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The WSIA Weekly, 7.17.15

L&I announces new process for issuing interlocutory orders

Responding to concerns raised with the Department during our periodic liaison committee meetings, the Department announced earlier this week an effort to standardize its process for issuing interlocutory orders, including a new coversheet for requests for extensions of time. You can see a summary of the changes and copy of the new coversheet at this link.

ACHIEV committee to meet next week

The Department of Labor & Industries’ Advisory Committee on Healthcare Innovation and Evaluation (ACHIEV) holds its next scheduled meeting on July 23rd from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Beijing Conference Room at SeaTac Airport. The committee, comprised of business, labor, and health care representatives, meets periodically to provide input related to the statewide provider network and other occupational health topics. The meetings are open to the public. You can take a look at the meeting’s agenda and materials at this link.

 Don’t miss webinar: Walter Reed Army Medical Center orthopedic surgeon on hand & arm issues next Thursday

Upper extremity injuries are complex, expensive, and major sources of both permanent and partial disability awards. Dr. Matthew Drake, Johns Hopkins-educated hand surgeon at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, joins us on the afternoon of July 23rd, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., discuss diagnosis, treatment authorization, and claims management considerations for hand and arm injuries. This is a great opportunity to interact with a nationally recognized expert in his specialty. The webinar is approved for 1.5 WWCP and CRC credits; CEU and CDMS credits are pending. Click here for more information and registration info.

 WSIA’s Conference Planning Committee to meet July 30

WSIA’s Conference Planning Committee, chaired by US HealthWorks’ Linda LaMonte, is holding its next meeting on July 30th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the Medical Arts Center Room B at Valley Medical Center in Renton. Open to any WSIA member, the committee helps develop programming for WSIA’s Fall, Winter (East & West), Spring, and Annual Conferences. If you’d like to attend the meeting in person or by call-in, and have a say in WSIA’s upcoming member conferences, RSVP by e-mail to Kari Heinold to receive directions or call-in information.

 Supreme Court decides farmworker piece rate case

Yesterday, the Washington Supreme Court released its decision in Demetrio v. Sakuma Brothers Farms, a wage and hour class action posing the question whether rest breaks are paid time for workers paid by piece rate. The court decided unanimously that employers must pay for rest breaks separate from a worker’s piece rate, at a rate that is at least the applicable minimum wage, or the pieceworker’s regular rate of pay, whichever is greater. While primarily interpreting Washington’s wage and hour law, the decision will undoubtedly add another layer of complexity to the worker’s compensation wage calculation for industries involving piece work. The court’s decision is here, and some news coverage here.

 Court of Appeals decides firefighter presumption case

On Monday, Division I of the state’s Court of Appeals decided Larson v. City of Bellevue, a dispute over a number of issues related to the presumption of occupational disease for firefighters, here in the context of a firefighter’s malignant melanoma. The court’s decision involves a precedent-setting interpretation of what the parties’ burdens of proof and persuasion are when the presumption applies. The court rejected the position of the City and of Labor & Industries that once an employer produces evidence to rebut the presumption, the firefighter then has the burden of proving the work-relatedness of his condition. Instead, the court held as a matter of “liberal construction” that once a firefighter proves he suffers from a qualifying disease, the statute’s presumption shifts the burdens of production and persuasion to the employer to prove the condition is not work related. You can read the court’s decision here.     

 Correction: Department’s August training date

Last week we noted registration for the first of Labor & Industries’ two (non-mandatory) summer CEU opportunities, “Update 2015,” closes July 20th for the July 29th sitting. We incorrectly noted the date of the second program – it is August 19th, with registration closing August 10th. If you’re interested, see this link to the newsletter for course and registration information.