This is the agency's second attempt to trim expenses. Last year, the WCD cut spending, laid off staff, and held off on filling vacant positions.
"We had hoped these steps would be enough, but since last year our revenue projections have worsened," said John Shilts, administrator of the division. "To address this situation, we must make additional expenditure reductions."
In addition to further layoffs, the agency is considering outsourcing to the private sector the scheduling of compelled medical examinations, such as medical arbiter examinations, for injured workers. The WCD may also eliminate the department's facilitation of 90-day conferences when a worker is not yet in a vocational assistance plan. Officials said the agency is delaying some resource-heavy technology projects, such as electronic reporting of claims.
"Oregon's workers' compensation system is extremely successful and often looked at as a model by other states," Shilts said. "Although this economy is presenting challenges, we are committed to maintaining critical programs that Oregon's workers and employers depend on."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
July 1, 2010
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