Workers' Compensation Committee Update

February 26, 2010

"Managed Adjudication Path" Update

Robert Beloten, Chairman of the Workers' Compensation Board, issued the following statement yesterday:

At a hearing before the State Senate yesterday, numerous stakeholders in the workers' compensation system expressed concerns about the Board's plan to reform and streamline its conciliation process. I continue to believe strongly that the proposed changes will result in lower costs, and maintain full protections for the parties' due process rights.  Nonetheless, given the scope of concern expressed by many stakeholders and by the Legislature, I think it is appropriate to delay the initiative so that there is time for more discussion and feedback. In the next several weeks, the Board will set up a forum in which the details of the Board's process changes can be set forth before interested parties in full detail, and where there can be a full and frank discussion about the conciliation process. After the briefing, I will consider all suggestions and proposals by stakeholders before a reform program is implemented.

The Business Council testified at this hearing along with many others. In a follow-up conversation today with the Senate Labor Committee, staff indicated that the chairman's statement was "the best possible outcome from the hearing." While the hearing was video streamed, it did not make for compelling watching. A "cliff notes" recap appears in today's WorkComp Central, for those who subscribe.

As the Board schedules its briefings, we will ensure that the session details are widely disseminated.