04172018CM1024 rSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) passed legislation today that puts in place a series of reforms to the state’s workers’ compensation program.

“We refuse to participate in a race to the bottom when it comes to workers’ compensation rights,” Raoul said. “We put in place a series of extremely successful reforms several years ago. Now we need to hold insurance companies accountable and ensure they are passing on savings to employers and workers.”

The measure makes several changes to Illinois’ workers’ compensation system, including: requiring electronic billing for workers’ compensation claims, allowing first responders to receive benefits the day after their accident, creating an evidence-based prescription drug formulary and changing the way insurance companies set rates with the Illinois Department of Insurance.

Raoul worked with the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association and other stakeholders on the Senate’s overhaul of the workers’ compensation program in 2011. Since then, the state’s employers have saved more than $315 million in workers’ compensation premiums.

The measure passed today includes a provision empowering the Department of Insurance to ensure savings from these and past reforms are passed on to employers. Other key components of the measure include:

•    clarification that an American Medical Association impairment report is not required to award benefits or reach a settlement, although a report may be utilized when reaching a decision
•    penalties for unreasonable delay in authorizing medical treatment
•    classification of hip and shoulder injuries as leg and arm injuries, respectively

These reforms are the result of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations. Today’s measure is identical to legislation that passed the House and the Senate last year. Although several provisions in the legislation reflected recommendations from Gov. Bruce Rauner – including controlling money spent on prescription drugs and clarifying the use of AMA guidelines – he vetoed the measure when it reached his desk.

Senate Bill 2863 passed 34-21 and moves to the House for consideration.