February 6 2017: Virginia Appoints New Commissioner
Mr. Robert Rapaport Named Commissioner of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
[Richmond, VA]- On January 18, 2017, the Virginia General Assembly appointed Robert Rapaport as Commissioner of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWC). Commissioner Rapaport will join Commissioners Wesley G. Marshall and R. Ferrell Newman. The Commissioners serve as appellate judges at the agency and direct its operations and staff of 292.
Commissioner Rapaport will begin his judgeship at the VWC on February 16, 2017. He is a 1976 graduate of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1979 from the Marshall Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary. His appointment as Commissioner follows a 35-year practice of law with a heavy concentration in workers’ compensation. He currently serves as President of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation American Inn of Court and was nominated as a fellow of the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in 2016.
March 2016: Virginia Fee Schedule Legislation Enacted
Legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly and signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe directs the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission to establish fee schedules for medical services provided for workers’ compensation claims effective January 1, 2018. The legislation also creates a stakeholder advisory panel to consider certain specified issues not addressed in the initial fee schedule.
For additional information click Virginia Fee Schedule Legislation Summary for additional information on the new legislation provided by John Heard, Legislative Counsel/Executive Secretary for The Virginia Self-Insurers Association.
February 2016: OKLAHOMA OPT OUT LAW RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission, in the case of Jonnie Vasquez v. Dillard’s Department Stores, today found Sections 203 and 209 of the Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act (the law that allows employers to opt out of the traditional workers’ comp system) unconstitutional on the following grounds:
The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission ruled that the “Oklahoma Option” does not satisfy the requirements of their unique state Constitution. The 15-page Commission Order can be found here. The Commission did not make any ruling regarding the injury benefits that were paid.
February 2016: Texas Governor Greg Abbott Reappoints Ryan Brannan Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation
Governor Abbot reappointed Ryan Brannan Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation at the Texas Department of Insurance. Commissioner Brannan has served in this capacity since first being appointed in August 2014 and his new term will not expire until February 2017.
TDI’s Division of Workers’ Compensation regulates the workers’ compensation system in Texas, ensuring injured workers receive the necessary benefits to quickly return to work, and that workers’ compensation costs are kept at a reasonable level for Texas employers.
January 29, 2016: Governor McCrory Names Allen Next Chairman of the N.C. Industrial Commission
Governor Pat McCrory has designated Charlton L. Allen of Iredell County as the next Chairman of the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Allen will succeed current Industrial Commission Chairman Andrew T. Heath, who will become State Budget Director effective February 1st.
“Charlton Allen will continue the high standards of leadership and excellence of Chairman Andrew Heath at the Industrial Commission,” Governor McCrory said. “I am proud to have these dedicated public servants on our team.”
Governor McCrory previously appointed Allen as a member of the Industrial Commission in 2014. Allen is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Prior to his service as a Commissioner, Allen was an attorney in private practice.
The North Carolina Industrial Commission administers the Workers’ Compensation Act, the Tort Claims Act, the Childhood Vaccine-Related Injury Act, the Law Enforcement Officers’, Firemen’s, Rescue Squad Workers’, and Civil Air Patrol Members’ Death Benefit Act, the Act to Compensate Individuals Erroneously Convicted of Felonies, and the Eugenics Compensation Program.
January 27, 2016: Sheral Kellar Appointed Director at Louisiana Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration
Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Ava Dejoie announced today the appointment of Sheral Kellar as director of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration.
Kellar, a licensed attorney with more than 25 years of experience in labor, employment and workers’ compensation law and most recently the Workers’ Compensation chief judge, will oversee the adjudication of claims under Louisiana’s workers’ compensation laws and related matters. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors and the Curriculum Committee of the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers. In July 2015, Louisiana Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson appointed Kellar to the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Access to Justice Commission.
October 2015: Maine Joins SAWCA
Maine becomes the 21st jurisdiction and the 19th state to become a member of the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators. Paul Sighinolfi, Executive Director/Chair of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board shared the good news with SAWCA officials in early October and has made plans to attend the 2015 All Committee Conference in November. Some might be surprised with Maine and our Southern Association, but SAWCA is really about collegiality and mutual support. All jurisdictions with an interest in contributing to the success of workers’ compensation are welcome to participate.
SAWCA…not wasting anytime immediately put Paul to work as moderator of a panel discussion focusing on recent state Supreme Court cases…notably Protz v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Derry Area School District) that questions the constitutionality of automatically adopting future editions of the AMA Disability Guide.
SAWCA is pleased to welcome Paul and the Great State of Maine to the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators.