Coalition to Protect Worker’s Compensation
Statement Regarding Public Hearing on Worker’s Compensation Legislation
Madison (February 4, 2014) --- Health care providers testified at a Joint Labor Committee hearing today in opposition to AB 711 and SB 550. The legislation would dramatically change Wisconsin’s 100-year-old Worker’s Compensation program by legislating government price setting for medical services delivered to injured workers.
The bill would impose government controls on hospitals, physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists and other practitioners who provide care to injured workers covered by the Worker’s Compensation program. AB 711 and SB 550 require that reimbursement for care provided workers harmed on the job be set by bureaucrats in the state Department of Workforce Development.
Facts presented at the hearing overwhelmingly documented that the fee schedule proposal works against value-based health care and is a risky gamble for Wisconsin’s excellent Worker’s Compensation system.
“It’s gratifying to see that when legislators hear the pertinent facts and data about our successful worker’s compensation program, they get even more uncomfortable with the bill as it’s drafted,” said Rick Abrams, CEO, Wisconsin Medical Society. “We should be finding the specific areas where worker’s comp needs improvement – not taking a sledgehammer to the entire system.”
A growing coalition of health care providers from across Wisconsin is educating legislators on the strengths of Wisconsin’s current Worker’s Compensation system. Injured workers in Wisconsin get back to work three weeks faster and at a cost below the national average.
“Wisconsin’s current Worker’s Compensation system produces excellent health care outcomes at a cost that is more competitive than most of the country,” according to Steve Brenton, president, Wisconsin Hospital Association. “We can’t control how many workers are injured at their jobs in Wisconsin, but when they do arrive at our hospitals, and a lot of them do, we give them some of the best care in the country, get them back to their families sooner and back working faster than in most any other state.”
Responding to narrow data presented by the worker’s compensation insurance industry, the medical community presented a more complete and accurate picture of what is really happening in Wisconsin, proving that the cost of medical care provided to an injured worker is well below the national average, and the outcomes of that care are superior.
A recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute also showed that, among states studied, Wisconsin providers have some of the lowest utilization of services. This means Wisconsin providers are delivering efficient and effective health care at a lower cost than the national average.
“For more than 100 years, Wisconsin’s health care providers have provided excellent and efficient care to injured workers,” said Jeffrey M. Wilder, DC, FACO, President, Madison Chiropractic, representing the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association. “The truth is a government imposed fee schedule in the Worker’s Compensation program is a ‘solution’ looking for a problem. Wisconsin’s Worker’s Compensation program is an asset for this state that we should be promoting, not tearing down.”
Wisconsin’s health care providers are working diligently to get injured workers back on the job. The data clearly shows that health care providers in Wisconsin are holding up their end of the bargain in this program.
“We have been successful as providers in controlling costs for the Worker’s Compensation program, helping employers avoid the high costs of lost time from work, “said Brett Roberts, DPT, CEO, Roberts and Associates Physical Therapy, representing the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association. “Dismantling the current system could trigger unintended consequences in a program that now produces excellent results for injured workers.”
Contact: Mary Kay Grasmick, Wisconsin Hospital Association, 608-274-1820.
Document: Coalition to PROTECT Worker’s Compensation