State’s workers’ compensation overhaul faces tough road

Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday unveiled his proposed overhaul of Illinois’ workers’ compensation system, suggesting changes his office says will save employers money while also preventing potential abuses that have attracted the attention of downstate federal prosecutors.

The governor’s plan to update the way workers are paid following job-related injury or illness includes limiting payments for injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and slashing the amount of money doctors and hospitals receive for treating hurt workers.

The proposal also would prevent workers who are injured while intoxicated from receiving benefits and give the state more power to investigate fraud and penalize employers that don’t maintain proper coverage.

Quinn’s office estimates the changes would save private employers at least $500 million a year, while cutting the state’s cost to cover its employees by at least $25 million.

The proposal comes months after a similar effort stalled in the legislature, and lawmakers briefed on Quinn’s plan say it’s likely to face many of the same hurdles. That’s because workers’ compensation impacts several powerful lobbying groups — from medical providers to insurance companies to trial attorneys and unions — and it’s hard to find common ground.



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This blog and its accompanying Twitter account have been established as social media learning tools for the Internal Communications and Employee Engagement class at Columbia College Chicago. Through this blog, we will share our observations about current events, change management and employee communications theory, and the application of social media in shaping employee engagement.
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