Committee Approves Workers’ Comp Cost-hiking Bill

04.15.2010
Issues & Policies

Workers’ compensation costs could rise dramatically under a proposal narrowly approved this week by the Appropriations Committee.

Defying the need to control business costs to help Connecticut’s economy grow again, SB-61 would allow more unnecessary and costly medical treatments—and deny employers the right to challenge them.

[Here's how the Appropriations Committee voted]

SB-61 takes away employers’ ability to pre-approve routine medical examinations and treatments in workers’ compensation cases.

Worse, “routine” is defined in SB-61 as “anything recommended by a physician or surgeon”—an invitation to encourage all kinds of potential, costly treatments.

Employers would be powerless to make sure that injured employees receive only the necessary and appropriate medical care they need in workers’ comp cases. Without that kind of customary screening, the possibility of “routine” treatments of all kinds being given more frequently and without limitation will increase, obviously leading to higher costs.

Commissioners’ authority

What’s more, SB-61 empowers Workers’ Compensation Commissioners—rather than physicians and other medical professionals—to decide what the appropriate care is when disputes arise.

Something that a physician would deem unnecessary could be transformed into a “routine” treatment by a state bureaucrat. SB-61 is just plain wrong—medical decisions should be made by health care professionals, and pre-approvals are a necessary part of the workers’ compensation health care system to ensure that treatment costs are kept in line.

Instead, SB-61 opens the door to much higher workers’ comp costs for employers and the system overall. CBIA urges lawmakers to reject any proposals that would increase business costs, especially in this time of economic hardship.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Kia Murrell at 860.244.1931 or kia.murrell@cbia.com.

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