Reporting Bob Roberts
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CHICAGO (WBBM) – The ink is barely drive on Illinois’ new workers’ compensation law, but already, Republicans in the legislature are hoping to make far bigger changes.
The GOP leadership and the business lobby want any additional language that require would that an injury or illness be related directly to the workplace in order to qualify for workers’ comp benefits. Lawyers call that “causation.”
Illinois Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) said a causation clause would make a big difference, even if it is a system that determines what percentage of an illness or injury is work-related.
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“There are different models out there in different states,” she said. “That sort of apportionment is one. We looked at a lot of different models of language that we could have used, but the concept of causation was not acceptable to the Democrats.”
Radogno said that while she is pleased to get the newly-signed law, she considers it a “baby step.”
The new law reduces the medical fees paid to doctors and hospitals that treat the injured by 30 percent. It allows employers to use medical networks approved by the state Insurance Department. It reduces the benefit period for carpal tunnel syndrome-related injuries to 28 weeks from 40 weeks. It restricts the ability of intoxicated injured workers from receiving benefits. It also requires the use of the latest American medical Association evaluation standards for permanent impairment.
Gov. Pat Quinn called the bill “historic” when he signed it into law last week. He said the changes are needed to maintain the state’s economic competitiveness.