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Workers’ Compensation Insurers’ Task Force May 16, 2007 minutes
Members present Mary Abraham; Westfield Group Kathy Berg; Liberty Mutual Charlie Bierman; Mayo Clinic David Clark for Dennis Ballinger; Western National Pat Grove for Karen Clayton Ebert; MN Counties Insurance Trust Robert Farber; Berkley Risk Todd Sime for Ken Gildow; RTW Meg Kasting; SFM Clair McCoy; GAB Cindy Weingart for David Oertli; Sedgwick Rob Rangel; Broadspire Nancy Ross, City of Minneapolis Laurie Simonsen; Travelers Cindy Van Eyll; General Casualty Gary Westman; MN DOER Members excused Jodie Connor Ken Gildow Robert Johnson Staff members present Debbie Caswell Ralph Hapness Phil Moosbrugger Patricia Todd

The meeting was called to order by co-chairperson Gary Westman at 9:07 a.m. Task-force members and staff introduced themselves. The agenda was approved as presented. 3) Announcements Assistant Commissioner Patricia Todd gave an update regarding the Workers’ Compensation Division’s (WCD) five-year Performance Plan, which is in the second year. The managers had an off-site meeting this year to re-evaluate the plan. In that meeting, they discussed core values for WCD: 1. exceptional customer service; 2. every employee feels value in the work performed and works together to make a better us; 3. data and process integrity; 4. staff members will manage their workload so that the work product is completed accurately and efficiently; and 5. we constantly ask the question “are we doing the right things the right way?”.

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They also identified the following future statements about where the organization wants to be in five years: 1. 2. 3. 4. to have a top notch regulatory system; to have state-of-the-art technology; to have a consultative approach; and to have the Workers’ Compensation Division develop a culture of mutual respect and an environment of “fun,” with staff members who are well-respected in their field and sought after by external entities.

Todd gave an update about the Data-driven Workers’ Compensation (DDWC) Project. She noted there is an insurer working-session May 22, 2007. The last external stakeholder DDWC meeting is scheduled on May 24, 2007. Internal meetings are being held to review the project report and to plan future activities. Todd noted a budget initiative for additional monies and hardware has been approved for this project. Todd reported there were meetings this year regarding pay for performance. The meetings identified outreach opportunities. As such, the department is exploring online training for various topics, such as: information about what happens if you get hurt, for employees; adjuster training modules, such as PPD ratings; and the treatment parameters for online review. Legislative update The department’s budget bill, House File 1208, was passed out of the House and Senate and was vetoed by the governor. Of interest to the WCITF is it included allocation of workers’ compensation funds for lifts in nursing homes and an ombudsman for meatpacking plants. Various meetings were held with legislators, regarding the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) bill but it was never brought forward. The WCAC will look at what it wants to bring forward next year. Penalty subcommittee Rob Rangel said he, Meg Kasting, Robert Farber and Charlie Bierman – from the task force – and Steve Masters, Phil Moosbrugger and Penny Grev – from the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) – met after the most recent meeting to discuss penalties. They shared their experiences with penalties. Rangel noted some First Report of Injury forms do not have the Social Security number and recommended insurers get a “dummy Social Security number” by calling Pat Johnson at DLI at (651) 284-5272. Insurers also need to make sure the date of injury, the employer and insurer information are on that report. If an insurer needs training, the WCD may be available, provided at least 15 to 20 people are at the session. Masters encouraged insurers to call him if they get a penalty and have questions or believe it is not valid. It was noted there is a manual on the DLI Web site about EDI and how it works. Rangel announced the subcommittee members do not feel it is necessary to continue with the penalty subcommittee. If any issues arise, members should call Masters or bring the issue to the attention of the task force for discussion.

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5) Presentation about medical costs Kasting gave a presentation, Rising medical costs in Minnesota’s workers’ comp system: what are the issues and are there any solutions? She noted this information was presented to the Minnesota Self-Insurers Association last summer, so some of the information was dated but was still worthwhile. She did update some information and suggested medical cost containment efforts should be viewed in a historical context because it is analyzed every year to find what is going to work for Minnesota. The presentation is available online at www.doli.state.mn.us/pdf/sfm_wcmedcosts.pdf. Bierman noted the information presented made it look like workers’ compensation is much more lucrative and said that did not apply for Mayo. Kasting referred him to the NCCI Web site. Todd noted NCCI has done extensive studies comparing medical costs and workers’ compensation costs in different states and it is a good place to go for more detail. Kasting noted the statistic commonly articulated is that workers’ compensation costs are 40 percent to 50 percent higher than Group Health. She noted people would be interested in hearing what the Group Health data indicates. Bierman said for the same service they net more through Group Health at Mayo then workers’ compensation. They charge the same amount for everything, but the amount actually paid to Mayo by Group Health is much higher than what is paid by workers’ compensation. This is related to the reduction of the regular fee. 6) New business Julie Marquardt, DLI, will be invited to a future meeting to give an update about the medical fee schedule. DLI’s Research and Statistics unit will give an update about the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation System Report, 2004 and will discuss the cost of medical procedures. Members suggested that the day of the week for a future meeting be changed and asked that Dr. Lohman be invited to educate the task force about the treatment parameters. Kasting suggested they wait until medication treatment parameters are approved by the Medical Services Review Board. 7) Future agenda Members expressed interest in having DLI Community Service Representative John Stiffin at a future meeting to explain what he does. A representative from the Workers’ Compensation Reinsurance Association (WCRA) will give a presentation about the timeliness of reporting to the WCRA, catastrophic case management and the services available through the WCRA, at the Sept. 19, 2007, meeting.

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8) Paper reports Westman noted the case law summary was in members’ packets and pointed out the minutes are available online at http://www.doli.state.mn.us/wcitf.html. The meeting was adjourned at 10:31 a.m. Respectfully submitted,

Debbie Caswell Executive Secretary dc:s