W. Va. Workers’ Comp Board of Managers Gets Feedback on Pair of Proposed Rules

April 13, 2004

West Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Board of Managers on Monday heard public comments on two proposed rules – one focusing on proposed risk pools for self-insured employers and the other on a mandatory review of permanent total disability awards dating back more than 10 years.

The two rules were filed with the Secretary of State’s office for public comment in late January. The public comment period officially ends at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Rule 19 would establish a security pool and a guarantee pool for self-insured employers. The two pools would assure that injured workers would continue to receive wage replacement and medical benefits if a self-insured employer went into default or filed for bankruptcy.

“The fact that this issue was not resolved during the recent legislative session makes it all the more imperative that we take action,” said Executive Director Gregory Burton. “We see these risk pools as a way to protect self-insured companies and preserve self insurance as a viable option for companies that may want to relocate to West Virginia.”

The other proposal, Rule 5, outlines the process the Commission would follow in reviewing all permanent total disability claims awarded since April 8, 1993. The review is mandated in provisions of Senate Bill 2013, the reform legislation passed in 2003.

As many as 7,000 of the state’s 11,000 PTD beneficiaries would be subject to the review process. About 500 cases per month would be reviewed “to assure that those individuals continue to satisfy the requirements to be considered permanently, totally disabled.” A panel of doctors also will review some of those cases.

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