October 05, 2011

Personnel and Procedural Changes at IWCC

October 05, 2011

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has announced personnel and procedural changes impacting the practice statewide.  As to the former, Governor Quinn has made a number of Commission appointments that include the hiring of eight new arbitrators.  The following is the information released by the Commission.

The calls of former arbitrators will be handled as follows:

 

Former arbitratorHearing SiteNovember ArbitratorDecember ArbitratorJanuary Arbitrator
DeVriendtChicagoMasonMasonMason
GaliciaChicagoKaneBlackeliminated; all cases reassigned
GiordanoPeoriaGranadaLuskinSee below.
HaganChicagoPulia/DohertyDohertyDoherty
LammieChicagoCarlsonFloresFlores
NalefskiHerrinLuskinGranadaSee below.
PetersonChicagoThompson-SmithThompson-SmithThompson-Smith
PrietoChicagoKelmansonKelmansonKelmanson

In addition, Arbitrators Jutila and Neal are out on medical leave. Arbitrator Jutila’s call will be handled by Arbitrator Williams during Arbitrator Williams’ trial dates. Various arbitrators will cover for Arbitrator Neal.

Starting in January 2012, arbitrators have been assigned to the new Downstate arbitration regions as follows:

Region

Hearing Sites

1

Collinsville, Herrin, Mt. Vernon

2

Quincy, Springfield, Urbana

3

Bloomington, Kewanee, Peoria

4

Geneva, Joliet, Ottawa

5

Rockford, Waukegan, Woodstock

6

Wheaton (Three Chicago arbitrators will be assigned to appear in Wheaton.)

One arbitrator will appear at each hearing site each month. Arbitrators will rotate in the sequence shown, e.g., Arbitrator Simpson will appear in Collinsville in January, Mt. Vernon in February, and Herrin in March. Put another way, by site, in Collinsville, Arbitrator Simpson will appear in January, Arbitrator Luskin in February, and Arbitrator Granada in March. See the 2012 downstate arbitration calendars for more detail.

Procedurally, all cases, including those with emergency petitions, will be randomly assigned among each region’s arbitrators. A party with a 19(b) or 8(a) case will need to appear before the assigned arbitrator.

To accommodate the three-arbitrator regions, effective 1/1/12, we will return to 90-day continuance cycles. We are in the process of reassigning cases to the regions, and will send corrected notices. Any partially tried cases will stay with the original arbitrator.

Please send settlement contracts to the assigned or covering arbitrator. Settlement contracts may be presented to any arbitrator at the assigned venue, or may be mailed only to the assigned arbitrator.

During these transition months, please do not bifurcate trials if at all possible. That only adds to the complexity of tracking and reassigning cases.

All tried-but-undecided cases and partially tried cases will be redistributed soon among arbitrators. If proposed decisions are due and a case is unassigned, email the proposed decision to Bertha Parker. The Commission will prepare and pay for a transcript. If parties want a new trial, they can present a motion immediately to the newly assigned arbitrator, who will determine if sufficient cause exists to grant a new trial.

Section 8.2(a) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that, each year, fee schedule rates shall increase or decrease by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index-U (CPI-U) in the previous year.

The 2012 rates will be posted as soon as the vendor, Optuminsight, calculates them and obtains information about new and deleted codes. The rates are usually posted at the end of the year. We will give notice on this news web page and through our ListServe when the rates are available.

Independent Contractual Arbitrators Hired

Four individuals have been hired as independent contractual arbitrators: H. Case Ellis, Daniel Leahy, Alan Rosen, and Edward J. Schoenbaum.

Pursuant to House Bill 1698/Public Act 97-18, the claims of all current and former IWCC employees and appointees shall be heard by an outside independent arbitrator who does not practice before the IWCC. This is an occasional position, to be paid by the hour. The contractual arbitrators will attend the Commission’s judicial training programs with the other arbitrators.

New Downstate Arbitration Regions Announced

As directed by House Bill 1698/Public Act 97-18, new downstate arbitration regions will take effect on January 1, 2012.

 

Region

Hearing Sites

1

Collinsville, Herrin, Mt. Vernon

2

Quincy, Springfield, Urbana

3

Bloomington, Kewanee, Peoria

4

Geneva, Joliet, Ottawa

5

Rockford, Waukegan, Woodstock

6

Wheaton (Three Chicago arbitrators will be assigned to appear in Wheaton.)

Three arbitrators will appear at each hearing site, and all cases, including those with emergency petitions, will be randomly assigned among a region’s arbitrators. A party with a 19(b) or 8(a) case may need to travel to another hearing site to appear immediately before the assigned arbitrator. A party may file a 19(b) or 8(a) motion for hearing before the assigned arbitrator at another location for any trial date.

To accommodate the three-arbitrator regions, we will return to 90-day continuance cycles. We are in the process of reassigning cases to the regions, and will send corrected notices. Any partially tried cases will stay with the original arbitrator.  A new accident location table will be posted soon.

WC Advisory Insurance Rates Decrease 8.8%; Lower Fee Schedule Rates Posted

In response to the recent enactment of House Bill 1698/Public Act 97-18, NCCI filed for an 8.8% decrease in voluntary advisory insurance rates. The Illinois Department of Insurance announced the change took effect September 1, 2011. Insurers may charge more or less than the advisory insurance rates, but the filings influence the market.

The decrease is due to the 30% reduction in fee schedule amounts that took effect 9/1/11.

DOI Now Accepting PPP Applications

The Department of Insurance is now accepting Preferred Provider Program (PPP) applications. The DOI will list approved PPPs on the page, “Approved Workers’ Compensation Preferred Provider Program Administrator List.” If you have questions, contact Kari Dennison(217/782-1771) at the Department of Insurance.

After an employee notifies the employer of an injury, an employer that has a PPP must notify the employee with the IWCC – approved PPP notification form, copy of which is attached.

If employers wish to notify all employees of the PPP, the Commission also provides a general notification form (this pro-active notification is not statutorily required).  A copy of this form is also attached.

Current Panels and Commissioners:

Commissioners by panel:Panel APanel BPanel C
Employee representatives:Thomas TyrrellCharles DeVriendtDavid Gore
Public representatives:Daniel DonohooYolaine Dauphin MichaelPaul Latz
Employer representatives:Kevin LambornNancy LindsayMario Basurto