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Workers’ Compensation Insurers’ Task Force March 21, 2007 minutes
Members present Mary Abraham; Westfield Insurance Group Charles Bierman; Mayo David Clark for Dennis Ballinger; Western National Kathy Berg; Liberty Mutual Deb Dolsky for Jodi Connor; Wausau Karen Clayton Ebert; MN Counties Insurance Trust Robert Farber; Berkley Administrators Meg Kasting; SFM Diane Miller for Claire McCoy; GAB Robins Rob Rangel; Broadspire Nancy Ross; City of Minneapolis Laurie Simonsen; Travelers Cindy Van Eyll; General Casualty Gary Westman; MN DOER Members excused Ken Gildow; RTW David Oertli; Sedgwick Members absent Bob Johnson; Insurance Federation of MN Staff members present Debbie Caswell Penny Grev Ralph Hapness Phil Moosbrugger Patricia Todd Jana Williams Visitors present Kip Daniels; PMSI/MSA Services Pat Grove; MN Counties Insurance Trust Jeffrey Moulton; General Casualty Stacey Shurr, PMSI

The meeting was called to order by co-chairperson Rob Rangel at 9:08 a.m. Task-force members, visitors and Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) staff members introduced themselves. The agenda was approved as presented. The minutes from the Sept. 20, 2006, meeting were accepted as presented. Rangel announced Mike Johns left RTW and Gary Westman would co-chair the task force in his place. 4) Updates Form- to data-driven system Assistant Commissioner Patricia Todd gave an update about the department’s initiative to go from a formdriven to a data-driven system. The next external steering-committee meeting was set for the next day. They are working on how to implement this initiative and what approach to use. The first phase will be done by the end of May. The governor approved a budget initiative to receive one-time funds and ongoing funds for this project. To alleviate potential data-privacy concerns, a unique employee-identification number is being considered, as opposed to the Social Security numbers that are currently on all workers’ compensation forms. Legislative update Todd reported Sen. Bakk and Rep. Nelson are the authors for the Senate and House versions of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) bill. Those bills were introduced late yesterday and will be reviewed during committee hearings. She gave an overview of the proposal the WCAC agreed to at the March 7, 2007 meeting. A copy of the proposal is available online at www.doli.state.mn.us/pdf/wcac_proposal030707.pdf.

This information can be provided to you in alternative formats (Braille, large print or audio tape). An Equal Opportunity Employer

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Margaret Kasting asked if there were benefit increases and whether they were cost neutral. Todd said, as a package, the proposal is cost neutral. A letter was sent to all legislators from David Olson, Ray Waldron and Commissioner Scott Brener in support of the WCAC process and their recommended legislative changes. Pay for performance Todd reported DLI had meetings with various stakeholders in the workers’ compensation system and the medical community to develop a different payment incentive system. She noted there would be meetings later this month with all the participants, to develop recommendations. Denials Phil Moosbrugger gave an update about the department’s denial project. A handout in the meeting packets showed the impact the denial review process has had on frivolous denials. It also showed the number of denials had gone down. He noted the dip in December is due to a temporary lack of staff memebers at DLI, not industry performance. Moosbrugger mentioned several COMPACT articles that give guidance about avoiding a frivolous denial and noted DLI has done outreach education with claims handlers to get a clear understanding of what the standards are. Moosbrugger noted the department may look into whether the Legislature’s higher standard is being met for a presumption that police officers and firefighters who suffer heart conditions have a work-related injury. The law was amended in 2002 to require that denials specify why they are not applicable in that case, with a strong message from the Legislature that a stronger presumption should apply in firefighter cases. 5) Medicare set-asides Rangel noted the task force did brainstorming about future meeting topics and decided to get more information about Medicare set-asides. He invited Kip Daniels and Stacy Shurr from PMSI/MSI to the meeting to conduct a training session. Daniels did a PowerPoint presentation that had an overview about the Medicare secondary payer statute. Information booklets were provided, with marketing materials in a separate package. Their services apply when closing out future medical on a case to satisfy the Medicare secondary payer (MSP) statute requirements for the future medical costs related to the workers' compensation injury that otherwise would be payable by Medicare. Daniels advised task-force members to work closely with their attorneys on these claims and made himself available after the meeting for individual questions. The PowerPoint presentation is available online at www.doli.state.mn.us/pdf/pmsi_msa_overview.pdf. 6) Penalty subcommittees Rangel noted the task force had its first penalty subcommittee meeting in September. Robert Farber, Rangel and DLI staff members met to share ideas and experiences they were seeing at their companies. He announced they would meet immediately after today’s meeting and encouraged all the task-force members to participate in the discussion. There was no new business.

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8) Future agenda items Rangel announced he invited the Workers’ Compensation Reinsurance Association’s (WCRA’s) Catastrophic Nurse Natalie Haefner, R.N., to come to the September meeting as a resource for information about catastrophic injuries. Discussion occurred about undocumented workers and immigrants. Todd noted DLI looked into the immigration issue from an agency standpoint. The only information DLI could provide was that you are required to treat them the same way you treat other injured workers, but you cannot do anything illegal. Todd noted John Stiffin is funded by the Workers’ Compensation Division and the Safety Codes and Services Division to do outreach and education for immigrant workers. Rangel suggested Stiffin be invited to a future meeting to tell the task force what he sees and what resources are available. Todd agreed to do that or get the information. Kasting noted undocumented workers are a legislative issue and it was agreed it was not an appropriate discussion for this group. Discussion occurred about immigrant workers and how to find resources. For example, employers should be educated that safety posters should be visuals not written in English. Kasting suggested members talk about what they see and prioritize the issues. They could also discuss what insurers can do and what DLI can do. Todd noted all the department’s posters are published in 12 languages and that an employer would have to find the best way to communicate with its employees. DLI can say what has to be provided, but not how. Todd clarified that the discussion should be about what task-force members, as insurers, can share with each other. Kasting agreed. 9) Paper reports Rangel noted the case law summary was in members’ meeting packets and pointed out the reports that are available online. Rangel said the next meeting is May 16, and invited members to stay for the penalty subcommittee meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 10:28 a.m. Sincerely,

Debbie Caswell Executive Secretary