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WORKERS’ COMP COUNCIL BACKING COMPROMISE ON OUTPATIENT FEES

SHARE WORKERS’ COMP COUNCIL BACKING COMPROMISE ON OUTPATIENT FEES

The Workers' Compensation Advisory Council is favoring a compromise bill that would bring hospital outpatient fees in workers' compensation cases under control of the State Industrial Commission.

Several weeks ago, an advisory council subcommittee recommended a bill that would have placed hospitals under commission regulation in workers' compensation cases, but the Utah Hospital Association objected and said it would vigorously oppose any bill that attempted regulation.That prompted a meeting of some council members and UHA officials, and the result was a compromise to propose having the commission regulate outpatient services in workers' compensation cases as a way to control health-care costs.

Dave Gessell, UHA vice president for government relations, said his organization still opposes regulation of hospitals but hasn't polled his members to determine if they oppose the regulation of outpatients service and not all hospital services.

The proposal to have the commission regulate outpatient services was proposed during the council's last meeting by Joyce Sewell, director of the commission's Industrial Accidents Division.

She said in some instances the care provided in hospitals, such as physical therapy, costs four and five times the amount charged by clinics and other health-care providers for the same procedures.

If her provision becomes law, this would be the scenario: After a person is discharged and returns to the hospital for therapy or other services, those fees would be regulated according to a schedule adopted by the commission. That is identical to the situation now as all other fees given to health-care providers are under commission scrutiny.