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Workers' Compensation Advisory Council

Nov. 9, 2005
minutes

Voting members: Staff members:

Susan Olson for James Cavanaugh Jamie Anderson


Don Gerdesmeier Scott Brener
Mike Hickey Debbie Caswell
Glen Johnson Jim Feckey
Tom Hesse for David Olson Nancy Leppink
Reed Pollack Cindy Miner
Andrea Trimble-Hart for Brad Robinson Patricia Todd
Diane Edwards for Julie Schnell Brian Zaidman
Gary Thaden
Brad Lehto for Ray Waldron Visitors:

Voting members excused: Bruce D. Anderson; State Representative


Craig Anderson; MWCIA
Wayne Ellefson Randy Bradley; Alaris Group
Paul Cassidy; Leonard, Street & Deinerd
Voting members absent: Brian Hicks; MAPS
Mike Johns; RTW
Stan Daniels Todd Johnson; WCRA
ALJ William Johnson; OAH
Nonvoting members: David Kunz; MCA
Matthew Lemke; Winthrop & Weinstine
Rep. Denny McNamara Elisabeth Long; House Research
Rep. Michael Nelson Brandon Miller
Louise Montague; MOTA/Ergo Results
Nonvoting members absent: John Nesse; MN Drywall & Plaster Assn
Sandy Olenteh; Park Nicollet
Sen. Tom Bakk Mark Pixler; MAPS
Sen. Geoff Michel Linda Sanding; Allina Health System
Erin Sexton' MMA and MOS
Scott Sexton; Corvel
Sarah Sfuillace; TBG
Russ Sundquist
Deneace Tucek; Health South
David Wulf; MTLA

Commissioner Scott Brener called the meeting to order at 9:40 a.m. Roll was
called. A quorum was present on both sides.

Glen Johnson made a motion to approve the Feb. 9, 2005 minutes. Brad Lehto
seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion and it passed.
Workers' Compensation Advisory Council -2- November 9, 2005
Minutes

The agenda was discussed and a legislative proposal from Rep. Bruce Anderson
was added.

IV. A. Commissioner's update

Commissioner Brener introduced Patricia Todd and announced her appointment


as the assistant commissioner of the Workers’ Compensation Division. He said her
process improvement approach and analytical abilities enabled MNOSHA Compliance to
focus its efforts and led them toward enhanced performance. He expects her to apply
similar methodologies within the Workers’ Compensation Division.

Brener discussed the reorganization of the Workers’ Compensation Division. The


Customer Assistance and Compliance Services units no longer exist. A new Benefit
Management and Resolution (BMR) unit has been defined. BMR seeks early intervention
and resolution of disputes using assistance, education and alternative dispute-resolution.
It informs and advises all parties involved in the workers’ compensation system of their
rights and responsibilities under the Workers’ Compensation Act and provides technical
assistance to those parties. The unit develops and implements workers’ compensation
medical policy, including certified managed care, fee schedules and treatment
parameters, and certifies qualified rehabilitation consultants. As needed, it issues orders
and penalties to assure compliance.

Brener discussed the department’s new Construction Codes and Licensing


Division. He amalgamated five code units from other state agencies into the Department
of Labor and Industry (DLI) to streamline the functions. The Building Codes Division of
the Department of Administration, the plumbing code activities at the Department of
Health, the Board of Electricity, the rulemaking and code management activities of the
Fire Marshal at the Department of Public Safety, and the responsibilities of the
Department of Commerce with respect to residential contractors and remodelers will be
transferred to DLI, which currently has responsibility for boiler and high-pressure-piping
codes. DLI will lead the creation of a customer-centered, online licensing transaction
center for professional, occupational and business licenses. This initiative will include
developing a single source or contact for Minnesotans to apply for or renew a license and
a common processing for getting the critical information to the 40 agencies that
determine eligibility for licenses. The expectation is that citizens and businesses will
experience a higher level of satisfaction while agencies find it easier and cheaper to get
the information to the decisionmakers who decide whether licenses should be issued.

Brener reported MNOSHA is working to enhance voluntary protection due to the


increase in fatalities in the construction industry. Additional positions have been added to
the department’s MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation unit.
Workers' Compensation Advisory Council -3- November 9, 2005
Minutes

IV. B. Legislative proposals

Brener announced there would be no votes at the meeting. His intent was to begin
framing a workers’ compensation bill.

OAH proposals

Judge William Johnson, the assistant administrative law judge at the Office of
Administrative Hearings (OAH), asked the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council
(WCAC) to consider two legislative proposals. He asked that Minnesota Statutes
§176.155, subd. 2, regarding the use of a neutral physician list by the judges, be removed
because it is no longer used. Members expressed some concern regarding this change. He
also requested additional language be added to M.S. §176.421, subd. 4, to allow the fax
filing of the Notice of Appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals. There
were no concerns regarding this change.

Brener agreed to fold these two issues into the WCAC bill that goes forward.

Discussion followed regarding the workers’ compensation judges’ use of the


treatment parameters. Johnson is conducting surveys to determine the use of the
treatment parameters.

Lehto mentioned a letter from Chief Administrative Law Judge Raymond Krause,
written last summer, about the treatment parameters and offered to provide a copy to
WCAC members at the next meeting.

Medical providers

Rep. Bruce Anderson asked DLI to look into whether medical providers have to
provide services to workers’ compensation patients and whether the medical provider can
require prior authorization for treatment by the workers’ compensation insurer.

Discussion followed and Brener agreed to evaluate these two issues.

WCAC bill discussion

Jamie Anderson, DLI legislative liaison, reported DLI is looking into two issues
and will bring them to the WCAC at the December meeting. Data practices in Chapters
13, 175 and 176 may be clarified. They are also looking at the intervention process to see
if statutory changes are needed to clarify those provisions or to make them less
burdensome.

Lehto asked the department to look into the issues outlined in the summary from
Dr. Jong Lee in members’ packets. Brener agreed to look at the letter from Rep. Phyllis
Kahn and the summary from Dr. Lee.
Workers' Compensation Advisory Council -4- November 9, 2005
Minutes

IV. E. Paper reports

Discussion occurred about the need for the Commerce Report on Workers’
Compensation Rates and the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Insurers’ Association
(MWCIA) Ratemaking Report, as well as the manner in which the information is shared
with the WCAC. They questioned what the pure premium base rate indicates and how it
relates to Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system. Craig Anderson, an actuary from
the MWCIA, offered to come back to the WCAC with some sense of what the pure
premium base rate is and how it relates to the marketplace. Discussion followed, with no
conclusion about whether there should be a verbal report or whether to continue with a
written report.

The 2006 WCAC meeting schedule was included in the meeting packets and will
be provided on the department’s Web site at www.doli.state.mn.us/wcac.html.

V. Adjournment

Gary Thaden made a motion to adjourn at 10:32 a.m. Reed Pollack seconded
the motion. All voted in favor of the motion and it passed.

Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Caswell
Executive Secretary

dc/s