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  • 26 Jul 2018 4:29 PM | Anonymous

    July 12, Wisconsin Health News

    Workers’ compensation premiums for businesses are set to decline by 6.03 percent this October, according to a statement from the Department of Workforce Development.  

    That could result in an estimated $134 million in annual savings for businesses, the Tuesday statement noted. It’s the third year that workers’ compensation rates have declined, following an 8.46 percent decrease last year and a 3.19 percent decline in 2016. 

    “A safe workplace results in a more productive and profitable one for employers,” Ted Nickel, insurance commissioner, said in a statement. "Employers are recognizing the relation between their employees' safety and the savings that ensue as premiums continue to decline." 

    Mark Grapentine, senior vice president of government relations for the Wisconsin Medical Society, said the report shows that “good news keeps coming” for the state’s workers’ compensation program. 

    “We’re already a national model, with faster return to work, fantastic patient satisfaction and ready access to the highest-quality healthcare in the nation – all at a cost per claim that is below the national average,” he wrote in an email. “Another significant insurance rate reduction is just more evidence that Wisconsin’s system is win-win for both businesses and their employees.” 

    Grapentine added that there’s room for improvement, pointing to a need for the state’s on-the-job injury rate drop below the national average. He added that healthcare providers are “always striving to find better ways to improve care.” 

    Chris Reader, director of health and human resources policy, also lauded the announcement. He said the reduction follows a national trend as employers and workers have invested in and focused on safety. But he noted that costs for medical treatment for workplace injuries are on the rise. 

    “Had Wisconsin enacted a medical fee schedule like almost every other state, medical costs also would have been kept in check and the insurance reduction today would have been even greater," he wrote in an email. 

    Reader also argued that the rate reduction doesn’t mean much to fully-insured employers who don’t pay insurance costs and are left footing “incredibly high medical bills.” 

    Proposals to establish a fee schedule haven't gained traction with lawmakers.

  • 26 Jul 2018 4:27 PM | Anonymous

    The annual Wisconsin Health News CEO Roundtable is August 14 in Madison. A panel of the state’s leading health system and hospital leaders will discuss the most pressing issues facing their industry.

    Panelists include:

    • Dr. Sue Turney, CEO, Marshfield Clinic Health System
    • Robert Van Meeteren, CEO, Reedsburg Area Medical Center
    • Dr. Alan Kaplan, CEO, UW Health

    Register now (link).

  • 12 Aug 2016 4:36 AM | Anonymous

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its ruling today in the Ascaris Mayo v. Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund case to uphold the $750,000 cap on noneconomic damages, thus restoring medical malpractice caps in Wisconsin.

    In January, a coalition of medical specialty organizations jointly filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the cap. The collaborative efforts of Wisconsin’s medical community resulted in a major victory for physicians and helped preserve access to healthcare across Wisconsin.

    An amicus brief was filed on behalf of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians, the Wisconsin Academy of Ophthalmology, the Wisconsin Orthopaedic Society, the Wisconsin Psychiatric Association, the Wisconsin Radiological Society, the Wisconsin Society of Anesthesiologists, and the Wisconsin Society of Plastic Surgeons by Guy DuBeau and Axley Brynelson, LLP.

    The case centers around Ascaris Mayo, who lost her limbs after a Milwaukee emergency room failed to identify an untreated infection. A court awarded her economic damages as well as $15 million intended to compensate for pain and suffering.

    The state’s Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund, which covers large medical malpractice claims in the state, moved to reduce the $15 million to $750,000. An appeals court backed the award and ruled the law unconstitutional.

    Chief Justice Patience Roggensack wrote the majority opinion upholding the law, in part because she said the Legislature acted rationally when creating the law.

    “We conclude that the Legislature's comprehensive plan that guarantees payment while controlling liability for medical malpractice through the use of insurance, contributions to the fund and a cap on noneconomic damages has a rational basis,” she wrote. “Therefore, it is not facially unconstitutional.”

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