FRANKFORT – In line with Governor Bevin’s effort to reign in unnecessary regulatory burdens on businesses in the Commonwealth through the Red Tape Reduction initiative, the Department of Workers’ Claims has reduced the number of required claims forms. As a result, noted workers’ compensation expert Robert Wilson from WorkersCompensation.com has hailed these efforts to simplify the claims reporting process as major breakthroughs for companies trying to navigate the labyrinth of workers’ compensation regulations.
“One of the biggest challenges we hear from employers and carriers struggling to maintain compliance across multiple workers’ compensation systems in this country is the complexity and growth of regulatory burdens which must be contended with,” Wilson said. “Every state is vastly different, and it seems with each legislative action, more and more requirements are thrown into the myriad of existing regulations they must follow.”
Kentucky’s efforts occurred in the midst of the introduction of the Litigation Management System (LMS) in September. The LMS marked the culmination of a multi-year project that now allows for online filing for parties to workers’ compensation litigation and provides users (e.g. claimants, employers, insurance carriers, attorneys and the Dept. of Workers’ Claims) with web-based forms that increase the capability for interested parties to share access to a claim. In addition to enhancing transparency, timeliness, and accuracy to the process, it also improves the scope of the workers’ compensation system by notifying interested users, via email, when Proof of Coverage is reported as “cancelled” to the Department of Workers’ Claims.
“For many years we had separate Injury, Occupational Disease, and Hearing Loss claim forms,” Labor Sec. Derrick Ramsey stated. “We identified this process as being cumbersome and unnecessary, and have since successfully combined these forms into a single online application as a key feature of the new LMS. For these efforts, we have received tremendous positive feedback and we will continue to carefully examine all regulations and processes within the Cabinet and identify areas where we can improve the customer experience for Kentuckians.”
According to Wilson, Kentucky’s efforts were also praised at a recent national workers’ compensation summit of industry experts. “When discussing the broader issue of system stability, I posed the question, ‘What jurisdiction seems to work,’” said Wilson. “The answer from several employers and professionals in the room indicated Kentucky had some adjudication processes worth looking at. Today, with their action of reducing the number of required forms and simplifying the reporting process, they seem to have earned another round of positive recognition.”
“To hear of a jurisdiction, like Kentucky, making strident efforts to simplify and reduce this burden is extremely rare today; but also, very encouraging,” he continued. “As a national conversation on this subject continues to evolve, one of our goals is to identify and pursue opportunities to reduce the regulatory burden these stakeholders face. Simplifying these systems will allow more flexible response and care, providing for improved outcomes at lower cost. It is a scenario where everybody wins.
Wilson’s comments echo the goals of Gov. Bevin’s Red Tape Reduction initiative. The initiative is an effort to make Kentucky a more business-friendly state by eliminating unnecessary, burdensome or duplicative regulations by reviewing each of the 4,700-plus state administrative regulations and evaluating for purpose, need and intent. The long-term goal is to remove as many as one-third of the administrative regulations currently on the books. Governor Bevin continues to ask businesses and employees throughout the state to assist in the Red Tape Reduction initiative by identifying burdensome regulations, offering suggestions for improvement and making submissions at www.RedTapeReduction.com.
Additional information is available at http://labor.kentucky.gov.
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