Query for Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Practitioners and Professionals

Friends — I am bogged down this week in the labyrinth that is ERISA preemption, so my musings have been “somewhat” restrained. I did, however, want to take a survey of my Wyoming Workers’ Compensation colleagues. One objective I hope to accomplish with this blog is to stimulate discussion of problematic areas of Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Law. I wanted to ask you as practitioners in the field — from your perspective, what substantive or procedural areas of law are — for lack of a better phrase — messed up? What have the Wyoming Supremes gotten wrong? What gaps in the law cause you problems? What areas of the law do you find impenetrable?

It is my hope that your comments will generate conversation among yourselves, and when I have had a chance to review results next week I’ll give you my take on them. Then, I’m happy to give everyone my two cents on some or all of the areas identified. Perhaps this can even be the starting point for organizing a Wyoming Workers’ Compensation CLE (which I understand is sorely needed) around identified problematic areas.

5 thoughts on “Query for Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Practitioners and Professionals

  1. Mike
    One of the major unresolved issues in Wyoming Compensation law is the potential due process violations inherent in the WSCD having multiple roles as the claims adminstrator, premium setter/collector; rules-maker and active litigant.

    Of these the most troubling to me that as a state agency the WSCD should be neutral in how it handles claims and not actively pro-employer or pro-employee entity. Internally the WSCD has structured itself so the claims analysts are required to communicate directly with the employer in their decision making process. Then if there is an objection , the WSCD supports the employer in any contested case proceedings. This strikes me as a conflict of interest which seems to raise fundamental concerns over the impartiality of the process.

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    • George, This is an excellent comment and actually gets to the innards of the whole concept of a monopolistic system. I think I’ll do a separate post on this because I think it requires some broad commentary on the nature of the Administrative State writ large.

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      • The argument which will be made is that contested case hearings are held in front of neutral fact finders- the OAH and Medical Commission. However, the Medical Commission is part of the WSCD and its current director is the adminstrator of the WSCD.
        My preference would be to separate the claims processing from employer employer compliance/collections entirely. You still have some bias problems but they would be mitigated by separate entities being involved.

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      • Yes. You have a pretty obvious Medical Commission/WSCD structural problem. I also agree with Claims Processing segregation. Maybe one way to think this through is to reason by analogy: what we not want insurance companies to be directly involved in if working with the insurance company/administrative agency model that exists in most of the rest of the country? What would be the “cringe” points?

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  2. I really liked your comment, Mr. Santini. As a young attorney who has handled relatively few workers’ compensation cases, I get the feeling that the claims analysts follow the theory of “deny now, evaluate later.” I also have considered the conflict implications of the WSCD essentially representing the employer instead of the process being a neutral, fact-finding mission. In my opinion, this system seems a lot more adversarial than I would have expected after leaving Prof. Duff’s WC class.

    Anyway, thank you for your thoughts.

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