Division of Industrial Accidents
600 Washington Street, 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02111
Present: Chairman Paul Byrne; Vice-Chairman Thomas M. Jones. CM: Robert Banks; John D. Boyle; Edmund C. Corcoran; John A. Pulgini; Jill S. Brown; Robert Banks; Peter Scantalides, Department of Business & Technology; John Ziemba, Director of Labor.
Also Present: DIA: John Chapman, Commissioner; James LaMothe, Senior Judge; Jack Tynan, Deputy Commissioner of Administration; Richard Morris, First Deputy Director of Administration; William Taupier, Deputy Director of Administration and EDP; Gayl Mileszko, Chief of Staff, DOL; Soledad Johndro, F&A Director; Attorney Terry McQue, Boyle, Morrissey & Campo, P.C.; Tony Salido, WCRIB; Jose Pacheco, Labor & Workforce Development; Lisa Zelermyer, Labor & Workforce Development.
Advisory Council Staff: Andrew Burton.
Absent: CM: Tony Frias; Jeanne-Marie Boylan; Mickey Long; Robert Fitzsimmons; Ken Paradis; Bruce Cochrane.
Judicial Update - James LaMothe, Senior Judge
DIA Vital Statistics - William Taupier, Deputy Director of Administration & EDP
Minutes - November 9, 2005
FY'05 Annual Report - Concerns & Recommendations
Executive Director Update
Chairman Paul Byrne began today's meeting at 10:00 a.m. Chairman Byrne requested that Senior Judge James LaMothe proceed with his judicial update.
Senior Judge LaMothe updated Council Members on the information contained within the DIA's vital statistic report for December of 2005 (see attached). Conference Queue: 371; Hearing Queue: 1,914; Reviewing Board Inventory: 126; Impartial Exams for FY'06 (to date): 2,243 (46 waivers). In fiscal year 2005 there were 4,779 Impartial Medical Examinations (119 waivers).
Senior Judge LaMothe explained that the conference queue had decreased significantly from last year. He noted that he would like the hearing queue to be at approximately 1,500 cases. In an attempt to accomplish this goal, the Senior Judge stated that he has adjusted the judicial schedule for January and February by removing one conference week and adding an extra hearing week.
Senior Judge LaMothe informed the Advisory Council Members that he expects the Nominating Panel to convene within the next two months. He noted that the DIA has advertised the two vacant Administrative Judge positions and one Administrative Law Judge position on their website and in Lawyers' Weekly. The Senior Judge stated that the Advisory Council Members can expect to interview candidates at the February Advisory Council Meeting. The Senior Judge also mentioned that previously reviewed candidates would be eligible if they have been on the list for less than two (2) years. Senior Judge LaMothe stated that they are scheduling cases faster since hiring a new manager for the Impartial Unit. He indicated that doctors on the Impartial Physician Roster have gradually increased. The Senior Judge commended the efforts of the new Impartial Manager, Sandra Jutras, for reaching out to the medical community and recruiting more physicians.
Senior Judge LaMothe reported that the Conciliation Unit resolves 40% of cases before they reach conference. The Senior Judge stated that he would like to raise the standard of the Conciliation Unit by increasing education and training of conciliators. Although most staff members are not attorneys, the Senior Judge noted that many conciliators have expertise in mediation and arbitration.
Stop Work Orders/Caseload Statistics
Mr. Taupier updated Council Members on the Stop Work Order (SWO) and Caseload Statistics for November of 2005 (see attached). SWO compliance and fine collection remains at 100%. Total compliance investigations completed during November: 1,883; total SWOs issued in November: 26; total SWOs issued for FY'06 (to date): 99; total number of SWOs issued for FY'05: 173; total fines collected for November: $7,175; total fines collected in FY'06 (to date): $99,034; total fines collected in FY'05: $267,061.
Mr. Taupier continued his update of the monthly vital statistics. Total number of cases filed for November: 1,484; total number of cases filed for FY'06 (to date): 6,217; total number of cases filed for FY'05: 16,276; total number of First Report's filed for November: 2,630; total number of First Reports filed for FY'06 (to date): 15,593; total number of First Reports filed for FY'05: 37,461. For FY'06, a total of 4,065 First Reports were filed online using the DIA's Information Portal on the Internet (26% of FRI filings).
Mr. Taupier proceeded with his update on uninsured claims (§65). Total number of §65 claims filed in FY'06 (to date): 201 (129 have been processed by the WCTF); uninsured claims paid by the Trust Fund for fiscal year 2006 (to date): $2,337,173; number of §65 claims filed for FY'05: 247 (with 201 actual uninsured injuries); uninsured claims paid by the Trust Fund for fiscal year 2005: $6,052,205.
Mr. Taupier proceeded with the vital statistics for the Second Injury Fund. Number of §37/37A petitions filed in fiscal year 2006 (to date): 132; number of §37/37A petitions paid in fiscal year 2006 (to date): 254; amount paid on these claims in fiscal year 2006 (to date): $5,119,114; number of §37/37A petitions filed in fiscal year 2005: 316; number of §37/37A petitions paid in fiscal year 2005: 530; amount paid on these claims in fiscal year 2005: $25,299,116; COLA reimbursements to insurers in FY'06 (to date): $9,252,341; COLA reimbursements to insurers in FY'05: $16.1 million. Mr. Taupier explained that the reason for the high amount of COLA reimbursements is due to the backlog from the last fiscal year when new procedures were put in place.
Mr. Taupier reported that as of November 2005, the number of employees whose salary is paid by either the Special Fund or the Trust Fund was 271 (238 DIA employees, 33 WCTF employees). The DIA has no contract employees at this time. Six (6) temporary employees are being utilized within the DIA as of this report. Mr. Taupier noted that the DIA is utilizing 3 legal interns who are assisting the Office of Legal Counsel.
Chairman Byrne asked for a motion to accept the Minutes for November 9, 2005.
Motion made to accept the Minutes for November 9, 2005.
MMS - Passed.
FY'05 ANNUAL REPORT - CONCERNS & RECOMMENDATIONS
Executive Director Andrew Burton reviewed the draft "Concerns & Recommendations" to be included in the Fiscal Year 2005 Annual Report. The Executive Director asked for discussion and comments after reading each of the following concerns: Uninsured Employers - Driver's License Suspension, Workers' Compensation Medical Reimbursement Rates, Scar-Based Disfigurement - Expand Benefit Level, Employer Misclassification - Private Right of Action, Maximum Burial Allowance - Increase Benefit Level, Funding of the Department of Labor, Funding for the Survey on Occupational Injury & Illness, Wood-Floor Finishing Industry, DIA Safety Grant Program - Expand Outreach, and Assessment Audit - Continuation and Automation.
Council Members discussed the merits of including an Executive Summary in the Annual Report to outline the successful aspects of the workers' compensation system and accomplishments of the Department of Industrial Accidents. Council Members agreed that the Executive Director should draft an Executive Summary.
Chairman Byrne asked for a motion to accept the Fiscal Year 2005 Annual Report with the condition that an Executive Summary be included at the beginning of the report.
Motion made to accept the Fiscal Year 2005 Annual Report with the condition that an Executive Summary be included at the beginning of the report.
MMS - Passed.
The Executive Director stated that he would email all Council Members a draft of the Executive Summary for comments and suggestions. Mr. Burton stated that he and Ms. Flanagan would be delivering the Annual Report to Red Sun Press within the next two weeks and that he hoped to have the completed report for the Advisory Council Meeting in January.
Chairman Paul Byrne invited all those in attendance to join the Advisory Council Members for a holiday luncheon that would immediately follow the meeting. Chairman Byrne thanked all parties for participating and asked for a motion to adjourn.
Motion made to adjourn.
MMS - passed. Meeting adjourned 11:45 a.m.
The next regular meeting of the Advisory Council is scheduled for Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 9:00 AM, at the Division of Industrial Accidents, 7th Floor Conference Room, Boston, MA 02111.