Washington passes workers comp reforms

Washington has passed a new law which will create a statewide provider network for injured workers that file workers compensation claims. The measure also expands the state’s Centers for Occupational Health Education. The network is expected to save Washington $218 million over the next four years.

According to a statement from the Governor, a workers compensation workgroup was created to gather feedback from both business and labor which led to the creation of the bill. The state hopes that the network will reduce the overall taxpayer burden from workers compensation claims while still providing a high quality standard of care for injured workers.

Under the terms of the bill, doctors and providers allowed in the network will be required to meet a certain standard of care and use best practices to prevent disability, reduce loss of family income, and lower labor and insurance costs for employers. Injured workers will be able to choose their doctor from those included in the statewide network.

“We know we need to help more workers return to good health and back on the job after an injury, as well as reduce costs for our taxpayers and businesses,” Governor Gregoire said. “This bill does both. It improves outcomes for our employees, while saving more than $200 million over the next four years.”

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