Fairness for Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation System
November 18, 2020
John Maszinski, 312-580-6440
Physician successfully sues for timely payment.
Chicago, Ill. - For the first time, Illinois doctors have successfully sued to receive the interest they are owed on delayed reimbursements for care provided to injured workers. Workers' compensation insurers routinely hold back reimbursement for medical care for months and even years as a means of saving money. This egregious practice was causing an extreme burden on medical practices. In 2005, the Illinois State Medical Society successfully backed legislation to amend the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act to require the payment of interest for delayed reimbursement. However, the government failed to enforce the requirement. Now, with a favorable class-action settlement in Michael E. Beatty, M.D., P.C. vs. Accident Fund General Insurance Company, et al., medical practices are finding relief.
"This is a big win for doctors, and will help injured workers access timely medical care," said ISMS President Robert W. Panton, MD. He added, "We hope that this will give pause to workers' compensation insurers who would bend the rules by failing to pay interest on late reimbursements."
The action by Dr. Beatty on behalf of Illinois physicians was brought prior to the enactment of new interest provisions in the comp statute ((820 ILCS 305/8.2(d)) which were initiated by the Illinois State Medical Society and which now enable Illinois physicians to enforce the interest provision directly in circuit court. Dr. Beatty's suit was brought as an "unfair practice" claim under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act (ICFA). The Southern District Federal Court found that Dr. Beatty could enforce the interest provision of the statute as an unfair practice even though the statute itself lacked an enforcement mechanism. The new ISMS-backed law now defines the pathway to sue for the payment of interest. ISMS thanks our member Dr. Michael Beatty and the Simon and the Wendt Law Firms of St. Louis for championing this cause.
Illinois Physicians can learn more about the settlement or file a claim by visiting http://beattyinterestclassaction.com/ . Contact the Claim Administrator by telephone at 1-866-977-1110 (Toll-Free). Written inquires can be made to: Beatty v. Accident Fund Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 4234, Portland, OR 97208-4234.
Founded in 1840, ISMS is a professional membership association representing Illinois physicians in all medical specialties, and their patients, statewide. Dr. Panton is an Elmwood Park-based ophthalmologist.