Currently in North Carolina, employers pay unpredictably high rates for workers’ compensation medical services, without any predictability for determining the rates. The prices for medical care provided to injured workers subject to the North Carolina Workers Compensation Act are far above market rate and put North Carolina employers at a competitive disadvantage. Recognizing this is a major cost factor for you, the NC Chamber has been leading with the business community, insurers, hospitals and doctors to negotiate a more predictable fee schedule for employers. We have been a strong voice for the business community in the more than two-year effort to bring about needed changes in the current workers compensation medical fee schedule. The outcome is a transition to a Medicare fee schedule over three years where employers pay a specified percentage above Medicare rates, which ultimately saves employers $400 million in workers’ compensation costs. This creates greater predictability by developing a defined cost for each medical procedure.
The Rules Review Commission will take up the Industrial Commission rules tomorrow. Barring any appeal within 24 hours of this, the new rules will go into effect April 1 for hospital claims and July 1 for physician.
The rules are supported by the major organizations representing medical providers, employers and employees. We believe the rules strike an appropriate balance to ensure that injured workers are provided an appropriate standard of services and care, that health care providers receive a reasonable reimbursement for services, and that medical costs are adequately contained for employers. We will keep you informed as the new rules are released by the Industrial Commission.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber