"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:
- 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.
- Is this correct and is this a good reason to think about significant reform?
- In 1997, after the issuance of the Fallin report on workers' compensation reform, Lt. Gov. Fallin said:
- "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."
- If that was true in 1997, why do we need to do something now?
- Oklahoma is only one of a hand full of states to rely on a court system to resolve workers' compensation disputes.
- An administrative system is primarily involved across the country. Is Oklahoma out-of-step and is there another system that is better?
- In that connection, some of the current reform suggestions involve a mandatory mediation between the worker and the employer.
- Would an attorney be involved in the mediation for the worker and the employer?
- Why would mandatory mediation help things?
- Isn't it just overlaying another costly structure?
- 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.
- What is involved in the reform effort to try to limit the dueling doctors and is it appropriate?
- There is also proposed to be a limitation on the amount of attorney's fees that a worker's attorney could recover.
- 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