CONTENTS

3 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 Required information sheet little-known part of law Two DLI advisory groups meeting again Workers’ compensation family farm coverage where other insurance coverage requirements are met It’s a file, it’s a form, it’s IPC! Workers’ Compensations Medical Costs Task-force weighing costs throughout work comp system DLI Customer Assistance: Mediation services part of collaborative strategy Possible amendment to joint rules governing work comp litigation procedures; comments sought Free publications available online

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

It’s a file, it’s a form, it’s IPC!

DLI Customer Assistance: Mediation services part of collaborative strategy

Court decisions: July-September 2003

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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 at (651) 284-5478 for more information. started meeting again.
Rehabilitation Review Panel Medical Services Review Board

The Rehabilitation Review Panel (RRP) was created in 1981, by Minnesota Statutes §176.102. One of the RRP’s functions is to offer advice and recommendations to the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry about vocational rehabilitation services and delivery. The RRP meets quarterly, the first Thursday of the month (except January, due to the holiday) – Jan. 8, April 1, July 1, Oct. 7 – from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, 443 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul. Contact Chris Beaubien

The Medical Services Review Board (MSRB) was created by Minnesota Statutes §176.103 in 1983. One of the MSRB’s functions is to advise the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry about medical care in the workers’ compensation system. The MSRB meets quarterly, the third Thursday of the month (Jan. 15, April 15, July 15, Oct. 21), from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Department of Labor and Industry. For more information, contact Marlana Nierengarten via e-mail at Marlana.Nierengarten@state.mn.us or by 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 M.S. §176.011 subd. 20 Services rendered (roughly payroll) year Policy written year

$27,208 $28,708 $30,086 $31,943 $33,366 $35,311 $36,457 $37,311

Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1996 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1997 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1998 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1999 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2000 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2001 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2002 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2003

Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1997 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1998 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1999 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2000 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2001 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2002 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 than a speeding bullet. Workers’ compensation customers may also say the Department of Labor and Industry’s Information Processing Center (IPC) belongs in the same category. That’s because IPC quickly processes incoming mail and distributes it electronically throughout the workers’ compensation system – sometimes in less than half a day after receiving it. Last year, DLI’s mailroom received more than 1.2 million pages of workers’ compensation mail. Within two hours, mail slated for imaging (92 percent of all workers’ comp mail received) is delivered to the document preparation area of IPC, where documents are sorted into nine types: legal, Office of Administrative Hearings, data entry, daily mail, Special Compensation Fund, old daily, priority follow-up, follow-up and back file. Staples are removed, paper is repaired and the various code sheets are inserted into each work item. Each type of mail is governed by its own set of procedures. The procedures must be followed accurately to avoid documents being misidentified and misrouted. Prepared batches are taken to the scanning station, where approximately 1,400 pages an hour are scanned in duplex scanning mode. Each page, front and back, is given an image address that includes the date the document was scanned and a sequential number. This number and the image is stored in IPC’s database, which is backed up daily and stored off-site. After scanning, the images are processed by document indexers who name every image and assign it to the correct Social Security number and date of injury. There are more than 450 different form identification codes in IPC’s system that the indexers must learn.

Besides having differing procedures, different types of mail have different priority ratings. Those items dealing with pending legal actions have top priority and must be completed within one day of receipt in the mailroom. The processing time standards for other mail range from two days after receipt in the mailroom to four days after scanning. In fiscal-year 2003, IPC imaged more than 1.6 million pages, with an overall availability rating of 1.56 days. Legal documents were scanned and available – on average – within .46 days. After being indexed, the imaged documents appear in a table of contents (TOC) that is created for each claim. Customers are able to click on a specific document listed in the TOC to bring up the actual image. The system also automatically routes a copy of the image to certain areas or individuals, according to form type and specified route rules. For example, all claim petitions are automatically routed to the Office of Administrative Hearings. Even though IPC is fast, it doesn’t sacrifice quality for speed. Obviously, it is very important to ensure documents are legible, identified properly, assigned to the correct file and completely captured, with no skipped pages. The IPC quality-assurance team reviews a statistically accurate random sample of the work each day. The overall accuracy rate in fiscalyear 2003 was 99.18 percent. Occasionally, a document is misnamed or misfiled. When it is discovered, IPC has the ability to quickly fix it. Our combination of speed and accuracy ensure upto-date information in our workers’ compensation claim files. Next year’s goal? Leaping tall buildings in a single bound.
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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 • Beth Baker, M.D. • Keith Johnson, D.C. • Daniel Wolfe, P.T. Labor representatives • Erin Murphy, Minnesota Nurses Association • Jayne Hetchler, Service Employees International Union • Don Gerdesmeier, Minnesota Teamsters Employer representatives • Curt Pronk, Mayo Clinic • Reed Pollack, Smead Manufacturing • Susan Olson, Hormel Other representatives • Bob Lund, State Fund Mutual • Lowell Anderson, R. Ph., D. Sc, FAPha, Bell-Aire Pharmacy • Patrick Boran, CFO, North Memorial Health Care

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• 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 consists of a meeting – conducted in person or by 16.6 percent. 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 • mediator explanation of the process; increases litigants’ satisfaction with outcomes. • parties’ or their representatives’ explanations of their issues, positions and demands; The DLI mediation program has existed since 1984. • separate meetings between the mediator and each The program is part of a broad continuum of dispute party to explore and evaluate underlying concerns, resolution services offered by DLI Customer litigation risks and realistic settlement options; and Assistance, ranging from informal telephone interventions to administrative adjudications. From
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• mediator efforts to encourage good faith negotiations.

Mediation sessions are conducted pursuant to Minnesota Rules 5220.2670. These sessions can take place at any phase of the claim without the necessity of filing a written document and without the existence of a 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).

Mediation agreements are approved on the basis of whether the agreement is consistent with the requirements of Minnesota Statutes §176.521. Based on Harty v. Joyce International (Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, Dec. 9, 1991), mediation agreements have the same force and effect as awards on stipulations for settlement.

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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 ...
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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