The first Out Front Ideas with Kimberly and Mark webinar of 2017provided our thoughts on the 20 Workers' Compensation Issues toWatch in 2017. What follows is a summary of the initial 10 issuesdiscussed:

1. Election impact

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) under President Obama feltstate workers' compensation systems needed reform, and they wereprepared to recommend minimum benefit standards to the states.President Trump's nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder,has been a vocal opponent of many federal labor regulations. Fornow, any talk of the federal government getting involved in stateworkers' compensation issues seems to be on hold.

2. Health care reform

Regardless of which side of the aisle we find ourselves on,surveys have shown that most Americans believe the Affordable CareAct is not working as it was originally intended or as well as theywould like.

While we wait to see how health care reform progresses, we arehopeful that efforts underway to shift from fee-for-service tovalue-based and outcomes-focused care continue to advance and thathealth care suppliers continue to focus on population wellness asmuch as they focus on chronic disease. Kimberly George views thisas the single most important issue to watch in 2017.


Another potential impact of the election results is thedirection OSHA may take in 2017 and beyond. In recent years,employers have complained that OSHA was more focused on enforcementthan education and training, noting its shift of resources. RecentOSHA policies such as the publicly accessible online database andrestrictions on post-injury drug testing were met with significantresistance from the employer community. OSHA falls under DOL andalso is likely to have a new direction under the Trumpadministration.


Leave-of-absence regulations under the federal Family andMedical Leave Act (FMLA) have become increasingly more complex overthe past eight years.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation requestswere initially related to ergonomics and transitional workaccommodations following an illness or injury. Today, they havebecome more complex, including everything from bringing serviceanimals into the workplace, allergies and noise accommodations toestablishing work-from-home accommodations.

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