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John's Public Policy Blog
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John Baker, DANA's Executive Vice President of Policy & Programs, will be updating you on important public policy matters as they happen. He will also post about the activities of the Governor, Delaware's General Assembly, local issues, hearings & meetings, and legislation that relates to DANA's Public Policy Agenda.

 

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Top tags: Nonprofits  budget  Joint Finance Committee  General Assembly  Delaware  Grant-in-Aid  Governor  DEFAC  Workers Compensation  Insurance  Delaware Nonprofit Day  charitable solicitation  government  National Council of Nonprofits  Public Policy  revenue  Attorney General  Legislative Hall  Lt. Governor  Task force  Board Member  Calendar  charities  Healthcare  Office of Management and Budget  taxes  Wilmington  Advocacy  Affordable Care Act  Bond Bills 

End-of-Session Updates

Posted By John Baker, Friday, June 27, 2014

Hi All –

Here are some "end-of-session” updates for you.

Grant-In-Aid - As we move into the wrap-up of the 147th Delaware General Assembly session, Monday, June 30 – July 1, we saw the Grant-In-Aid (GIA) bill come out of the Joint Finance Committee with level funding as compared to last year's. Some applicants went up nominally, some went down, and still others were eliminated. Considering the State’s budget struggles and the cuts they made elsewhere, level funding was pretty good for GIA. The bill will be available at the following link next week if you want to check before you receive your notification from the Controller’s office: http://legis.delaware.gov/ 
In the left column at the bottom, enter "GA147" for the session, then in the last box enter "Grant-In-Aid" and click "Go” to search.

We have also been updating you on the "Grant-In-Aid Reform Initiative” that the JFC Co-Chairs initiated in earnest this past Fall. We have been at the table on this reform, along with the United Way, Delaware Community Foundation, and various other key Delaware foundations. The process has been talked about for a very long time, but it has taken hold this year under the current leadership. The reform will occur over several years, but here are the first steps that were announced yesterday for the upcoming November applications:

1.) The application forms will look a bit different. You will be able to fill in the forms as "Fillable PDFs” and they plan to move to an online application process in the next couple of years once they have the computer / IT capabilities;

2.) You will be required to list all funding sources for your organizations including Pass-Throughs, Block Grants, and all other sources;

3.) Listing of all disbursements, including Salary and Benefits, as a percent of Revenue;

4.) List of grants and Pass-Throughs from 2014 and projections for 2016;

5.) Board of Directors contact information;

6.) More detailed programmatic section with detailed description of populations served;

6.) Description of what led to your deficit or surplus, and what your plans are for managing the financial position you're in;

7.) ED/CEO and Board Chair signatures required on the application;

8.) Audited Financial Statements within the past three years will be required. You will have time to put this expense in your budget, meanwhile, you will be able to provide a statement as to why you can’t provide audited financial statements.

Because of these changes, it will be important for you to attend the regularly scheduled "Grant-In-Aid Orientation” sessions in October. Check the site. The dates will be listed in the application packages that you typically receive.

The Joint Finance Committee will meet again in September to continue their "Grant-In-Aid Reform” discussions. They will determine what aspect of funding they will address next, but they believe that it may be the $8 Million in "Pass-Throughs”.

Workers Compensation Insurance Reform & HB 373 - The General Assembly also passed, and the Governor signed, HB 373 for Workers Compensation Insurance Reform. This bill continues the work of the Governor’s Task Force. This bill is on the heels of last year's actions that the Task Force thought would solve the steady annual requests for 40% increases, that have settled at near 20% increases the previous two years. The task force identified significant medical cost reimbursements as the main driver to Workers Comp. rate increase requests. This bill caps reimbursement of treatment expenses based on Medicare reimbursement rates beginning in 2017.

So in the meantime, if we can connect you with services like the Red Cross that can help you make your workplaces safer, let us know. Your Workers Compensation Insurance rates are based on your "Experience” so if you have one injury in a small organization it can significantly impact your rates. Talk to your insurance provider, too, and ensure that they’re helping you get every advantage possible.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any comments or questions at jbaker@delawarenonprofit.org or 302.777.5500.

-John

Tags:  General Assembly  Governor  Grant-in-Aid  Insurance  Joint Finance Committee  task force  Workers Compensation 

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Delaware Workers’ Compensation Insurance Progress

Posted By John Baker, Friday, June 6, 2014

Over the past four years, workers’ compensation insurance premiums have grown by 40 percent. The majority of this premium increase results from medical costs. Nonprofits, that are businesses, small businesses and the overall economy are harmed by these increases. Because of these increases, Delaware’s workers’ compensation medical costs are among the highest in the country. The Workers’ Compensation Task Force, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn and consisting of representatives of all interested parties, was charged with finding a solution to the soaring premiums.

The Task Force’s suggestion was to tie workers compensation medical procedure payment rates to Medicare. This would result in somewhat lower reimbursement rates made to health care providers for treating workers’ compensation patients. Over the next few years, these actions will target lowering workers’ compensation costs by 33 percent. The reimbursement rate will be set at 200 percent over Medicare—with the exception that surgeons and radiologists will be paid at a slightly higher rate as a result of higher costs and more complex treatments in their particular fields.

The proposal has near unanimous support across party lines, including key support by Governor Jack Markell. This past Wednesday this House Bill 373 was voted out of the House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee and is on its way to the House Agenda. The recommendation will likely be approved by the General Assembly before the end of session on June 30th. Know that we are watching this important matter for you.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any comments or questions at jbaker@delawarenonprofit.org or 302.777.5500.

-John

Tags:  Insurance  Lt. Governor  Task force  Workers Compensation 

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Workers Comp Public Meeting

Posted By John Baker, Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hi All, 

DANA was present last evening representing the nonprofit sector at the Wilmington Public Meeting on Workers Compensation Insurance, hosted by the Delaware Department of Insurance. The program began with the Department’s Gene Reed giving opening remarks and introducing the Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau’s (DCRB) Tim Wisecarver who described the DCRB’s Filing No. 1305 requesting an average 40% increase in the Workers Compensation rates for 2014. This was followed by comments from the "Rate Payers Advocate” and their actuary (position created by the Governor’s Task Force and legislation this past June). This Advocate and their Actuary recommends an average 20% increase. This was followed by a presentation by the Delaware Department of Insurance’s Actuary who recommended an average increase of 20% as well. 

The program concluded with the Delaware Department of Insurance’s Gene Reed announcing that a Public Administrative Hearing will be announced on the Department’s website and will be presided over by the Hon. Judge Martin. The Judge will make a recommendation to the Insurance Commissioner, Karen Weldin Stewart, who will render a final decision on any rate adjustment. 

There will be an opportunity for the public to make statements at the Public Administrative Hearing and DANA will be there. 

Meanwhile, the Governor’s Task Force on Workers Compensation Insurance continues to meet to develop a course forward that is fiscally responsible and continues to support Delaware’s economic recovery.  

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me.

-John

Tags:  Governor  Insurance  public meeting  Public Policy  Task force  Wilmington  Workers Compensation 

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Workers Compensation Insurance Task Force

Posted By John Baker, Monday, May 13, 2013

Hi All,

The Governor’s Task Force on Workers Compensation Insurance concluded it’s work last Friday and presented their proposals at the Delaware State Chamber offices this Monday morning, May 13, at 10:00 am. The recommendations were presented to the Governor and General Assembly, as well.

Lt. Governor Matt Denn provided solid leadership for this task force and the members were diligent in their work, with committee meetings beginning February 8th, and taking place every Friday. Their work concluded this past Friday with the report recommending and finding:

  • That the committee should meet quarterly; an increase in frequency from annually 
  • That data was not being provided to the Healthcare Advisory Panel and Date Collection Committee in a timely manner as required by the 2007 legislation, and it will now be provided to the panel as required and more frequently
  • That Healthcare Costs were driving the increases in Workers Compensation Insurance, and not just claims, and recommendations were made to control cost and the committee will continue to watch these costs closely
  • That an "Advocate Attorney” should be hired by the Department of Insurance, in place of the typical second Actuary, to advocate on behalf of Employers when rate changes are proposed

The Task Force will continue to work on controlling costs and reforming the process to make it one of the best in the country. DANA will continue to work with the task force and with the nonprofit sector to introduce programs for improved workplace safety, and to introduce new Workers Compensation Insurance options. You can view the report by clicking HERE.

See you at Nonprofit Day on Wednesday, May 15th in Dover. Click here for details.

-John

Tags:  Delaware Nonprofit Day  General Assembly  Governor  Healthcare  Insurance  State Chamber  task force  Workers Compensation 

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