State workers' comp system could see changes - WSMV Channel 4

State workers' comp system could see changes

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Union leaders are blasting a bill that would overhaul the workers' compensation system in Tennessee.

State lawmakers have been debating whether to let an independent agency rule on workers' comp claims.

Some say it would keep the matters out of court and help resolve cases more quickly, but opponents argue it would put too much power in the hands of government.

They point to an audit released last week that found the Tennessee Department of Labor overpaid $73 million in claims due to errors and alleged fraud.

"This bill creates a new bureaucracy in the Department of Labor, and the Department of Labor has demonstrated that it cannot function properly as it's currently operating," said State Rep. Mike Turner, D-Old Hickory.

Gov. Bill Haslam has made workers' comp reform a major priority, but critics of the potential changes say they should be delayed until the Department of Labor itself has been fixed.

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