SUPPORT WORKERS’ COMPENSATION REFORM SB 1066
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
Illinois Chamber of Commerce
Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
Illinois Retail Merchants Association
National Federation of Independent Business
Illinois Construction Industry Committee
SB 1066 represents a positive step forward in reforming Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation system. It is by no means a perfect piece of legislation, and will not end the debate on Workers’ Compensation, but we anticipate that SB 1066 will reduce the cost of workers’ compensation for employers.
While we sought a more ambitious bill, the Joint Employers Group believes that there are enough good measures in the legislation that it deserves our support and we are encouraging lawmakers and Governor Quinn to support SB 1066.
One of the most important factors leading to this conclusion is that SB 1066 should reduce the costs associated with Workers’ Compensation without doing any harm to employees. Among the key provisions in the Workers’ Compensation bill are:
1. There will be a 15 percent across the board reduction in the Medical Fee Schedule.
2. Alcohol or illegal drugs will now be presumed to be the cause of the injury if a worker is injured while under their influence. Under current law, an employee can be entitled to receive WC benefits if they are under the influence of illegal drugs and alcohol.
3. Workers’ compensation benefits for wage differential will be capped at the age of 67 or 5 years after the injury, whichever is later. This is a major step forward because current law allows these benefits to be paid beyond retirement age.
4. If an employee is injured on the job, they have to first see a physician chosen by the employer. Injured employees can only see one additional physician if they are dissatisfied with the quality of care. Under current law, employees can “doctor shop” and visit as many physicians as they like in order to get a favorable opinion. Current law does not provide employers with any ability to choose the physician.
5. It strengthens the utilization review procedure meaning that medical treatments received by injured employees are subject to peer review and must fall within nationally recognized treatment standards and evidenced based medicine. This helps eliminate the subjective determination of doctors who can order countless tests and treatments that significantly increase costs. We believe this will result in better care for injured workers and enhanced return to work.