Comp System Challenges Explored

Surely one of the last U.S. House Education and Labor hearings before Republicans take control in January, today's hearing will examine recent trends and their impact on state programs.

What is likely to be one of the last U.S. House Education and Labor Committee hearings before Republicans take control of congressional committees in January 2011 is a hearing today examining the state of workers' compensation programs around the country. The committee's Workforce Protections Subcommittee will begin the hearing at 10 a.m. EST.

The committee's hearing notice says while comp traditionally provides financial assistance and job training to workers injured on the job, as well as aid to the surviving family of a worker who has been killed on the job, state comp systems "have undergone numerous changes in the past decade as many states have begun strictly limiting workers’ compensation benefits -– changes that may be stressing the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Additionally, the American Medical Association's (AMA) guide to assessing injured workers has undergone significant changes in its latest edition, which has made consequential changes to injured workers' evaluation procedure."

Scheduled witnesses are:

  • Emily Spieler, dean of the Northeastern University School of Law, Boston, Mass.
  • John Burton, professor emeritus at the School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University, and professor emeritus at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, Princeton, N.J.
  • Christopher Godfrey, Iowa Workers Compensation commissioner, Des Moines
  • Dr. John Nimlos, an occupational medicine consultant in Shoreline, Wash.

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