Legislation Update: Illinois Workers’ Rights Remain Protected As Workers Compensation Bill Not Called

Last week a major victory occurred for the rights of Illinois workers.  The Illinois legislature decided not to call a bill that would have dramatically stripped the Workers Compensation rights of Illinois workers .

The bill in question would have made the following dramatic changes to the Illinois Workers Compensation Act :

Limiting The Choice Of Doctor

This proposed legislation limits the injured worker’s right to choose a doctor by automatically sending them to the company doctor of choice.  The “company doctor” has the financial incentive to get the employee back to work as soon as possible, instead of as safely as possible; this means that necessary tests may not get ordered, procedures may not be preformed, and specialist visits may be limited.

Utilization Review (UR)

UR creates presumption in favor of UR which will be almost impossible to overcome.  It takes away treating doctors discretion to determine the best treatment for an injured worker.  This is a one-size-fits-all solution to an issue that demands individualized attention and treatment.

Changes In Wage Differential Claims

 Significant caps (67 years of age or 5 years) and reviewable for economic change 4 times per year. Wage differential is designed to preserve the earning power of an employee injured at work by partially making up the difference in the lost wages after the injury.  These workers no longer have the ability or opportunity to earn the wage they once did.  Wage beneficial benefits help make up some of the difference of lost wages due to a workplace injury.

Reduction of Medical Fee Schedule

This legislation reduces the medical fee schedule for procedures and services rendered by doctors and hospitals.  This reduction will result in fewer doctors wanting to treat patients on worker’s compensation.

Fortunately this bill was never called for a vote by the Illinois Speaker of the House at the end of the legislative session. The above proposals would have chipped away the two (2) most important worker protections: proper medical treatment and compensation to make the injured worker whole. The Illinois Workers Compensation Act was designed a long time ago to protect injured workers  and it is our duty as Illinois residents to continue to protect these rights.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a work accident  or believe they have an Illinois Workers Compensation  case, then call Chicago work comp attorney , Aaron J. Bryant, for a free consultation  or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com