Quinn to back change to WC Act?

According to Springfield’s State Journal-Register, Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to reform Illinois’ workers’ compensation system appears to include some form of a key provision wanted by Republicans and business interests.

The State Journal-Register reports that Quinn’s plan, outlined Wednesday for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illinois Manufacturers Association, would require that a worker would not receive benefits for an injury if it was not incurred on the job.

Quinn, who said he wants a reform bill enacted before the legislature’s May 31 adjournment date, would not call his provision “causation,” although, according to the published report, the slide show included the requirement that any compensable accident arise out of and in the course of employment.

In recent months some members of Illinois’ business community have called for a change to the causation standard in workers’ compensation claims to a requirement that the workplace must be the primary contributing cause of a compensable claim.

It’s unclear, however, whether Quinn’s proposal, outlined on a slide show, matches up with what Republicans and the state’s business interests want. Quinn could not point to a bill number or a legislative sponsor for his plan, so the exact language could be examined.

Quinn said his plan, which also includes cuts in Illinois’ medical fee schedule, enhances review of how care is utilized, reduces permanent disability payments, limits compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome and limits the wage differential, would save businesses $500 million.

According to the paper, IRMA president David Vite said, “I think that is their attempt to address the issue.  It doesn’t go to the place we need to be, but we appreciate their effort and would be willing to sit down and work with the governor’s team.”

In a speech before the business groups, Sen. Kyle McCarter, who introduced his own failed bill which included an explicit requirement that injuries result from the workplace, said it was “cause or nothing.”

“After being disrespected so badly with the (income) tax increase, we deserve this,” McCarter said.

The full article can be read here.  As it is not clear how the Governor’s causation proposal differs from existing requirements, we will continue to report news on this issue as it develops.

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