HAPTA Will Continue to Advocate for Improved Workers’ Compensation Payments

As the Hawaii legislative session draws to a close, we thought members would be interested in an update about our efforts this year to tackle workers’ compensation (WC) issues. It was our priority this year to tackle: 1. injured workers’ access to medical care, 2. the challenges of physicians and physical therapists taking on WC claims due to decreased payments and 3. delays in WC care.

In November 2016 the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) attempted to reduce our current payment rates to Medicare+10%, effective January 1, 2017. Thankfully, HAPTA’s collective effort helped thwart any changes this year. Taking it a step further, HB808/SB413 were introduced to separate WC payments from Medicare+10% and proposed the use of rates from the federal Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs for injured workers. This gained great support from physical therapists alongside other health care professionals and organizations. Despite our efforts, these bills will not become law. Final attempts to address our original concerns were made through HCR167/SCR109, which requested DLIR to delineate how it plans to increase payments. Earlier DLIR testimony (HB808/SB413) stated that it favors an increase in the payment rate to providers of service for WC claimants and is considering other alternatives to the current fee schedule. Although the resolutions did not move forward, our voices were heard and our presence was noted through the state legislature and DLIR.

HAPTA thanks its members for all their support leading up to and during this legislative session helping us to advocate for improved workers’ compensation payment rates and access to care.

HAPTA will continue to stay current with upcoming legislation and any changes proposed by DLIR. You can stay in the loop by following future updates in our monthly e-news. Or get involved by joining our legislative and payment teams as we look into finding ways to solve the issues surrounding workers’ compensation payments and increasing access to medical care for the injured worker. Email legislative@hapta.org.

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