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CONTENTS

3 Required information sheet little-known part of law

3 Two DLI advisory groups meeting again

4 Workers’ compensation family farm coverage where other insurance coverage


requirements are met

5 It’s a file, it’s a form, it’s IPC!

6 Workers’ Compensations Medical Costs Task-force weighing costs throughout


work comp system

7 DLI Customer Assistance: Mediation services part of collaborative strategy

9 Possible amendment to joint rules governing work comp litigation procedures;


comments sought

10 Free publications available online

TABLES
4 Family farm coverage: M.S. §176.001, subd. 11a (a)(2)

DLI Customer Assistance:


It’s a file, it’s a Mediation services part of Court decisions:
form, it’s IPC! collaborative strategy July-September 2003

5 7 D-1
Required information sheet little-known part of law
As determined by Minnesota law, when an employee is injured on the job and receives a copy of the First Report
of Injury form, that employee must also receive a copy of the Workers’Compensation Employee Information
Sheet (Minnesota Statutes §176.231). This little-known part of the statute has been in effect since Aug. 1, 2000.

The purpose of the information sheet is to give the injured worker – in clear,
understandable language – a summary of what he or she may be entitled to as
a result of the work injury. The hope is that employers will use this information
sheet as a tool to help their employees feel connected to the workplace, even
after a work injury. The information sheet also lists the employer’s insurance
company and claim representative. At the bottom of the sheet is the Department
of Labor and Industry’s toll-free Workers’ Compensation Hotline phone
number, in case the injured worker has further questions.

The information sheet is available in English and in Spanish on the Department


of Labor and Industry Web site, at www.doli.state.mn.us/wceeinfo.html. Many
insurers also provide policyholders with copies of the information sheet.

Two DLI advisory groups meeting again


After taking time off, two DLI advisory groups have via e-mail at Chris.Beaubien@state.mn.us or by phone
started meeting again. at (651) 284-5478 for more information.

Rehabilitation Review Panel Medical Services Review Board


The Rehabilitation Review Panel (RRP) was created in The Medical Services Review Board (MSRB) was
1981, by Minnesota Statutes §176.102. One of the created by Minnesota Statutes §176.103 in 1983. One
RRP’s functions is to offer advice and recommendations of the MSRB’s functions is to advise the commissioner
to the commissioner of the Department of Labor and of the Department of Labor and Industry about medical
Industry about vocational rehabilitation services and care in the workers’ compensation system.
delivery.
The MSRB meets quarterly, the third Thursday of the
The RRP meets quarterly, the first Thursday of the month (Jan. 15, April 15, July 15, Oct. 21), from 4 to
month (except January, due to the holiday) – Jan. 8, 6 p.m., at the Department of Labor and Industry. For
April 1, July 1, Oct. 7 – from 1 to 3 p.m., at the more information, contact Marlana Nierengarten via
Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, 443 e-mail at Marlana.Nierengarten@state.mn.us or by
Lafayette Road N., St. Paul. Contact Chris Beaubien phone at (651) 284-5259.

COMPACT is online-only:
Sign-up for e-mail notification of new editions of COMPACT
COMPACT is a quarterly, online publication of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Its purpose
is to provide department news and workers’ compensation case information to professionals who work
within the Minnesota workers’ compensation system.

For e-mail notification about new editions


Send an e-mail message, with “COMPACT” in the subject line and the subscriber’s name and e-mail address
in the body of the message, to DLI.Communications@state.mn.us. An e-mail notification will be sent when
each quarterly edition of COMPACT is available online.
Upon request, COMPACT will be made available in alternative formats such as Braille, large print or audiotape.
Workers’ compensation family farm coverage where
other insurance coverage requirements are met

Farm operations are considered either family farms or employers for the purpose of workers’
compensation coverage. The chart below may be used in determining whether workers’
compensation coverage is mandatory for a farm operation where other coverage as provided in
the law is underwritten (see Minnesota Statutes §176.011, subd. 11a).*

The value of work performed (roughly payroll) during the previous year is compared to the
average annual wage (AAW) for the year in which the policy is written. Farm operations with
payrolls equal to or greater than the corresponding AAW are required to provide workers’
compensation coverage for their farm laborers. The AAW figure is received from the Department
of Employment and Economic Development and is the number from which the statewide average
weekly wage (SAWW) is derived.

Family farm coverage


M.S. § 176.011, subd. 11a (a)(2)

Average annual wage under Services rendered Policy written


M.S. §176.011 subd. 20 (roughly payroll) year year

$27,208 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1996 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1997

$28,708 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1997 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1998

$30,086 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1998 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1999

$31,943 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1999 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2000

$33,366 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2000 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2001

$35,311 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2001 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2002

$36,457 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2002 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2003

$37,311 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2003 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2004

* If other insurance coverage requirements are not met, any farm operation that has $8,000 or more of
payroll for the previous calendar-year must provide workers’ compensation insurance for its employees.
It’s a file, it’s a form, it’s IPC!
By Marlana Nierengarten, IPC Supervisor

Superman might not be the only thing that’s faster Besides having
than a speeding bullet. Workers’ compensation differing
customers may also say the Department of Labor procedures,
and Industry’s Information Processing Center (IPC) different types of
belongs in the same category. That’s because IPC mail have different
quickly processes incoming mail and distributes it priority ratings. Those
electronically throughout the workers’ compensation items dealing with
system – sometimes in less than half a day after pending legal actions have
receiving it. top priority and must be
completed within one day of
Last year, DLI’s mailroom received more than 1.2 receipt in the mailroom. The
million pages of workers’ compensation mail. Within processing time standards for other
two hours, mail slated for imaging (92 percent of all mail range from two days after receipt in the
workers’ comp mail received) is delivered to the mailroom to four days after scanning. In fiscal-year
document preparation area of IPC, where 2003, IPC imaged more than 1.6 million pages, with
documents are sorted into nine types: legal, Office an overall availability rating of 1.56 days. Legal
of Administrative Hearings, data entry, daily mail, documents were scanned and available – on average
Special Compensation Fund, old daily, priority – within .46 days.
follow-up, follow-up and back file. Staples are
removed, paper is repaired and the various code After being indexed, the imaged documents appear
sheets are inserted into each work item. Each type in a table of contents (TOC) that is created for each
of mail is governed by its own set of procedures. claim. Customers are able to click on a specific
The procedures must be followed accurately to document listed in the TOC to bring up the actual
avoid documents being misidentified and misrouted. image. The system also automatically routes a copy
of the image to certain areas or individuals,
Prepared batches are taken to the scanning station, according to form type and specified route rules.
where approximately 1,400 pages an For example, all claim petitions are automatically
hour are scanned in duplex scanning routed to the Office of Administrative Hearings.
mode. Each page, front and back,
is given an image address that Even though IPC is fast, it doesn’t sacrifice quality
includes the date the document was for speed. Obviously, it is very important to ensure
scanned and a sequential number. documents are legible, identified properly, assigned
This number and the image is stored to the correct file and completely captured, with no
in IPC’s database, which is backed skipped pages. The IPC quality-assurance team
up daily and stored off-site. reviews a statistically accurate random sample of the
work each day. The overall accuracy rate in fiscal-
After scanning, the images are year 2003 was 99.18 percent. Occasionally, a
processed by document indexers who document is misnamed or misfiled. When it is
name every image and assign it to the discovered, IPC has the ability to quickly fix it.
correct Social Security number and
date of injury. There are more than 450 Our combination of speed and accuracy ensure up-
different form identification codes in IPC’s to-date information in our workers’ compensation
system that the indexers must learn. claim files. Next year’s goal? Leaping tall buildings in
a single bound.
November 2003 • COMPACT • 5
Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs Task-force
weighing costs throughout work comp system
By Beth Hargarten, Assistant Commissioner, Workers’ Compensation Division

The 2003 Minnesota Legislature enacted a law requiring the


commissioner of Labor and Industry to convene a working group
(task force) to study workers’ compensation medical costs. The
task force must report its recommendations to the Workers’
Compensation Advisory Council before Jan. 9, 2004.

By Feb. 15, the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council must report


to the Legislature about what actions it will take regarding the task
force’s recommendations.

The task force consists of members representing labor, business, insurers, physicians, chiropractors, physical
therapists, pharmacies and hospitals. The task force has been addressing a number of issues related to
medical costs in the workers’ compensation system, including
pharmaceutical costs, managed care, hospital reimbursement, fee
schedule distinctions and utilization review.

The group will continue with its meetings and discussions until the
beginning of December. Materials presented at the meetings, in
addition to summaries of testimony provided to the group, can be
found on the Department of Labor and Industry Web site at
www.doli.state.mn.us/medcost.html.

Task-force members

The following people were selected for the task-force based on their expertise and experience with workers’
compensation medical issues. Scott Brener, commissioner of the Department Labor and Industry, presides over
the meetings.

Medical representatives Employer representatives

• Beth Baker, M.D. • Curt Pronk, Mayo Clinic


• Keith Johnson, D.C. • Reed Pollack, Smead Manufacturing
• Daniel Wolfe, P.T. • Susan Olson, Hormel

Labor representatives Other representatives

• Erin Murphy, Minnesota Nurses Association • Bob Lund, State Fund Mutual
• Jayne Hetchler, Service Employees International • Lowell Anderson, R. Ph., D. Sc, FAPha, Bell-Aire
Union Pharmacy
• Don Gerdesmeier, Minnesota Teamsters • Patrick Boran, CFO, North Memorial Health Care

6 • COMPACT • November 2003


DLI CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE:
Mediation services part of collaborative strategy
By Mark McCrea, Supervisor, Mediator/Arbitrator
The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
(DLI) has implemented a number of strategies
to reduce the impact of work-related
injuries and illnesses on employers and
employees. Two of these strategies
involve building effective working
relationships with stakeholders and
developing more user-friendly
customer processes. DLI believes
these collaborative approaches can
substantially contribute to the
reduction of current cost and benefit
trends.

Based on information published by


From 1992 to 2002, the department conducted
DLI’s Research and Statistics unit,
7,713 mediation sessions. Successful resolutions
workers’ compensation claim rates were achieved in 91 percent of these sessions.
in Minnesota have been declining
since 1984.1 Despite this, costs have increased recently. 1992 to 2002, the department conducted 7,713
From 1998 to 2001, indemnity benefits increased 11 mediation sessions. Successful resolutions were
percent and medical benefits increased 19 percent, achieved in 91 percent of these sessions.
relative to payroll, while vocational rehabilitation
benefits increased 32 percent above wage growth. Mediation is a voluntary process, designed to enable
During the same period, the percentage of filed parties to resolve disputes about claims regarding any
indemnity claims with disputes increased from 14.6 to workers’ compensation benefit. The process usually
16.6 percent. consists of a meeting – conducted in person or by
telephone – of the parties and a DLI mediator.
Mediation services provided by the DLI Customer Mediation sessions are only scheduled if all parties
Assistance unit are an important component of the expressly agree to participate. Any party who elects
collaborative strategy. Research studies conducted by to participate in mediation may withdraw at any time,
the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute in for any reason.
Massachusetts and the Maryland Institute for Policy
Analysis & Research have concluded mediation of A mediation session usually includes the following
workers’ compensation disputes saves time and money features:
for litigants, diverts cases from formal hearings and
increases litigants’ satisfaction with outcomes. • mediator explanation of the process;
• parties’ or their representatives’ explanations of
The DLI mediation program has existed since 1984. their issues, positions and demands;
The program is part of a broad continuum of dispute • separate meetings between the mediator and each
resolution services offered by DLI Customer party to explore and evaluate underlying concerns,
Assistance, ranging from informal telephone litigation risks and realistic settlement options; and
interventions to administrative adjudications. From

November 2003 • COMPACT • 7


• mediator efforts to encourage good faith Mediation agreements are approved on the basis of
negotiations. whether the agreement is consistent with the
requirements of Minnesota Statutes §176.521. Based
Mediation sessions are conducted pursuant to on Harty v. Joyce International (Workers’
Minnesota Rules 5220.2670. These sessions can take Compensation Court of Appeals, Dec. 9, 1991),
place at any phase of the claim without the necessity of mediation agreements have the same force and effect
filing a written document and without the existence of a as awards on stipulations for settlement.
dispute. A mediation session can be scheduled simply
by calling DLI Customer Assistance. Frequently, A mediation agreement is approved by the issuance of
mediation sessions are requested by parties to: an award on mediation; the award is typically issued
on the same day of an in-person mediation. Telephone
• explore settlement possibilities; mediations usually result in the issuance of an award
• discuss emerging disputes; on mediation within seven to 10 days of the mediation
• commute future streams of uncontested benefits session.
to lump-sum payments;
• negotiate declarations of permanent total disability; During the past several weeks, the department has been
• review, draft and approve agreements reached by working with a group of stakeholders to develop
the parties; and strategies for expanding the use of mediation in the
• develop creative strategies for resolving complex workers’ compensation system. DLI recently accepted
issues. the working group’s proposal to conduct a major
workers’ compensation mediation seminar next spring.
Most mediation sessions take place within three to The seminar is intended to:
five days of a request. Occasionally, mediation sessions
are conducted on the same day of the request or they • educate stakeholders about how and when to use
take place concurrently with an administrative mediation services;
conference. Mediation sessions can last less than an • increase stakeholders’ use of mediations to achieve
hour or up to several hours, depending on the issues. more cost-effective and equitable resolutions of
There is no charge for the department’s mediation claims; and
services. • provide stakeholders with skills to reduce their
dispute resolution costs.
The Department of Labor and Industry has an
experienced mediation staff with diverse expertise in a The seminar will include presentations by locally and
number of areas, including: vocational rehabilitation nationally recognized dispute resolution experts. Watch
counseling, nursing, workplace safety, claims for additional information in the next edition of
management, cultural and linguistic differences, and law. COMPACT or on the department’s Web site at
The parties may select the particular mediator for their www.doli.state.mn.us/workcomp.html.
mediation session or they can ask Customer Assistance
to assign a mediator. The department’s mediators do For additional information about mediation services
not advocate for any party or any particular solution, conducted by DLI Customer Assistance, call
nor do they replace the need for legal advice. All DLI (651) 284-5030 or 1-800-342-5354 or visit the DLI
mediators have completed mediation training certified Web site.
by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Also, the Minnesota
Supreme Court has appointed two of the department’s
mediators to the Supreme Court’s Alternative Dispute
Resolution Review Board.
1
Department of Labor and Industry, Research and Statistics,
Minnesota Workers’ Compensation System Report, 2001 (January
2003).
8 • COMPACT • November 2003
Possible amendment to joint rules governing work
comp litigation procedures; comments sought

Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings and Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Workers’ Compensation Division

REQUEST FOR COMMENTS

Possible Amendment to Joint Rules Governing Workers’ Compensation Litigation Procedures,


Minnesota Rules, chapter 1415 and portions of chapter 5220

Subject of Rules. The Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) and Minnesota Department
of Labor and Industry (DLI) request comments on possible amendment to rules governing workers’
compensation litigation and administrative conference procedures. OAH and DLI are considering rule
amendments to update the rules in light of statutory and case law changes over the last 19 years. The rules are
expected to revise joint rules over matters within the authority of both agencies, move matters within the
authority of OAH to a separate set of rules, revise outdated procedures, repeal unnecessary rules, and clarify
procedures in problem areas.

Persons Affected. The amendment to the rules would likely affect parties in workers’ compensation
proceedings, primarily injured employees, employers, workers’ compensation insurers, workers’ compensation
attorneys, health care providers, vocational rehabilitation providers, and health insurance companies or entities
paying for workers’ compensation medical care or lost wages. They may also affect other entities having an
interest in workers’ compensation proceedings, such as entities seeking to obtain payment from the proceeds
of a workers’ compensation settlement or award.

Statutory Authority. Minnesota Statutes, sections 14.51, 175.17(2), 175.171(2), 176.081, subd.
6 and 12; 176.155, subd. 5; 176.231, subd. 5; 176.285; 176.312; 176.361, subd. 1; and 176.83, subd. 1,
7, 9, 10, 12, and 15 provide authority for the agencies to adopt or amend the rules.

Public Comment. Interested persons or groups may submit comments or information on these possible
rules in writing until further notice is published in the State Register that the agencies intend to adopt or to
withdraw the rules. OAH and DLI do not currently contemplate appointing an advisory committee to comment
on the possible rules.

Rules Drafts. The agencies have prepared a preliminary draft of proposed rule amendments. A
preliminary draft of proposed rules is expected to be available on the OAH Web site at www.oah.state.mn.us
before the end of December 2003.

Agency Contact Person. Written comments, questions, and requests for more information on these
possible rules should be directed to: Sandra Haven at the Office of Administrative Hearings, 100 Washington
Ave. S., Suite 1700, Minneapolis, MN 55401, phone: (612) 341-7642, fax: (612) 349-2665. TTY users
may call OAH at (612) 341-7346. E-mail comments should be directed to Penny Johnson at the Office of
Administrative Hearings at penny.johnson@state.mn.us.
Request for comments continues ...

November 2003 • COMPACT • 9


Request for comments continued ...
Alternative Format. Upon request, this Request for Comments can be made available in an alternative
format, such as large print, Braille, or cassette tape. To make such a request, please contact the agency contact
person at the address or telephone number listed above.

Note: Comments received in response to this notice will not necessarily be included in the formal
rulemaking record submitted to the administrative law judge when a proceeding to adopt rules is started. The
agency is required to submit to the judge only those written comments received in response to the rules after
they are proposed. If you submitted comments during the development of the rules and you want to ensure that
the Administrative Law Judge reviews the comments, you should resubmit the comments after the rules are
formally proposed.

Free publications available online


These publications — and others — are available on the Department of Labor and
Industry Web site at www.doli.state.mn.us (specific addresses provided below).

Minnesota Workers’ Compensation System Report 2001


• Report highlights: http://www.doli.state.mn.us/wn02dec1.htm
• Full report: http://www.doli.state.mn.us/rsreport.html — PDF

Minnesota Workplace Safety Report, 2001


• Full report: http://www.doli.state.mn.us/rsreport.html — PDF

Prompt First Action Report on Workers’ Compensation Claims, 2002


• Full report: http://www.doli.state.mn.us/pubwkcp.html — PDF

Collection and Assessment of Fines and Penalties, 2002


• Full report: http://www.doli.state.mn.us/pubwkcp.html — PDF

An Employee’s Guide to the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation System, 2000


• Complete guide: http://www.doli.state.mn.us/guide.html

An Employer’s Guide to Employment Law Issues in Minnesota, 2000


• Complete guide: http://www.dted.state.mn.us/00x04-f.asp
(published by the Department of Trade and Economic Development)

Publications are also available in printed versions. To request a copy,


contact Customer Assistance by phone at (651) 284-5030, by fax at
(651) 296-9634 or by e-mail at DLI.brochure@state.mn.us.
10 • COMPACT • November 2003