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The WSIA Weekly, 8.7.15

Fall Conference registration opened

On Tuesday, we formally opened registration for this year’s Fall Conference, “Key Into Safety!” taking place on September 25th at Embassy Suites in Lynnwood. We’re excited to highlight best practices in safety culture and compliance, highlighting experts from several of our member companies. We’re also featuring an important claims management update on psychiatric claims, and a fascinating case study by Safeway/Albertsons personnel on an early intervention employee program to prevent long term disability. Our available exhibitor space was quickly reserved, but we still have some sponsorship opportunities to give your company enhanced visibility. Take a look at Tuesday’s announcement here, or go straight to the program agenda here, registration page here, or sponsorship info here.

 Now available: IIU’s fall curriculum offerings

Also on Tuesday, we announced and opened registration for our Industrial Insurance University’s fall quarter offerings, ranging from an important webinar update on vocational rehabilitation labor market survey developments to a save the date for our Legal Issues Workshop in October. Take a look at the original announcement (paired with Fall Conference on Tuesday) or directly on our website’s Calendar of Events.  

 Labor & Industries announces rulemaking for vocational rehabilitation

Earlier this week, the Department of Labor & Industries indicated its intent to amend and update existing vocational rehabilitation rules to account for the passage of House Bill 1496 in the 2015 legislative session, which changed the “Option 2” benefit by increasing it to nine months of time loss, and allowing a longer time period for injured workers to elect the option. The bill also enhanced the Department’s Preferred Worker Program to offer cash incentives similar to the Stay at Work program, which also requires rulemaking. No language has been released yet; will be following this development and alerting you to the specific proposals when they are released.

 Department changes travel reimbursement rule

Effective August 1, pre-approved worker travel for vocational retraining has new reimbursement rules. Whereas previously, the first and last 15 miles of a round trip for retraining were excluded from reimbursement, now all travel mileage is a reimbursable travel expense. Workers with questions about this are referred to their vocational rehabilitation counselors, so be aware of the change. More details here.

 Health Technology Assessment Committee re-reviewing lumbar fusion criteria

The state’s Health Care Authority Health Technology Assessment Committee, an evidence-based medicine state agency collaborative which includes Labor & Industries, is re-reviewing the criteria for allowance of lumbar fusion surgery, with a draft report expected August 17th followed by a public comment period August 17 – September 16, and final report in October. More details here. Attendees at June’s Self-Insurance Colloquium got a preview of issues before the committee in Dr. Gary Franklin’s presentation (starting at slide 103 in the colloquium materials here).