Beginning January 4, 2011, in a veto session, workers’ compensation reform came to Illinois in legislation now known as Senate Bill 1066. This bill emerged after three Senate and two House public hearings. Representative John Bradley (D) and Dan Brady (R) were responsible for presenting the bill to the House. Senate Bill 1066 included numerous amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act which would have resulted in some financial relief for employers. The top five of those amendments in order of savings were as follows:
1. Modification of Section 8(d‑1) also known as wage loss. As current case law now stands, this provision is payable for claimant’s lifetime. The amendment would have capped payments through age 67 or five years whichever was longer.
2. Modification of the Medical Fee Schedule reducing medical costs by 15% and limiting to billable Geo Zips from 29 to four.
3. Expansion of the utilization review process requiring the IWCC to give properly presented reviews a rebuttal presumption of correctness and disallowing medical bills not adhering to the guidelines.
4. Allow for the worker’s first physician treatment to be selected by the employer, and,
5. Created a rebuttable presumptive bar to a worker whose injuries were caused by intoxication from alcohol or drugs.
After an intense lobbying effort by the Illinois Medical Society and plaintiff trial lawyers’ bar associations, the bill passed out of executive committee but was never brought to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote. Senate President John Cullerton (D) and Minority Leader Chris Radogno (R) have both spoken of revisiting workers’ compensation reform in the Spring Session. It is presumed that House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) and Representative Tom Cross (R) have similar intentions.
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