HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

BUSINESS, LABOR, AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS

 

 

January 17, 2005   Hearing Room B

8:30 AM      Tapes 4 - 5

Corrected 10/07/2005

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Alan Brown, Chair

Rep. Sal Esquivel, Vice Chair

Rep. Mike Schaufler, Vice Chair

Rep. Paul Holvey

Rep. George Gilman

Rep. Chip Shields

 

MEMBER EXCUSED:            Rep. Derrick Kitts

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Janet Adkins, Committee Administrator

Katie Howard, Committee Assistant

 

 

ISSUES HEARD AND WITNESSES:

                                                Workers’ Compensation Division Overview – Informational Meeting

                                                                       John Shilts, manager

                                                 Management Labor Advisory Committee Overview – Informational Meeting

                                                            J.L. Wilson, National Federation of Independent Business

                                                            Brad Witt, Oregon AFL-CIO

                                                 Workers’ Compensation Division Overview – Informational Meeting

                                                            Maureen Brock

                                                Introduction of Committee Bills – Work Session

                                                    

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 4, A

001

Chair Brown

Call the meeting to order. 8:33 a.m.

008

Rep. Shields

Mentions Martin Luther King Jr., Ms. Pauline Bradford of his district, and the civil rights movement in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

022

Chair Brown

Opens the informational meeting.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION DIVISION OVERVIEW - INFORMATIONAL MEETING

024

John Shilts

Manager, Workers’ Compensation Division. Reads from testimony (EXHIBIT A).

120

Shilts

Reads from testimony. Begins with Department of Consumer and Business Services. (EXHIBIT A)

207

Rep. Schaufler

Asks to be provided with the exact language of the physicians’ surveys and the results, and if the answers are more than yes or no, he would like to be provided with examples of the positive and negative answers to the questions.  

214

Shilts

Affirms that he can provide committee with a copy of the report, which does include specific answers.

219

Rep. Schaufler

Clarifies that he wants the questions that were asked and the results and a sampling of the open-ended questions.

224

Shilts

Asks if the committee wants the questions that were asked of all the physicians or just the Insurer Medical Examinations’ (IME) physicians.

229

Rep. Schaufler

Asks how much work it would be to give the committee both.

330

Shilts

States it would not be that much more work to do both.

232

Rep. Holvey

Asks about statistics regarding total claims incidents dropping by 45 percent and if the statistics include workers who are not covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

240

Rep. Shields

Explains that the statistics only include workers who file Workers’ Compensation claims, and workers who should have been covered by Workers’ Compensation but are working for noncompliant employers.

249

Rep. Holvey

Emphasizes that he is trying to figure out if the numbers of independent contractors or 1099 employees who are not covered by Workers’ Compensation are included in the statistics. Asks if there is a growth in areas that are not covered by Workers’ Compensation

258

Rep. Shields

Indicates that the division does track that rather carefully. States that the division looks at how many noncompliant employer claims exist. Explains that the number of claims has held steady although it does vary from quarter to quarter. Addresses the broader question and talks about non-subject workers. Explains that they have not seen a growth in these areas.

MANAGEMENT LABOR ADVISORY COMMITTEE OVERVIEW - INFORMATIONAL MEETING

299

J.L. Wilson

Co-Chair, Management Labor Advisory Committee (MLAC). Represents National Federation of Independent Business as well. Talks about 1990s Workers’ Compensation Reforms and the creation of MLAC. States that he wants to keep Workers’ Compensation in well-defined parameters . Indicates that MLAC engages in dialogue on total workers’ disability awards and vocational rehabilitation. Reports that MLAC has come to an agreement on these issues but has not reached an agreement on IMEs. Mentions the Governor supports what the committee supports. Says that MLAC consists of five management members and five labor. 

366

Brad Witt

Secretary Treasurer, Oregon AFL-CIO. Member, MLAC. Co-chair, MLAC  Subcommittee on IMEs. Mentions that MLAC will be addressing vocational concepts and total permanent disability. Talks about total permanent disability awards. Explains that MLAC made the recommendation that someone who has been awarded permanent disability must have the chance for at least one level of appeals and the worker’s condition must show material improvement vocationally or in their medical capacity prior to the reexamination of their case. States that a rescinded award will qualify a worker for rehabilitation. Details how a worker who has had benefits for more than ten year must be approved by the administrative law judge at the Workers’ Compensation Board. Recommends that gainful employment is defined as the threshold of the federal poverty level in relation to family members. Asks if committee has any questions about the bills that address total permanent disability.

TAPE 5, A

 

011

Chair Brown

Asks if there are bills that are pending.

012

Witt

Affirms that there are. Explains that IMEs have only been through the subcommittee and MLAC has not had a chance to debate them as of yet. Recommends certification for physicians performing IMEs and education for everyone involved in the IME process. Recommends a counseling period with the physician after the IME is preformed. Mentions desire for a complaints process and the implementation of an exit exam. Explains that any complaints that the worker had would go through the Workers’ Compensation Division and legitimate claims would be considered during the recertification process.  Notes that the committee has heard a “good deal” of testimony from IME doctors who are frustrated because their patients do not come to the IME.

060

Rep. Esquivel

Asks if the IME issue is the same one that the Interim Senate Committee on General Government broached. Mentions workers having to travel from Southern Oregon to Portland to get IMEs. 

066

Witts

Affirms that it is the same issue. Explains that subcommittee has heard a great deal of testimony about the effect of travel on workers. Says that it is the one remaining key topic that the subcommittee has yet to resolve. Indicates that the subcommittee will be recommending to MLAC penalties for those workers who do not show up for examination without advance notice or cause. Offers to answer questions.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION DIVISION OVERVIEW - INFORMATIONAL MEETING

105

Maureen Brock

Chair, Workers’ Compensation Board. Explains that the board serves as a litigation forum and does not take an active stance on legislation.  Says that they receive 9300 requests for hearings every year. Discusses the process requests go through in the division. Offers to answer questions (EXHIBIT B).

140

Rep. Holvey

States that he has heard many complaints from injured workers about the process of making claims and collecting workers’ compensation when that worker has worked for many different companies and has to be “at the whim” of many different insurance companies. Asks if there is any resolution to the dispute when lawyers and insurance companies are trying to determine who is going to pay. 

167

Brock

Explains that the board does not have any direct control over these issues. Offers to provide Rep. Holvey with the number of cases the board hears in that area. Explains that the process is a policy decision that has been made in Oregon about which insurance company pays.

188

Rep. Holvey

Follows up that he would like more ideas about how to solve the problem. Conveys that he is concerned about the worker and the years of examination that the worker must go through with each of the insurance companies.

201

Rep. Schaufler

Expresses interest in receiving the numbers about how many people are involved in these types of disputes.

204

Chair Brown

Clarifies that the statistics should go to Janet Adkins and then to the entire committee.

207

Brock

Confirms that she will get the statistics for the committee.

209

Chair Brown

States for the record that Rep. Kitts is an excused absence. Opens work session for purpose of introducing committee bills.

INTRODUCTION OF COMMITTEE BILLS - WORK SESSION

219

Rep. Esquivel

MOTION:  Moves LC 1533 AND LC 1534 BE INTRODUCED as committee bills.

222

 

VOTE:  6-0-1

EXCUSED:  1 – Rep. Kitts

 

Chair Brown

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

230

Adkins

Points out that  1533 is at the request of the Funeral Directors’ Association and LC 1534 is at the request of the Recreational Vehicle Industries’ Association.

235

Chair Brown

Closes the work session and adjourns the meeting at 9:19 AM.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. Workers’ Compensation Division, prepared testimony, John Shilts, 12 pp
  2. Workers’ Compensation Division, prepared testimony, Maureen Brock, 2 pp
  3. Introductions, LC 1533, staff, 3 pp
  4. Introductions, LC 1534, staff, 2 pp