Home > Uncategorized > The Unholy Trifecta Shattered

The Unholy Trifecta Shattered

The collective opposition of the medical community, trial lawyers and the unions was often referred to as the Unholy Trifecta.  These are three groups that rarely see eye to eye on anything, yet all stood strong against the upcoming workers’ compensation reform.  It couldn’t last indefinitely however, and the medical community appears to have been left behind.  Word started circulating recently that a “loose agreement” had been reached with the business community, the lawyers and the unions – the entire medical community was very specifically never mentioned.

Senate Amendment 3 to House Bill 1698 was just filed and it’s not pretty.  Although we oppose a number of the sections of the bill, our largest concern will be to ensure that chiropractic is in no way being singled out in this process.  There’s a good summary of what’s included by the Chicago Tribune:

The proposal would address possible abuses by dumping most of the arbitrators who currently hear cases for the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. The idea is to get rid of those hearing officers who may have “cozy” relationships with attorneys representing workers, Raoul said. New arbitrators would be appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn, and must be confirmed by the state Senate. Arbitrators would also be required to be licensed attorneys, participate in ongoing training and would have their job performance reviewed every three years.

Arbitrators also would be required to used American Medical Association guidelines when rating a workers’ impairment after an injury, and there will be a beefed up review process to provide some standardization when it comes to the type and amount of treatment a worker receives.

The plan would also cap the amount of payment workers get for carpal tunnel claims, setting a limit that would allow workers to collect 60 percent of their average weekly salary for 28 weeks. The current average payout is spread over 40 weeks, Raoul said. To prevent “doctor shopping,” a network of medical providers will be set up by the Department of Insurance, and workers would not be able to receive benefits if they were hurt because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Business groups pushed hard for higher burdens of proof that an injury happened on the job, saying workers could get hurt on the weekend but claim it happened at work. They didn’t get the standards they wanted, but the proposal would put into law several court decisions that require a worker to prove an injury happened during the course of employment.

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