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Bill aims to tighten restrictions on treating worker's compensation patients

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A new bill in the state Legislature would tighten the limits that medical personnel could get for treating worker's compensation patients.

Business and labor groups supported the measure at a recent public hearing, while doctors and hospitals opposed it.  

Under the bill, the threshold would be lowered for treatment costs which are considered abnormally high. In 2015, the state would determine maximum prices that health providers could receive for particular treatments.

Medical officials said the bill would either result in less available care for injured workers, or it could hurt other parts of the health care market.

Business groups said they're paying too much compared to other states, and the new bill could save them $1 billion over 10 years. James Buchen of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce said the bill brings "common sense reform" while still giving fair compensation to injured workers.

Mark Grapentine of the State Medical Society said the costs for individual procedures may be higher in Wisconsin than elsewhere. But he says the superior quality of Wisconsin health providers reduces the need for services for the injured.

Grapentine says the costs per exam are what "most other states can only envy."

Senate Republican Glenn Grothman of West Bend, a major sponsor of the package, says over 40 other states use what he's proposing. The bill's prospects are not certain, with less than two months remaining in the current legislative session.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)