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Mayor Lightfoot announces reforms to workers compensation program

Following an independent audit, City to reform Workers’ Compensation program and improve services to injured employees

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced sweeping reforms to the City of Chicago’s workers’ compensation program, designed to improve services for injured workers and to help prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the administration of claims. The reforms follow the completion of an independent audit of the program. The audit revealed that the City’s workers’ compensation program had widespread deficiencies, driven by the lack of training for administrators, fraud controls, and clear policies needed to enforce consistency in investigations and claim administration.

As recommended by the audit, Mayor Lightfoot has directed the City to partner with a third party to implement changes to improve claim handling and outcomes for claimants; introduce controls and oversight that do not currently exist; and ensure a timelier response and better service for employees.  The full, unredacted audit (attached) was released today.

“The findings of this audit revealed what we already suspected: that the City’s workers’ compensation program was undermanaged and lacked proper protocols–which poses a disservice to our injured city employees as well as taxpayers,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Today, we are taking action to make this program more accountable and are making changes to bring the program in line with best practices, just like other municipalities across the nation have done.”

To professionalize the workers’ compensation program, the City will partner with Gallagher Bassett, a leading international public sector claims administrator as well as the Gallagher Global Brokerage Risk Program Administrators team to best serve the worker’s compensation needs of the City.  Gallagher Bassett’s team of experienced claims adjusters will work with the City to bring forward the following reforms:

  • Implement claim handling practices and procedures aligned with best practices
  • Adopt new technology systems to expedite claims review and control medical costs and improve outcomes for injured employees
  • Create a process for handling legacy claims with a goal of clearing the backlog
  • Implement a comprehensive “return to work” program to increase closure rates

Gallagher Bassett will also partner with the City to ensure proper training for City staff who remain involved in handling claims. The City estimates that these comprehensive changes will drive down claim costs, improve closure rates and generate significant annual savings. In 2018 alone, the workers’ compensation program cost the City more than $93 million. Gallagher’s Risk Program Administration (RPA) division will also assist the City with streamlining, coordinating and professionalizing the overall program administration.

The City’s Department of Law, Comptroller’s Office and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) engaged the firm of Grant Thornton in 2019 to conduct an independent audit of the City’s workers’ compensation program. In its audit, Grant Thornton conducted a comprehensive review of over 100 claims handled in 2017 and 2018, dozens of interviews, and a review of procedures and protocols in conjunction with best practices used in similar programs. The audit found that the program did not meet industry best practices, had an inadequately trained workforce, and lacked controls to identify fraud, waste and abuse.

The City will begin to transition claims management and processing later this year. The workers’ compensation program will remain at the Department of Finance for the interim, where it was transferred from the Committee on Finance in April of this year. As part of the management transition, outstanding claims will be transferred in a phased approach to ensure claims are not delayed or adversely impacted by the transition.

The changes to the workers’ compensation program follow on a series of good governance reforms led by Mayor Lightfoot to improve accountability, transparency and ethics at every level of City government.

Since entering the office, Mayor Lightfoot has expanded the City’s ethics requirements to all employees and elected officials, implemented new City Council rules to promote transparency, and eliminated Aldermanic Prerogative through Executive Order.

Susana Mendoza ya corre en las Ligas “Mayores” (video)

Apenas  se sacudió el polvo de su fácil carrera por la  reelección como Contralora de Illinois, y Susana Mendoza se lanza a las Ligas Mayores: La alcadía de Chicago.

“Soy Susana Mendoza y sí, me postulo para alcalde”, dice en el guión oficial de anuncios publicado por su campaña. “Podemos moldear el futuro de Chicago juntos. Pongámonos a trabajar.”

 El anuncio ha sido esperado a lo largo de dos meses, pero casi era una certeza luego que recientemente  se filtrara un video de campaña de su intención de una de las sillas más poderosa en toda la ciudad.

 En el video, Susana se identifica como una “defensora fiscal y férrea defensora de la transparencia gubernamental”, y destaca la seguridad y el mejoramiento de las escuelas públicas como parte de una visión de invertir “en el futuro de Chicago y sus vecindarios”.

“Es hora de hacer que esta ciudad funcione para todos”, dice la candidata de 46 años en el video. “Esta elección es sobre el futuro de Chicago y creo en ese futuro. Sí, tenemos retos. Y los desafíos que enfrentan las personas en la ciudad, también son mis desafíos “.

La campaña se desmarca del alcalde Rahm Emanuel al acentuar que Mendoza luchó contra los esfuerzos del alcalde  para aumentar drásticamente los precios de las calcomanías de la ciudad mientras se desempeñaba como Secretaria municipal.

 Para Susana “esta elección se trata de la próxima generación, no solo de los próximos cuatro años”, dice en el video.

Tras el anuncio, su campaña tiene hasta el 26 de noviembre para asegurar 12,500 firmas en la boleta electoral en aras de la elección de alcalde del 26 de febrero, pero los partidarios que la apoyan para postularse ya han pasado peticiones durante semanas.

Mendoza se convierte de inmediato en uno de los mejores contendientes en el atestado campo de la alcaldía, donde se encuentra en al menos 15 candidatos por el mismo puesto, entre ellos el abogado Gery Chico, quien 8 años atrás corrió si éxito contra Emanuel.

 La carrera política de Mendoza ha sido meteórica. Estuvo seis periodos en la Cámara de Representantes, luego como Secretaria Municipal y, últimamente, como Contralora del estado de Illinois. Su candidatura le imprime una fresca dinámica a la seguramente dificil carrera hacia hacia la silla mayor del City Hall. (Hispanic News Agency)