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Overhaul of Illinois Workers’ Compensation To Be Signed Into Law Today

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn today will sign into law an overhaul of the Illinois workers’ compensation system. This will slash medical rates, set new standards in determining a worker’s disability, and improve safeguards against abuse of the system.

The package stems from negotiations among the Governor’s office, business groups, unions, health care providers and trial lawyers. According to the Chicago Tribune:

…the administration estimates the changes will save Illinois businesses at least $500 million a year, but the final product doesn’t get a thumbs-up from all stakeholders.

Critics say the majority of savings come at the expense of doctors and hospitals that treat injured workers, while others say it doesn’t go far enough in requiring employees to prove they were hurt on the job. But supporters contend it is a balanced approach that was able to win votes from Democrats and Republicans.

The business lobby has long pushed for changes to the expensive system, which costs Illinois companies about $3 billion a year. Democratic leaders were eager to tackle the subject after they pushed through a major income tax increase in January and other states began publicly wooing Illinois corporations.

As written, the new law will have many changes, including new standards and standards of conduct for those who hear cases for the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Those who hear cases will have to be licensed attorneys and get ongoing training on issues including fraud, ethics and medical best practices.

More on this story can be found at the ChicagoTribune.com story of June 28 titled “Quinn to sign workers’ comp overhaul today.