At yesterday’s Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) meeting, council members assessed proposed changes to the Medical Treatment Guidelines, intent of which was published in the September Louisiana Register. Joe Jolissaint asked to review the changes to the pain treatment section of the Guidelines in particular, to which Office of Workers’ Compensation Director Patrick Robinson clarified that the published “emergency rule” did not apply to those updates. A public meeting on the entire Medical Treatment Guidelines proposed updates (not just the pain management section) will take place on October 28th. The emergency rule applied only to the switch to ICD-10, and will take effect on October 1st, 2015. There will be a public hearing on the regular forthcoming ICD-10 rule on November 30th.
The Council also discussed the bankruptcy proceedings of the Louisiana Safety Association of Timbermen Fund, (AKA Timbermen Fund). Director Robinson stated that the OWCA has received a number of calls regarding the Fund’s bankruptcy, but that, given the Fund’s status as a self-insured entity, it does not fall under the purview of the OWCA. “The agency is aware of [the Timberman bankruptcy,] it is my understanding that they had about 200 claims that were receiving checks,” Robinson said. “Other than that, all [the OWCA] can do is be aware of it. We have zero control, zero regulatory authority over group self-insureds.” The Louisiana Department of Insurance is responsible for regulating group self-insurance funds.