http://workcompresearch.com/  
Washington State is one of the four remaining monopolistic states (where the state government is the insurer rather than private insurance companies). In the November 2, 2010 election, there was a measure on the state ballot to privatize Washington’s workers compensation system, but it was rejected by the voters.
Compulsory Coverage
Employers with one or more employees must have workers compensation insurance for the employee(s). Sole providers, partners, corporate officers, and the manager of a limited liability company may elect to exclude themselves from the workers compensation insurance coverage requirements. Workers compensation coverage is not required for a newspaper carrier, a beautician or barber renting booth space, a child under age of 18 employed on the family farm, a domestic or gardener for a private home as long as only one person is employed, and a person working for a religious or charitable organization in exchange for sustenance. (WCxKit)
Obtaining Coverage
To obtain workers compensation coverage in Washington, the employer has two options which are:

1.      Participate in the state monopolistic workers compensation insurance program administered by the Washington State Fund in the Department of Labor & Industries.

2.     Meet standards set by Washington State to be a self-insured employer. (About 400 employers in Washington are self-insured, but they are the largest employers covering between one-fourth and one-third of the total workforce.)

Claim Reporting
The employee must submit to Department of Labor & Industries or the self-insured employer a claim application within one year of the injury or within two years of the doctor’s diagnosis of an occupational disease. The medical providers of employees covered through the State Fund are required to submit the Report of Industrial Injury or Occupational Disease. The medical providers to employees of employers who are self-insured are required to submit to the employer the Self Insurer Accident Report. If the employee is unable to return to work, the physician is required to submit the Activity Prescription Form.
Cost of Workers Compensation
Washington is the only state that allows the employers (who purchase workers compensation insurance from the State Fund) to deduct a part of the cost of workers compensation from the employees’ wages. The employer can deduct up to half of the cost of the premium portion that pays the medical benefits and the portion of the premium that pays the cost of living increases for the injured workers drawing life-time compensation benefits – known as pensions. Employers must pay the entire portion of the premium that is used to pay lost time compensation and pensions. Overall, employees pay approximately 27 percent of the total work comp premium to the state.
Self-insured employers can deduct from the employees wages: 1) one-half of the Supplemental Pension Fund assessment; 2) one-half of the Asbestos Fund assessment; 3) the self-insurance Overpayment Reimbursement Assessment.
Medical Benefits
The employee selects the medical provider of their choice. If the employee is not satisfied with the medical care provided, the employee can change doctors at will. If the employee is not satisfied with the medical recommendations of the selected medical provider, a second opinion can be obtained if approved by the  claims administrator.
All reasonable and necessary medical care is covered by workers compensation. There are no time limitations or monetary limitations on the medical benefits. All billing of medical services by medical providers must be in compliance with the fee schedules published each year by the State Fund.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
When an employee in Washington State is certified by the medical provider as unable to return to work, the State Fund or the self-insured employer will pay TTD. The compensation rate varies from 60% to 75% of the gross wages, depending on the employees martial status (or registered domestic partnership) and how many dependents the employee has (60% for the employee, 5% additional for a spouse, and 2% additional for each additional dependent, up to 5 additional dependents).
The maximum amount of TTD benefits that can be paid is 120 percent of the state average monthly wage. The minimum amount of loss time compensation benefits that can be paid is 15 percent of the state average monthly wage. The maximum amount had been recalculated each year, with the new rate going into effect on July 1st. On June 5, 2011 a one-year freeze on time loss benefits was signed into law. The TTD benefit maximum for July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, will be the same as the previous year. The monthly dollar maximum TTD benefit for July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, is $4,715 and the monthly minimum TTD benefit is $185.
The first 3 days of disability (the waiting period) are not paid to the injured employee unless the employee is disabled for more than 14 days. TTD benefits can be paid for as long as the medical provider keeps the employee off work.
The Stay-at-Work Program instituted by the Labor & Industries office effective June 15, 2011 is taking a very proactive approach to providing modified duty to injured employees. In the new program the Labor and Industries office will reimburse employers for half of the worker’s wages while the employee is on working on modified duty. The Stay-at-Work Program is designed to speed workers’ recovery, prevent long-term disability, and reduce cost for both the State of Washington and for the employer.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
Washington State employees are paid permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits for any permanent disability suffered as the result of an on-the-job injury. Washington State uses a schedule of injuries for limbs, vision and hearing. The total loss of a body part is worth a set dollar amount stated in the schedule. A partial loss is paid as a percentage of the set dollar amount.
For non-scheduled injuries, the maximum period of payments is not specified. The maximum dollar amount for permanent partial disability is currently (February, 2011) $149,116 but subject to change each July 1st. Payments are based on a percentage of disability.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
The amount of indemnity compensation for PTD is calculated the same as for TTD. PTD is paid for the balance of the employee’s life, but the State Fund or the self-insured employer is allowed an offset for the amount of Social Security benefits the employee receives. PTD benefits are referred to as pension. The injured employees drawing a pension also get an annual cost of living increase. There is no provision in the state workers comp law for a settlement of PTD claims. Therefore, the Washington State Fund has a funding problem now with half of all workers comp payments going to people drawing lifetime pensions.
In an effort to reduce the amount of money being paid for PTD, effective June 15, 2011, workers who are age 55 or older have the option to negotiate a settlement agreement with periodic payments rather than staying in the work comp system or being retrained for another job. The workers who opt for the settlement agreement will continue to be eligible for medical care.
Death Benefits
The burial expenses in Washington State are covered for a work-related death up to $7,709.32. The death benefits for a dependent spouse are 60% of the average monthly wage plus 2% for each dependent child up to 5 children. The maximum and minimum amounts follow the TTD guidelines. There is no lifetime maximum amount or dollar maximum for death benefits.   If the spouse remarries, the spouse receives 24 months of death benefits or the lifetime annuity value, if less. Children receive benefits until age 18 or until age 23 if a full-time student. Disabled children can receive death benefits beyond the age of 18.
Vocational Benefits
Washington workers compensation law also includes discretionary vocational benefits (the State Fund or the self-insured employer determines whether or not they will offer vocational benefits). Vocational rehabilitation is in the best interest of the employer and the employee as placement in a new job reduces or eliminates the amount of PPD that will be paid, and stops the employee from making a claim for a lifetime pension (PTD). (WCxKit)
If the injured employee is unable to return to their prior job due to disabilities from the on-the-job injury, and the employee does not have the skills for a different job, a vocational counselor can be assigned to work with the employee. If the employee declines the vocational counseling, medical and indemnity benefits can be terminated. The vocational counselor will develop a training plan that is reviewed and approved by the Department of Labor & Industries. The vocational plan includes a job goal based on the employee’s skills, interest and medically documented limitations. It can include schooling or on-the-job training for up two years.
Workers Compensation Laws change frequently. This is only a summary; a complete copy of the most up-to-date version can be found at: www.WorkCompResearch.com an excellent service.  http://workcompresearch.com/  
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

Hospital Operated on Boy’s Wrong Eye

A Washington state couple claims an Oregon doctor recently operated on the wrong eye of their 4-year-old son.
 
 
According to an Associated Press report, Dale Matlock and Tasha Gaul told a local television station recently that the surgery was supposed to prevent Jesse Matlock's right eye from wandering, but that Dr. Shawn Goodman operated on the left eye. (open-ended)
 
 
The boy's mother told the Portland TV station that since the operation, she has not seen any improvement in the child's right eye and now the left eye appears to be wandering.
 
 
Goodman, a Lake Oswego surgeon, is not an employee at the hospital that held the operation, but the facility reports it will be interviewing its staff regarding the procedure.
 
 
The parents indicated they are thinking about a malpractice lawsuit.
 
Note: While we in the public often complain about too much wasteful litigation, do you think in cases like these poor practices would be corrected if it weren't for litigation and large settlements????
 
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

Manage Your Workers Compensation Program:
Reduce Your Costs 20-50%

http://corner.advisen.com/partners_wctoolkit_book.html

 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

Washington State Bill for Medical Provider Network

Washington State Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a bill that orders the states Department of Labor and Industries to form a statewide medical provider network for injured workers.
 
 
The new law will reportedly trim $218 million in spending over four years from Washingtons monopoly workers compensation system by forming a network of doctors who meet a number of standards and apply best practices. (WCxKit)
 
 
Additionally, the law allows injured workers to choose their doctor within the network and calls for formulating an electronic system to track “evidence-based quality measures and outcomes,” according to a statement.
 
 
We know we need to help more workers return to good health and back on the job after an injury, as well as reduce costs for our taxpayers and businesses,” Gov. Gregoire remarked in the statement.
 
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
 
 
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Washington State Legislator Proposes Workplace Bullying Legislation

Workplace bullying would be deemed an unfair practice in Washington under legislation introduced by state Sen. Nick Harper of Everett.
 
 
The Olympian reports the state Civil Rights Commission would look into complaints of an abusive work environment. (WCxKit)
 
 
Employees who have been harmed psychologically, physically or economically would have legal recourse to turn to if the legislation passes.
 
 
Abusive conduct is looked upon as behavior that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive and unrelated to legitimate business interests. (WCxKit)
 
 
A companion bill has also been unveiled in the House by Rep. Mark Liias of Mukilteo.


Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information.  Contact:  Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
WC GROUP:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/
SUBSCRIBE: 
Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

WASHINGTON State Workplace Deaths Climb in 2010

 
Workplace deaths in Washington state climbed in 2010, with 86 men and women killed due to job-related trauma, according to a report unveiled on work-related fatalities by the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). The deaths are the most reported since 2006 and a steep climb from 65 fatalities reported in 2009.
 
 
Last year was a difficult one for worker safety, and this report demonstrates that,” L&I director Judy Schurke said. “Behind these numbers are grieving families and traumatized co-workers. It is only with the continuing cooperation of labor, business and safety and health professionals that we can hope to prevent future deaths like these from happening.” (WCxKit)
 
 
The Washington FACE 2010 Work-Related Fatalities Report is based on preliminary data regarding workplace deaths in 2010. It was compiled by the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program, managed by L&I’s Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) program. FACE is part of a national program designed to identify and study fatal occupational injuries.
 
 
These tragic statistics demonstrate that workplace deaths occur with alarming frequency,” said SHARP Research Director Barbara Silverstein. “Our hope is that this report will encourage a broad discussion of safety and health in every work site in our state.”
 
 
Among the report’s findings, deaths involving farm workers, loggers and workers in the fishing industry accounted for 20 of the fatalities in 2010. Seven farm workers died in tractor roll-over accidents, which prompted L&I to issue a hazard alert to the agriculture industry last month.
 
 
With seven men and women killed in a single incident at the Tesoro refinery explosion in Anacortes, Skagit County ranked just behind King County last year for having the most workplace deaths. (WCxKit)
 
 
Despite the overall increase in workplace deaths, fatalities in the construction industry remained low with seven deaths reported in 2010.


Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information.  Contact:  Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
WC GROUP:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/
SUBSCRIBE: 
Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Heart Claims Require Direct Link Between Unusual Exertion and Heart Attack

Washington State’s Labor & Industry Department issued a statement involving the death of a police officer and related pension claim. The officer died from a heart attack while on post at the scene of a shooting. 

“We’re very sorry
about the officer’s death, (and) we understand that this is a great loss to his family and to the entire community.

“Because of the
recent deaths of several police officers in the line of duty, L&I gave the pension claim by the officer’s family an exceptionally thorough review. This included a review of the results and related laws by the Attorney General’s Office. (WCxKitz)

“The result
of our review was that the officer’s death does not qualify for pension benefits through the workers compensation program. Without written permission of the man’s family, the law prohibits us from releasing further details.

“What we can say
is that the state workers comp program is allowed to pay death benefits to survivors if the death of their loved one is related to an industrial injury or occupational disease. In most cases, work-related deaths are clearly recognizable as such. In some instances, it is less clear that a death was work related. (WCxKitz)

“The law requires
that payments of pension benefits for deaths involving a heart problem must show a direct link between the heart attack and some unusual physical or emotional exertion not normally expected as part of the person's job.

“We understand
that the denial of such a claim can be traumatic and frustrating for the survivors and there are remedies in place to appeal such decisions.” 


Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact:  Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

 
FREE TOOLS
WC IQ TEST:  http://www.workerscompkit.com/intro/
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SUBSCRIBE: Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

39 Willful Violation Citations Appealed by Refinery

Tesoro filed its appeal recently of the record $2.39 million citation the Washington Department of Labor & Industries issued against the company in the wake of the fatal refinery explosion that killed seven workers.

In October, L&I cited Tesoro for 39 “willful” violations and five “serious” violations of state workplace safety and health regulations in connection with the deadly April 2, 2010 explosion at the company’s Anacortes refinery. The accompanying $2.39 million fine is the largest ever issued by L&I.(WCxKit)

A willful violation is a category of violation where an employer knowingly violates a rule or is plainly indifferent to it, while a serious violation is one where there is a substantial probability of serious injury or death.

A six-month investigation by L&I determined that the explosion was preventable. A heat exchanger at the petroleum refinery blew apart along cracks in welded areas. Tesoro was required by state law and industry standards to test the equipment for cracks, but L&I inspectors determined the company had failed to do this correctly.

Under state law, employers don’t have to correct hazards identified in a citation during the appeals process.

“I don’t think anyone is surprised that they would appeal,” said Michael Silverstein, assistant director, Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “We look forward to hearing how the company intends to address the violations we found.”

Businesses have a right to appeal a citation issued by L&I. The first step is often an informal “re-assumption” conference where L&I representatives meet with the employer to hear their concerns regarding the citation. (WCxKit)

If an employer
remains dissatisfied with the results of this process, they can appeal the decision further to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, a separate state agency independent of L&I. Its three-board members are appointed by the Governor’s Office and include a business representative, a labor representative and a public member.

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact:  Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
WC GROUP:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/
SUBSCRIBE: Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Washington Delays 2011 Workers Comp Premium Adjustments

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries has put on hold the unveiling 2011 workers compensation premium adjustments until November, following an election that includes a proposal that would drastically change the program.

According to the Spokesman-Review, Director Judy Schurke informed legislators recently the department has not run the numbers, normally put out in September because, if Initiative 1082 passes, they would have to be removed. Releasing any numbers, she commented, might “confuse” business owners. (WCxKit)

According to business interests they are prisoners of one of the last remaining state workers comp monopolies, and one moving down the road of insolvency at that.

Businesses accuse L&I of “hiding the ball” in not unveiling large premium increases that would work to the benefit of I-1082 supporters. They also chastise the department for permitting prolonged, expensive worker absences that grossly top the norm in other parts of the country.

The most damaging claim made is centered on a December 2009 independent audit of the program’s accident fund, which pays no medical costs such as lost wages and pensions. The auditors claimed insolvency was a 74.4% possibility within two years, and a 90% possibility within five years.

Business interests claim the alternative to the problems is I-1082, which would permit employers to purchase coverage from private insurers, not only the state. And the way rates are to be calculated would change.

The non-partisan public policy think tank, Washington Policy Center (WPC), recently released a report explaining how passage of the business community-backed Initiative 1082 will be a boon to business owners and workers in Washington State.

The study, Citizens Guide to Initiative 1082: To Reform Workers Compensation in Washington, concludes that terminating the state monopoly on workers comp and allowing competition from private insurers will “help keep premium increases in check, encourage innovation in rehabilitating injured workers, and most importantly, provide safer workplaces.” (WCxKit)

According to the Washington State Labor Council, business exaggerates the damage from a pair of extraordinarily bad years.

Workers comp premiums went up only 8% during the 2004-2009 periods, and fell in eight of the last 15 years.

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.
C
ontact:  RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

FREE TOOLS
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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