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Illinois Workers' Compensation Reform Taking Effect

Earlier this summer Gov. Quinn signed legislation that makes drastic changes to the Illinois workers' compensation system. The system overhaul occurred after a drawn out political battle between unions, businesses, physicians, other interest groups and the Governor's office.

Some of the changes the legislation makes include: changing standards for determining workers' disabilities, clearing current workers compensation arbitrators, and establishing safeguards designed to prevent abuses of the system.

Perhaps the most significant change is a 30 percent cut in rates paid to hospitals and physicians who treat injured workers. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois Medical Society claims this will result in injured employees having to wait longer for health care.

The overarching goal of the changes was to improve the Illinois' economy by creating a more business-friendly environment in the state.

Major changes were also made to the Workers' Compensation Advisory Board. This was one of the first changes to take effect as the Governor made 12 new appointees to the Board last month. The appointees included union representatives, workers' compensation lawyers and business leaders.

"Each of these appointees brings the knowledge and experience to support us in reforming Illinois' workers' compensation system," stated Gov. Quinn. The Advisory Board is responsible for guiding workers' comp policy and recommending case arbitrators to decide claims.

The Governor and supporters of the reform measure claim it will save businesses $500 million. Since the drastic reform of the workers' comp system is just beginning, only time will tell if the changes benefit the state of Illinois as a whole.

Source: Bloodletting begins on workers comp

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