News Digest 3-4-2021


Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission requests flat budget for FY22

The Illinois Senate held its first appropriations hearing Tuesday to start the budget process for fiscal year 2022. Members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Business Regulations and Labor heard from the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, which requested a flat budget from last year at $28.8 million. The commission plans to transition to paperless in April to cut costs and help litigants file or review documents online. WGEM


Masks stack up in warehouses as nurses reuse N95 respirators

Nearly a year after the shortage of N95 masks first made headlines, nurses continue to reuse soggy and soiled ones although up to 20 certified manufacturers have entered the market. The American Mask Manufacturers Association says its members have an inventory of 233 million N95 respirators or equivalent masks in their warehouses and the capacity to manufacture 298 million per month. The group is calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revise guidance that discourages the general public from getting them. Roll Call


Ohio businesses get rate cut for workers’ compensation insurance

After returning billions to Ohio businesses to help offset COVID-19 pandemic struggles over the past year, the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation announced late last week that, for the fourth consecutive year, it has cut workers’ compensation premiums, approving a 7.1 percent net decrease in private employer rates that it said will save $71.5 million this year for about 220,000 employers. The reduction goes into effect July 1, according to a news release from the agency. The Morning Journal/The Center Square


Virginia lawmakers pass COVID-19 workers’ compensation bills

The Virginia General Assembly this week passed multiple bills allowing healthcare employees and first responders to receive workers’ compensation if they are disabled due to COVID-19. House Bill 1985 expanded workers’ compensation benefits for such employees “directly involved in diagnosing or treating persons known or suspected to have COVID-19,” including doctors and nurses. The bill provides coverage from March 12, 2020 until December 31, 2021. Patch