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HomeNewsArchivesWorkers' Comp Reform Draws One Senator to Committee Meeting

Workers' Comp Reform Draws One Senator to Committee Meeting

Oct. 14, 2007 — The Senate Committee on Labor met Friday in the Frits E. Lawaetz Conference Room on St. Croix to hear testimony from Wanda Morris, director of workers' compensation, on proposed amendments to the workers' compensation statute.
Sen. Juan Figueroa-Serville was the only legislator who showed up.
Figueroa-Serville said legislation is needed to more accurately reflect how workers compensation issues are resolved, and he chastised unexcused senators for their absence.
"It would be nice to see my colleagues on the floor when the heads of departments take time out to be here," he said.
Before addressing proposed amendments, Morris gave a brief overview of the functions and services provided by the Worker's Compensation Administration. "The mission of the administration is to supply medical coverage to employees with work related injuries and occupational diseases and provide protection against the interruption of income," Morris said.
Workmen's Compensation Insurance restores two-thirds of a worker's salary. The medical coverage ceiling for care in the territory is $75,000, and $200,000 for specialized treatment outside the territory.
Morris recommended that everything in the statue that refers to the formation of a worker's compensation board be repealed. She listed the duties of such a board and then added, "All the functions outlined above are currently being performed by the V.I. Department of Labor."
She also asked that several other sections of the act be repealed because their mandated functions have never been funded and that just made the bureaucratic process more complicated.
"The answer is not establishing a workers' compensation board, because it will increase the bureaucratic process," Morris said. "It is providing the unit with the necessary resources in order to efficiently and expeditiously serve injured workers."
She also recommended cost-saving measures such as not having workers' compensation cover automobile accidents to or from work. The workers' compensation program in the Virgin Islands, she said, is the most liberal you can find and the department is continuously striving to improve claims processing.
Committee members excused were Sens. Liston A. Davis, Terrence Nelson and Basil Ottley Jr. Sens. Celestino A. White, Louis P. Hill and Ronal E. Russell were absent.
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Oct. 14, 2007 -- The Senate Committee on Labor met Friday in the Frits E. Lawaetz Conference Room on St. Croix to hear testimony from Wanda Morris, director of workers' compensation, on proposed amendments to the workers' compensation statute.
Sen. Juan Figueroa-Serville was the only legislator who showed up.
Figueroa-Serville said legislation is needed to more accurately reflect how workers compensation issues are resolved, and he chastised unexcused senators for their absence.
"It would be nice to see my colleagues on the floor when the heads of departments take time out to be here," he said.
Before addressing proposed amendments, Morris gave a brief overview of the functions and services provided by the Worker's Compensation Administration. "The mission of the administration is to supply medical coverage to employees with work related injuries and occupational diseases and provide protection against the interruption of income," Morris said.
Workmen's Compensation Insurance restores two-thirds of a worker's salary. The medical coverage ceiling for care in the territory is $75,000, and $200,000 for specialized treatment outside the territory.
Morris recommended that everything in the statue that refers to the formation of a worker's compensation board be repealed. She listed the duties of such a board and then added, "All the functions outlined above are currently being performed by the V.I. Department of Labor."
She also asked that several other sections of the act be repealed because their mandated functions have never been funded and that just made the bureaucratic process more complicated.
"The answer is not establishing a workers' compensation board, because it will increase the bureaucratic process," Morris said. "It is providing the unit with the necessary resources in order to efficiently and expeditiously serve injured workers."
She also recommended cost-saving measures such as not having workers' compensation cover automobile accidents to or from work. The workers' compensation program in the Virgin Islands, she said, is the most liberal you can find and the department is continuously striving to improve claims processing.
Committee members excused were Sens. Liston A. Davis, Terrence Nelson and Basil Ottley Jr. Sens. Celestino A. White, Louis P. Hill and Ronal E. Russell were absent.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.