The WSIA Weekly, 8.5.16

Registration Opens for WSIA’s Fall Conference – September 23 in Tukwila

Yesterday, an e-mail went out to the membership alerting you that we’ve opened registration for our annual Fall Conference, taking place this year on September 23rd all day at the Embassy Suites in Tukwila, near SeaTac airport. The Fall Conference typically focuses on accident and disability prevention and workplace safety, and we’ve lined up an excellent agenda and group of speakers who will bring you up to speed on all the new changes to OSHA and WISHA that have happened and are yet to come, and more. Our limited exhibition spaces have gone quickly, but we are still welcoming the opportunity to spotlight conference sponsors. For the agenda, all details, and registration, visit the conference webpage here.

Regional Meeting Scheduled for Spokane area – September 8th

We’ve also added to the Calendar of Events a new Regional Meeting taking place Thursday, September 8th at the ESD 101 Conference Center in Spokane from 9:00 a.m. to Noon. The meeting will feature updates and a chance for networking with colleagues in the area, as well as a continuing education presentation, “Neuropsychological Evaluations in a Forensic Context and the Interplay with Workers’ Compensation” by Dr. Elizabeth Zeigler and attorney Sarah Ewing. Regional Meetings are free for WSIA members to attend, we only ask that you RSVP your plans in advance. Our Regional Meeting Coordinator, Gail Pearson, is working hard to line up additional regional meetings around the state later this year and into next year. If you have ideas for a regional meeting topic or location, drop Gail a line, and for all the details on the Spokane meeting, click here.

New webinar posted on Events page

Also new on the events page is a new webinar we’ve scheduled for September 21st from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. featuring Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals Acting Chief Judge Lynn Hendrickson and workers’ comp defense attorney Nicole Tedrow of Eims Graham on the subject of conflicting laws, rules, Board and judicial decisions, and how to decipher and apply them to day-to-day claims management. Click here for the webinar details and to register.    

Reminder: Safety Committee next week

Our Safety Committee holds its next monthly meeting next Thursday August 11 at 2:00 p.m. on the GoToMeeting online platform. This month’s agenda features a short preview of what’s coming at the Fall Conference, as attorney Jeffrey Youmans from Davis Wright Tremaine presents on the many new restrictions and regulations coming down from federal OSHA that will in turn impact Washington’s DOSH program. Use this link to register and receive login information, and please pass along word of the presentation to colleagues in HR and safety who will be interested in this information – WSIA meetings are open to all member companies’ employees.  

Department announces next steps for self-insureds on SIRAS system

In order to set up the medical bill electronic data interchange (EDI) that is part of the SIRAS (Self-Insurance Risk Analysis System) project, the Department needs to confirm each self-insured employers’ federal employer identification number (FEIN). The FEIN is necessary for the employer or third party submitting data on the employer’s behalf to log into the forthcoming system. Starting next week, employers should receive an e-mail notice of a secure messaging system to confirm the company’s FEIN. This is an important step. For more information, review this info sheet from L&I.   

New rules coming on the Vocational “Option 2”

Also this week, the Department of Labor & Industries announced its intention to draft and adopt rules related to “Option 2” in the vocational rehabilitation system, which allows training-eligible workers to opt out of retraining and close their claim in exchange for nine months of time loss payments. This law was changed in 2015 by the Legislature to allow further time for the worker to elect Option 2, through the end of their first academic quarter or three months of training. The language of WAC 296-15-4316 doesn’t include that change, so the Department intends to update it. A copy of the notice that went out is here. 

Seattle Pain Clinic providers suspended from workers’ comp system

As reported in the Seattle Times this week, risk of harm issues at Seattle Pain Centers have caused the Department of Labor & Industries to suspend the Center’s providers from L&I’s statewide Medical Provider Network. The Department estimates approximately 50 self-insured claimants, and many more State Fund claimants, will be impacted by the suspensions, which go into effect August 16. The Department is unable to determine the attending physicians for the SI claimants in order to notify them of the need to update their treatment plans. If you have claims involving current treatment at Seattle Pain Centers and are unsure what steps to take, we recommend contacting Gary Walker at the Department at 360-902-6823 or by e-mail.     

Congratulations to the new WWCP designees

We’re delighted to announce the addition of 33 new Washington Workers’ Compensation Professionals, who join the distinguished ranks of WWCP holders this year, following successful completion of the coursework and testing requirements in May, June, and July. The new WWCP holders are noted in black on our WWCP webpage. Take a look and offer your congratulations the next time you see them. The next WWCP course offerings are scheduled for May and June of next year.

WSIA Weekly returns August 26

Some travel and other commitments will have the entire staff of the WSIA Weekly (me) out of the office the next two Fridays. We’ll be back up August 26th with some end-of-summer news and updates.