Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

February 2006
TABLES
7 Claims characteristics: part of body

CONTENTS
2 Workers' compensation disputes: intervention update 3 Workers' compensation disputes: letter to intervenors 4 Workers' compensation disputes: contact information 5 Workers' Compensation System Report summary 6 DLI commissioner instrumental in work comp association's growth 7 Grev named director of Benefit Management and Resolution 7 Updated claims characteristic brochure available D-1 Court decisions: October through December 2005

TRAINING
8 Registration form: Basic adjuster's training 2006

Workers' compensation disputes: intervention update

Updated claims characteristics brochure available

Court decisions: October through December 2005

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Decisions

Summaries of

D-1

PART
By Kate Berger Legal Services

ONE

Workers' compensation disputes: intervention update
On Nov. 21 and 30, 2005, William Johnson, assistant chief administrative law judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) and Patricia Todd, assistant commissioner of the Workers' Compensation Division at the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), convened a meeting to discuss issues related to intervention in workers’ compensation disputes by third parties with an interest in the dispute. Participants also included attorneys representing employees, employers and intervenors, and representatives of health care providers, vocational rehabilitation providers, provider associations and government payers, as well as OAH and DLI staff members involved in workers' compensation disputes. During the meetings, employee and insurer representatives explained it was often difficult to know who to give notice to about a workers’ compensation claim and difficult to reach someone to discuss settlement of the intervention interest. Some of the intervenor representatives indicated the process was confusing, they were sometimes not notified of the status of the case and additional information about settlement offers would be helpful. The group developed recommendations to address these concerns and facilitate the intervention process and resolution of intervenor claims. The group recommended intervenors be offered training about workers' compensation – how to intervene and how to evaluate and respond to an offer of settlement. DLI and OAH are exploring a variety of approaches to implement this suggestion, including using the department’s own training programs and working with medical and legal associations and continuing education providers to develop and offer training about intervention. The participants also recommended the agencies explore ways to improve communication between attorneys and intervenors about changes in hearing dates, the status of the case and the amount of the intervention interest. The agencies are evaluating the technical and legal issues involved in making scheduling and case status information available online to the parties to a case. Finally, the group recommended the agencies provide enhanced information about intervention on the DLI and OAH Web sites, including a summary and flow chart of the intervention process and a list of frequent intervenors, including addresses and contact information. The OAH and DLI Web sites have been updated with new information about intervention. Additionally, the agencies have sent a letter (see next page) to organizations that frequently intervene, asking if they would like their contact information to be placed on the OAH Web site. Organizations that have not received the letter directly and would like their information included on the OAH Web site are encouraged to copy and send the contact information on page 4 to OAH.
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PART

TWO

Workers' compensation disputes: letter to intervenors
Dear Workers' Compensation Intervenor: The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) and the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) recently met with a group of workers' compensation attorneys and others who represent intervenors in workers' compensation cases. The purpose of the meetings was to help our two agencies identify perceived problems with the current system and explore solutions to problems. One of the problems identified by attorneys representing employees and insurers was difficulty identifying the correct office to which to send a Notice of the Right to Intervene. This is particularly a problem with large organizations with multiple office sites. The attorney for the employee may have only the post office address used for billing purposes by a health care provider or other potential intervenor. To remedy this problem, we intend to create a master list of contact information for intervenors. This list will be posted on the agency Web sites. We will omit the small single-office health care providers to keep the list to a manageable size. Locating the office of smaller health care providers for the purpose of serving the Notice of the Right to Intervene is typically not a big problem. For the convenience of the users, the list may include some small medical offices that handle a large volume of business related to workers' compensation cases. To create the master intervenor service list, we need information from you. Please fill in the contact information sheet (see next page) and return it to the address listed on the form by March 1, 2006. We anticipate that identifying the correct name, address, phone number, fax number and e-mail address of the intervenor will facilitate claim resolution and payment. In addition to the basic contact information, you may also include a Web site address on the master list. This would allow you to provide a link from our Web site to yours to provide any additional information you wish concerning your workers' compensation claims. You are not required to provide this information or to be included on the list posted on the agency Web sites. However, we expect that posting this list will benefit your organization because it will help parties to the workers' compensation claim provide your organization with direct, accurate and timely notice of the right to intervene. This is one of a number of strategies in the works to improve workers' compensation dispute resolution. Look for additional information on the OAH Web site (www.oah.state.mn.us) regarding workers' compensation claims as well. The current version of forms that can be used by intervenors are online at www.oah.state.mn.us/wcforms/forms.html. These include the Motion to Intervene, Affidavit of Service, Stipulation of Intervention and a cover letter. We would appreciate you using these forms rather than older versions. The current version of the intervention statute and rules is also online. Also being developed are questions and answers regarding workers' compensation claims, and a flow chart of procedures. This information will be on the Web site as soon as it is completed. We also anticipate DLI and OAH will work together to provide training about intervention to anyone who is interested. Additionally, we hope to develop a means to view current case status to parties, including intervenors, via Internet password. Thank you for assisting in improving communication within the workers' compensation dispute resolution system. Your feedback is always welcome. If you have any questions or comments about this list or if you have other ideas about how to facilitate the intervention process, contact Penny Johnson at (612) 349-2557 or penny.johnson@state.mn.us. Sincerely, William R. Johnson Assistant Chief Administrative Law Judge Workers' Compensation Section Office of Administrative Hearings

Patricia J. Todd Assistant Commissioner Workers' Compensation Division Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

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PART

THREE

Workers' compensation disputes: contact information
The information on this form will be used to create a master list of contact information for entities to be given notice of the right to intervene in a workers' compensation dispute to request payment by the workers' compensation insurer. The information you provide below will be placed on the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) Web site at www.oah.state.mn.us/wcforms/forms.html. You are not required to provide this information. However, by providing correct contact information, you will help parties to workers' compensation claims in which you have an interest provide your organization with direct, accurate and timely notice of the right to intervene. The agencies will periodically provide you with an opportunity to update the information. However, please send updated information to OAH any time the information changes. Name of potential intervenor's organization or company: Mailing address:

Information regarding primary contact person with authority to settle your claims: Name: Phone number: E-mail address: Fax number: Information regarding alternate contact person with authority to settle claims: Name: Phone number: E-mail address: Fax number: Web site address (if you wish to provide a link to additional information about your workers' compensation cases): Send this form to:
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Penny Johnson, Office of Administrative Hearings, 100 Washington Ave. S., Suite 1700, Minneapolis, MN 55401.

Workers' Compensation System Report summary
By David Berry Research and Statistics

The 2004 Minnesota Workers’ Compensation System Report will be released in early March. It will be available at the Department of Labor and Industry Web site at www.doli.state.mn.us/research.html.1 The report, part of an annual series, presents data from 1997 through 2004 about several aspects of Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system: claims, benefits and costs; medical cost trends; vocational rehabilitation; and disputes and dispute resolution. The purpose of the report is to describe statistically the current status and direction of workers’ compensation in Minnesota and to offer explanations where possible for recent developments. These are the report’s major findings. • The claim rate fell continually from 1997 to 2004. • Indemnity and medical benefits2 per claim are up sharply (adjusting for wage growth). • Relative to payroll, medical benefits have risen since 1997, while indemnity benefits have fallen slightly, reflecting the net effect of the falling claim rate and increasing benefits per claim. • The increase in indemnity benefits is due partly to increasing benefit duration and partly to increases in the frequency and amounts of stipulated benefits. • According to data from a large insurer: – the largest contributing factors to the recent increases in medical costs were outpatient hospital facility services, drugs and radiology. – for radiology, the primary factor was a shift toward more expensive services. – among the categories analyzed, all of the significant increases in cost per unit of service were in areas not covered by the medical fee schedule, particularly anesthesia (all provider types), radiology and physical medicine provided by hospitals, and overnight hospital rooms. • The vocational rehabilitation participation rate rose steadily from 1997 to 2004. • The dispute rate has increased continually since 1999. • Total workers’ compensation system cost continued increasing relative to payroll from its low point in 2000, but the rate of increase slowed between 2003 and 2004.
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The report will also be available by calling (651) 284-5025. For alternative formats, call 1-800-342-5354 or TTY (651) 297-4198. Indemnity benefits are monetary benefits paid to the injured worker.

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DLI commissioner instrumental in work comp association's growth
By Patricia Todd, Assistant Commissioner Workers' Compensation Division

The International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) is a not-for-profit trade association representing government agencies charged with the administration of workers’ compensation systems throughout most of the United States and Canada, and other nations and territories. Its mission is to advance the administration of workers’ compensation systems throughout the world through education, research and information sharing. With more than 300 members, the IAIABC represents a diverse group of workers’ compensation professionals, medical providers, insurers and corporate agencies. Thousands of individuals are involved with IAIABC committees and meetings. Committee work is the heart of the IAIABC. Individuals from a number of jurisdictions combine their special ongoing administrative interests to form more than 30 committees and subcommittees. The committee research and work products are invaluable. Many are continuous projects that provide ongoing support for workers’ compensation systems, such as self-insurance and electronic data interchange (EDI). Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) Commissioner Scott Brener is a member of the executive committee and has been instrumental in growing IAIABC. DLI participates on several committees: Performance Measures, Alternative Dispute Resolutions and Electronic Data Exchange. IAIABC organizes and sponsors three major annual events: the annual convention, the International Workers’ Compensation College and the All Committee Conference. Other events include EDI and alternative dispute-resolution training. More information about IAIABC is online at www.iaiabc.org.

Commissioner Scott Brener

Grev named director of Benefit Management and Resolution
In December, Penny Grev joined the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) as manager of the Workers' Compensation Division's Benefit Management and Resolution unit. Grev started working for the state of Minnesota in 1983. She has worked in human resources for the state since 1987. Most recently, she managed the Human Resource and Payroll Programs for the Department of Human Services State Operated Services Metro Region, which included Anoka Regional Treatment Center (AMRTC) and Minnesota State Operated Community Services (MSOCS). The Metro Region Human Resource Office supported more than 2,000 employees at more than 140 locations statewide. Grev was a member of both the MSOCS and AMRTC management teams. She directed labor relations, performance management, grievances, arbitration preparation, EEOC complaint prep and mediation, unemployment hearings, workers' compensation and strategic planning; she also served as a consultant about policy development, organizational management, staffing strategies, supervisory training, systems development and had full participation on agency committees and initiatives.
Benefit Management and Resolution Director Penny Grev

Updated claims characteristics brochure available

Claim Characteristics
Part of body The department's workers' compensation claim characteristics brochure has recently been updated with information about claims from 2004. Statistics provided include the: • number of claims in 2004; • nature of injury or disease; • injured worker characteristics; • event or exposure; • part of body; • fatal injury events; • and more. The brochure is available online at www.doli.state.mn.us/research.html.
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Fingers 7%

Head 2% (except eyes) Eyes 1% Neck 2%

Hands 4%

Wrists 6% Arms 6% Trunk 7%
(except back)

Shoulders 8% Back 24% Legs 3% Knees 9%

Body systems 1% Ankles 4% Multiple parts 11% Feet 3% Toes 1%

Workers' Compensation Division www.doli.state.mn.us/workcomp.html

Basic Adjusters’ Training 2006
– Three two-day sessions in 2006! – March 28 and 29 June 5 and 6 Oct. 3 and 4

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8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This training is recommended for claim adjusters who have less than one year of experience in Minnesota workers’ compensation. Session topics include: • • • • • • • • • Overview of Minnesota workers’ compensation Waiting period Liability determination Indemnity benefits Rehabilitation benefits and issues Medical benefits and issues Penalties Dispute resolution How to file forms Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry 443 Lafayette Road N. St. Paul, MN 55155 Minnesota Room $175 for the two-day session (includes lunch)

Location:

Cost:

Early registration is encouraged. Each session is limited to 30 people. Classes will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. If your reservation is not one of the first 30 received, you will be contacted about other available sessions.
If you need special accommodations to enable you to participate in this event or have questions about this training, call Jana Williams at (651) 284-5304, toll-free at 1-800-342-5354 or TTY (651) 297-4198. The Department of Labor and Industry reserves the right to cancel a session if there are not enough participants registered.

Registration form Please register me for the Basic Adjusters’ Training session checked below. Enclosed is my check made payable to: Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. March 28 and 29, 2006 Name and phone: E-mail address: Company name and address: June 5 and 6, 2006 Oct. 3 and 4, 2006

Number of months of experience with Minnesota workers’ compensation:
To register more than one person from your company for this class, attach a sheet listing additional names, telephone numbers and number of months of experience. Send form and check to: Attn: Chris Beaubien, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, 443 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155.

Minnesota FEI #416007162