The first major overhaul of Illinois’ workers’ compensation system in nearly two decades was headed to the governor’s desk Friday night.
The reforms, a compromise between business and labor groups, would increase benefits to injured workers while restricting medical expenses. Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Friday he would sign them into law.
The legislation specifies how much doctors can charge for treating on-the-job injuries and also would create a new governmental unit to investigate workers’ compensation fraud. Illinois was one of the few states left in the nation without a schedule of medical fees for workers’ compensation treatments.
“This is a substantive step in reforming the workers’ compensation act here in Illinois and ensuring businesses are competitive,” said Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville), the bill’s sponsor.
Labor and business groups said the legislation is meant to improve Illinois’ business climate, which many argue is viewed poorly by employers compared to neighboring states.
Workers would see their compensation for lost wages increase by an average of 7.5 percent and changes meant to speed up review of workers’ comp disputes would also help lower legal costs for both sides, supporters say.
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