99thGALogo webSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) secured Senate passage today of legislation that builds on past workers’ compensation reforms, streamlining and modernizing the operations of the Workers’ Compensation Commission and making state law more easily understandable by codifying the interpretations and standards of the Illinois Supreme Court.

“The major reforms I sponsored in 2011 are working, with Illinois posting a 20 percent drop in recommended rates and the nation’s largest decrease in the average medical payment per claim,” Raoul said. “While we continue to monitor the situation to ensure these results are passed on to businesses in the form of lower premiums, we are also making reforms that help the system work more efficiently and with greater clarity for employers and employees alike.”

Senate Bill 162, which now goes to the House for its consideration, authorizes the Commission to replace an obsolete computer system and requires employers and insurers to accept electronic claims by the start of 2017. It creates an ombudsman position to help injured workers file their own claims and provide information and assistance to employers and health care providers. It also codifies case law interpreting the standards used to determine whether an injury is compensable through the workers’ compensation system.

“The governor’s office has supported many of these changes, and I believe this legislation represents firm common ground on workers’ compensation,” Raoul said. “I would urge the governor and my colleagues to take these steps to make the system more accessible to both workers and employers and then to allow the 2011 reforms to continue improving Illinois’ business climate while still protecting workers.”