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"Debate: Does the Workers' Compensation System Need Reform?" was first aired on Sunday April 18th 2004. Our Guests were Mike Seney, Sr. Vice President - Operations, The State Chamber and Bob Burke, Attorney at Law.

Our topics included:
  1. It is reported in various studies that Oklahoma's workers' compensation system is one of the costliest in the nation and that is one of the reasons it needs to be reformed.
  2. Is this correct and is this a good reason to think about significant reform?
  3. In 1997, after the issuance of the Fallin report on workers' compensation reform, Lt. Gov. Fallin said:
  4. "With the Governor's signature, Oklahoma employers and the hundreds of thousands of men and women they employ receive the assurance of a workers compensation system which is fair to all."
  5. If that was true in 1997, why do we need to do something now?
  6. Oklahoma is only one of a hand full of states to rely on a court system to resolve workers' compensation disputes.
  7. An administrative system is primarily involved across the country. Is Oklahoma out-of-step and is there another system that is better?
  8. In that connection, some of the current reform suggestions involve a mandatory mediation between the worker and the employer.
  9. Would an attorney be involved in the mediation for the worker and the employer?
  10. Why would mandatory mediation help things?
  11. Isn't it just overlaying another costly structure?
  12. You hear the phrase "dueling doctors". That refers to a doctor for the company saying the worker is not hurt as badly as the doctor for the worker says he is.
  13. What is involved in the reform effort to try to limit the dueling doctors and is it appropriate?
  14. There is also proposed to be a limitation on the amount of attorney's fees that a worker's attorney could recover.
  15. What is that proposed limitation and, is there also a limitation on the amount of fees the employer's lawyer can charge to the employer?

Bob Burke, Mick Cornett, Kent Meyers, Mike Seney