Illinois WC Legislative Update – May, 2017

The Illinois Legislature has been busy with Workers’ Compensation related bills and we have been busy keeping our readers up to date. There are 3 bills that we have been following, and we want to take a few minutes to bring to our readers’ attention:

  • HB 2622 – Creates a non-profit, taxpayer funded mutual insurance company. The idea behind the bill is to create a new competitor with the hundreds of carriers providing coverage throughout the state of Illinois.
  • HB 2525 – A large rewrite of the Workers Compensation Act. The salient changes (not all inclusive) include:
    • Shoulder is paid out as an arm (reverses the Will County decision)
    • Hip is paid out as the leg
    • Codifies current case law of “in the course of employment” & “arising out of the employment” maintaining the “any” cause standard
    • Codifies Venture Newburg by establishing factors for determining traveling employee status and expands liability by also establishing a traveling employee through a reasonable & foreseeable standard
    • Allows AMA guideline submission for impairment rating for PPD benefit
    • Add new electronic billing penalty and new penalties for delay of authorization of medical care
  • HB 2703 – Eliminates the protections afforded by the Freedom of Information Act to self-insured groups. The proposed bill, if enacted, would remove the FOIA language that exempts self-insured groups from copying and inspection.

These bills are in varying levels of the legislative process. The first two bills passed along strict party lines in the House, but are still pending pursuant to a “Motion to Reconsider,” a parliamentary maneuver to allow more time for the sides to negotiate (or grandstand, be that as it may). The final bill has been introduced, gone through a second reading, but no final vote has occurred. Now as our savvy readers know (or those who grew up with School House Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill”), any piece of legislation must pass both the House and Senate before being signed into law by the Governor. As evident by the lack of a State budget for the past two years, getting approval by all three branches is no small feat. There is a long way to go before there is any semblance of workers’ compensation reform, but these 3 bills give a little insight into at least one parties’ thought process. Stay with us as we continue to provide updates on the Illinois Legislature and Workers’ Compensation reform.

Thanks to Legislative Watch Group member Frank Johnston for providing the above summary.  Frank practices out of I&F’s Champaign office.

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