Workers Compensation Advisory Council Discusses Medical Cost Containment Plan

MacIver News Service | November 13, 2013

[Madison, Wisc…] Medical providers differed with labor and management leaders at the monthly meeting of the Workers Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) on how to lower medical costs for Workers Comp payments.

The Council has been debating the topic for the past few months, and both sides have different proposals for reducing medical costs.

At a meeting in October, labor and management members of the Council seemed ready to move forward with their plan to tie payments to 175 percent of the Medicare reimbursement rate. The MacIver News Service reported earlier that median payments from Workers Comp were nearly five times greater than the Medicare rate on average in 2012.

Medical providers, however, disagreed with labor and management’s proposal and asked for more time to review it and present their own plan.

About a week prior to WCAC’s November 12th meeting, the medical providers sent out their plan to save the Workers Compensation program money.

“It is extraordinary for government, in effect, to establish basic contract terms between two private organizations via legislative mandate,” the proposal from medical providers reads. “Rate setting by the government, implemented through a fee schedule is exactly that.”

Medical providers suggested a discount system as the main plan to reduce costs for the Workers Comp program. They propose a 10 percent reduction on billed charges if the claim is paid within 30 days and a five percent reduction if it is paid within 45 days.

An industry source told MacIver prior to the WCAC meeting that the medical providers’ proposal was “very underwhelming.”

After a nearly all-day private caucus, the Council came back together. They once again decided to postpone a decision on how medical costs will be paid for moving forward.

The next meeting is scheduled for December 3rd, and WCAC believes a decision may be made on that day.