Employer Disability Leave Roundtable on April 17th

Kaiser Permanente and Sather Byerly & Holloway are sponsoring a work group for Oregon and Washington employers related to leave management. This open-forum roundtable will allow employers to bring their questions and share their insights on how to address various disability and leave requirements under state, federal or local laws. Rebecca Watkins, partner at Sather Byerly & Holloway LLP, will lead the group. She will be joined by Dr. Carrie Davino, Medical Director at Northwest Permanente, PC, who will provide insights from the medical perspective. Come network, learn from, and share with other employers! When: April 17, 2019, 11:30am – 1:30pm Where: Kaiser Permanente- Town Hall Ballroom * 3704 N Interstate Avenue * Portland, OR 97227 Cost: Free… Continue reading

WCD Issues New Rules Related to Medical Services

Kevin AndersonThe WCD has written new rules related to medial services that will go into effect April 1, 2019. While there are a number of changes, here are a couple of the most significant: MCO’s Requires MCO when less than 3 providers in a provider category in a geographical service area, to provide list of at least 3 physicians willing to treat claimant in given area. If the MCO does not provide the list or have anyone available, the worker is allowed to treat outside the MCO. Allows worker to continue treating with current provider for 14 days (formerly 7 days) after being enrolled in the MCO before having to establish with MCO provider.   Elective Surgery Removes statement that chart… Continue reading

Department of Labor & Industries Issues New Checklist for Willful Misrepresentation

The Department of Labor & Industries recently amended the process and published an amended checklist for employers seeking Willful Misrepresentation orders. The Department’s new checklist for reporting Willful Misrepresentation available here. Pursuant to RCW 51.32.240(5), self-insured employers can demand repayment of any benefits induced by willful misrepresentation along with a 50% penalty payable to the Department’s supplemental pension fund so long as the repayment and recoupment of benefits is demanded within three years of the discovery of the worker’s willful misrepresentation. The statute goes on to explain that “willful misrepresentation” includes willful false statements, omissions, or concealment of any material fact. Additionally, Washington Administrative Code 296-14-4121 provides that the term “willful” means a “conscious or deliberate false statement, misrepresentation, omission,… Continue reading

Documenting and discussing work performance issues with employees in relation to the ADA and FMLA

How many times have you heard Human Resources tell you to document, document, document? Well, it’s because of cases like Estep v. Forever 21. This case, from the US District Court of Oregon, is a good reminder of what can happen when you fail to document and discuss performance issues with struggling employees. Forever 21 hired Jonathan Estep in July 2012. He quickly worked his way up to district manager, covering all stores in the state of Washington. By November 2015, he was temporarily assigned to stores in the Sacramento district. Despite his quick rise, Estep was not a top performer. In November 2015, Forever 21 identified the 100 worst performing stores in the US. Estep oversaw 6 of the… Continue reading

Workers Compensation Board Reviewing Attorney Fees

The WCB is statutorily required to review claimant attorney fees every other year and it just held a public meeting to discuss the issue. Several concepts were put forward by the claimant’s attorneys including: Creating an optional bifurcated proceeding to address attorney fees after the judge has ruled on the merits of the case; Using a set multiplier to compensate attorneys for the contingent nature of their work; Increasing the fees for recorded statements to $400/hour (now at $275) and/or allowing attorney’s to be paid for the time preparing for the worker’s statement/deposition, and; Using defense fees/hours as a factor for the judge to consider in awarding a fee to claimant’s attorney. You can find the proposals and written testimony… Continue reading

Final Rules Issued for Oregon Equal Pay Law Effective January 1, 2019

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) recently issued final rules implementing the Oregon Equal Pay Law, most provisions of which take effect on January 1, 2019. The full text is available on the BOLI web site here. The final rules contain only minor changes from the proposed rules (see our previous blog post for a detailed discussion). The rules continue to define “work of comparable character” as work that includes substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions, with no single factor being determinative.” Key to this definition is the emphasis that “no single factor” will be determinative – in other words, employers should point to multiple factors to justify differences in pay… Continue reading

Do you manage employee leave for employees in Oregon or Washington?

Check out the new Oregon and Washington Absence and Disability Management group on LinkedIn. This new group is aimed at giving employers and HR professionals a forum to share ideas and learn about changes specific to the unique laws and requirements in Oregon and Washington. Join the group and share with others who may be interested!  

WCD Rulemaking Meeting – Medical Billing/Services

The WCD held another public advisory meeting, this time to discuss the medical billing and medical services administrative rules. Probably the most important and interesting topic was whether the WCD should look into rules to regulate and/or promote telemedicine in Oregon. The discussion was generally positive. Allowing workers to speak with a doctor via video on the work site was described as a good screening tool to determine whether the worker needed to seek emergency, urgent, or any follow up care. Telemedicine would also increase the availability of medical providers to many workers in rural areas. If you have any experience with telemedicine and workers’ compensation claims, the WCD would like your input. Our meeting agenda also covered a variety… Continue reading

WCD Reviewing Rules Pertaining to IME’s and WRME’s

Kevin AndersonThe WCD held a meeting to take public comment on the administrative rules related to Independent Medical Exams (IME’s) and Worker Requested Medical Exams (WRME’s).   Some of the more lively discussions centered around whether IME providers should be required to produce their report within a certain time frame with claimants’ attorneys arguing medical treatment, time-loss benefits, and permanent impairment can be all be delayed pending these reports. We provided ample testimony that the current rules were adequate to address these concerns.   The majority of the rules discussed pertain to the medical providers’ licensing and training. These discussions focused on confirming the WCD’s ability to sanction or remove an IME provider from the approved list of providers is consistent… Continue reading

Sather Byerly & Holloway, LLP is excited to announce its Workers’ Compensation Online Certification Program for claims examiners, employers, insurance brokers, and medical providers or anyone else interested in learning more about Oregon’s workers’ compensation system. The course includes eight online modules where students will learn about several key issues, such as: • Compensability • Claims Administration • Temporary Disability • Medical Services • Claim Closure • Vocational Benefits • Litigation & Settlement • Board’s Own Motion Jurisdiction • Third-Party Actions • The Workers’ Benefit Fund Students will also be provided with a coursebook, which covers these and many more topics. As an added bonus, each student will be assigned an attorney mentor who they can use as a resource… Continue reading
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