Oklahoma Workers Comp Overhaul Continues Old System
The Oklahoma Workers Comp overhaul will have little effect to the current system. Oklahoma’s Workers Comp system is where I was trained many years ago. Being from Oklahoma, I always try to monitor the Workers Comp situation there. Why I write about different state’s Workers Comp systems is that what happens in one state usually will occur in other states, in the near future.
Oklahoma’s Governor Fallin decided to not replace the system in place in Oklahoma. I vehemently disagree with her tact. I think that she is and will be a great Governor for Oklahoma, but not in this area.
Oklahoma’s system has been more of a judicial system for many years. Governor Fallin decided to not convert it to more of an administrative system as in many states. She had said that a further study of the data is needed. This means the system will stay as it is for years to come.
One of the hallmarks of a judicial system over an administrative system is the severe backlog of cases. The processing of a Workers Comp file is much more expensive in a judicial system. I have experience in over 40 states Workers Comp system. I find that administrative-based systems are usually more cost efficient and provide benefits to injured employees in a timelier manner.
Employees do not have to file lawsuits and go through the regular court system if the system is based on administrative law judges who are not part of the civil court system. Something will need to happen to reduce the backlog of 170,000 cases that exist today. I remember many years back when Workers Comp cases took over a year to be heard in Oklahoma.
The Governor’s plan was released yesterday. The main change was that a standardized medical care system would be initiated as of June 1, 2011. That is a very positive step. Instituting an administrative system would have been even better.
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