A proposal to dramatically increase workers’ compensation costs in Connecticut by taking away employers’ ability to manage workers’ comp-related medical treatments is nearing a vote in the state Senate.

CBIA thanks its members who have taken the time to contact their senators and express concerns with SB-61. Connecticut businesses are struggling in this tough economy and the prospect of having to bear more costs is discouraging. For example, under SB-61:

  • Employers (or their insurers) will not be able to require employees to get pre-approval for “routine” medical exams and treatments in workers’ compensation cases.
  • “Routine” will be defined as anything recommended by a physician or surgeon.
  • Employees will be able to seek routine medical exams and treatments whenever they choose.
  • Businesses will be powerless to make sure that injured employees receive only the necessary and appropriate medical care they need in workers’ comp cases.
  • State bureaucrats (workers’ compensation commissioners) will decide what the appropriate care is when disputes arise—not physicians and other medical professionals. Something that a physician would deem unnecessary could be transformed into a “routine” treatment by a state bureaucrat.

With these changes, employers’ workers’ comp costs will rise and it will be impossible to predict by how much. By taking away an employer’s right to pre-approve treatments, “routine” treatments of all kinds will be more frequent and may be done without limitation, leaving employers powerless to stop abuses of the system.

SB-61 is wrong for many reasons—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. This is the year that state legislators said they would focus on jobs—ways to save and create them. Instead, proposals such as SB-61 only work against jobs by needlessly raising business costs.

There have been some attempts made to address the concerns of the business community, but at press time such an amendment had not been seen.

CBIA continues to encourage its members to contact legislators and urge them to oppose SB-61. Connecticut is nationally known and highly regarded for its workers’ compensation system.

Landmark reforms made by the legislature in the 1990s to fix Connecticut’s system have helped to control costs, improve efficiency and curb abuses. Lawmakers should not try to throw away those reforms and “fix” something that’s not broken. Instead, they should be focusing on ways to keep the costs of doing business in Connecticut under control.

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