An ad hoc committee of the Workers' Compensation Advisory Council studying medical care costs will meet Wednesday, April 3, at 2 p.m. to hear comments from council members concerned about rising medical care costs in workers' compensation cases.
Lawrence Mills, committee chairman, said the group has met 16 times and wants to have a preliminary report to the council for the April meeting and a final report for the May meeting.In studying rising medical care costs, Mills said it is a complicated issue with just about everyone blaming everyone else for the problem. He said injured workers, employers, insurance carriers and medical providers all have a stake in keeping costs down.
Some of the problems caused in workers' compensation cases are a lack of communication, meaning people need to be educated about the workers' compensation law, Mills said. In trying to come up with recommendations on ways to keep medical costs in check in workers' compensation cases, each group of people involved in the process might need incentives.
At the last council meeting, Mills proposed some changes in State Industrial Commission rules regarding filing of doctor's reports following initial examination of an injured worker. Mills asked council members to study the changes so a vote can be taken in the April meeting.
The proposed rule requires that within one week following initial examination of an industrial patient, medical practitioners, including chiropractors, must file a physicians' initial report with the insurance carrier or the self-insured employer.
The old rule required chiropractors and naturopathic physicians to file the form at the completion of every 15 treatments and within three days of the applicant's release to return to work.
Under the proposed rule, physical therapists must file a treatment plan with the insurance carrier or self-insured employer within one week following the injured worker's initial physical therapy treatment. The restorative treatment plan shall detail the restorative services and the expected number of visits needed to reach restoration.