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Local News

August 22, 2013

Area officials debate workers' compensation

(Continued)

An SLU award is given for the partial or total loss of the use of a body part. The SLU tables haven’t been updated since 1999, and Sampson asserted that they did not reflect current medical advances.

The state currently uses its own medical and treatment guidelines.

Sampson said that adopting these measures would create a consistency and predictability for workers’ compensation claims that would drive down premiums.

“The solutions are there,” he said.

Said Crouch, when addressing the concern that reforming the system would negatively impact labor, “It’s not taking benefits away, it’s making sure that benefits are appropriately paid. There’s higher benefits paid in other states at lower costs to employers.”

As for why non-employers should care about workers’ compensation costs, the panelists said that higher premiums prevented businesses from hiring more people and expanding.

It was also highlighted that taxpayers paid for the workers’ compensation insurance for public employees.

Said Sampson, “As a taxpayer you pay workers’ comp for the school, for the municipality, for the state.”

Lopez said the forum went well, and seemed optimistic about the potential for reform.

“Our goal, and this is really the focus today, is to make a discrete list,” he said, “and get everyone on the same page saying the same thing, so that those changes can be put in place right away.”

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