The July meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) was held yesterday in Baton Rouge. Despite the lack of a quorum, the Council further addressed the Broadspire/Insight Labs pharmacogenetic testing controversy and shared the results of the GAME ON misclassification task force.
Broadspire attorney offers new consent forms to resolve cease and desist
Rich Eason, an attorney representing Broadspire, a TPA, and Insight Labs, the lab performing pharmacogenetic testing on injured workers, again spoke to the Council regarding concerns about Broadspire’s blanket pharmacogenetic testing efforts. The WCAC has been working on this issue since last Fall, and had previously resolved to issue a cease and desist to Broadspire and Insight Labs.
Eason presented several documents to the Council – including a sample physician letter explaining the testing, and a consent form.
Eason stated that both the consent form and the physician letter were written to dispense with the notion that Insight Labs could be illegally practicing medicine and to clarify that the testing is strictly voluntary. That statement in the physician letter is as follows:
Broadspire has contracted with Insight Labs to make personalized pharmacogenetic testing available via buccal swab test for its workers’ compensation claimants on a voluntary basis. Your above-named patient is a candidate for this pharmacogenetic testing evaluation. Please note that this is not a “drug test” or “drug screening”, but a genetic test evaluating metabolic processes. The decision to perform the test is totally voluntary on your part and requires you and your patient’s consent. There are no adverse consequences to the patient’s claim if he/she refuses to do the testing.
Eason further emphasized a line in the letter which reads: “To protect the confidentiality of the test results, they are delivered directly to you only and handled in accordance with HIPAA regulations.” In the consent form, the final several lines before the patient signature has the patient attest that they have the right to ask questions and made the decision under their own free will.
In response to the presented documents, Council co-Chair Chuck Davoli stated that he appreciated Broadspire/Insight Labs efforts but that he still had concerns with “adjusters who might use the information to side step the Medical Treatment Guidelines.” Council member Bray Williams, who was responsible for bringing this issue to the Council back in 2017, said that he also still has concerns, primarily regarding who determines the criteria that makes a particular injured worker a candidate for the testing. In his remarks, Williams repeatedly said that he does not doubt the efficacy of the testing, but rather, the motivations behind it and what happens to the information after it is determined by the test.
The WCAC lacked a quorum at this meeting, and thus, Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration Director and WCAC Chair Sheral Kellar called for the Broadspire issue to be raised again in August or September.
GAME ON Task Force presents results of recent raids
Renita Ward Williams, who leads the Office of Unemployment Insurance Administration, took the floor to address the efforts of the GAME ON Task Force, which recently performed unannounced inspections of employers around the state to try to catch those who misclassify workers. Ward Williams explained that the task force now uses an enhanced interdepartmental audit process that includes database searches and outside tips. Ward Williams also revealed the results of GAME ON from July 1st, 2017 to current day (excluding the most recent inspections for which the task force is still compiling data).
According to Ward Williams, the task force has performed 19 audits. In those audits, 1,100 misclassified workers were identified, $18.5 million in unreported wages were identified, plus $5.4 million in taxable wages and $133,000 in additional unemployment insurance taxes.
Darrick Lee, the newly promoted fraud section manager for the Louisiana Workforce Commission also discussed the interdepartmental efforts.
The next WCAC meeting will take place on August 23rd at the LaSalle building in Baton Rouge.
WCAC members present: Morris, Dartez, Zimmerman, Marusak, Williams, Davoli, Kellar
WCAC members absent: Kruse, Collins, Cherry, Losavio, Murray, Jones, Perkins, Lindsey, Nunley