Monday, August 4, 2014
BY JONATHAN BUXTON | Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2014
Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2014
For more than 19 years, workers compensation in Oklahoma was broken. It was failing injured workers, costing employers too much and enriching attorneys. Prior legislatures and governors attempted to repair this broken system, but nothing seemed to work. Until last year, when Gov. Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Legislature teamed up to pass Senate Bill 1062, the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act. Their goal was to build a new system, not to put a bandage on a broken one. The work of creating this new system began last summer, and when the doors of the newly created Workers Compensation Commission opened in February, they were ready for a completely new method of handling work related injuries. Not only was the commission ready to handle the caseload, it understood the goal of the governor and Legislature to fundamentally change the way injured workers are compensated in Oklahoma.
We have heard from employers who have seen reductions in the work comp premiums and others who are experimenting with new and effective ways of improving the speed and efficiency of medical care after an employee is injured. In the first six months of the new system, the Workers Compensation Commission has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of injuries reported and last year the lost-cost filing (benchmark for workers compensation insurance premiums) included a 14.6 percent reduction. The shift to an administrative system is working.
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