The Federal budget crisis may have a significant adverse impact on the entire national patchwork of of workers' compensation systems. As President Obama caution yesterday, "A shutdown will have real effects on everyday lives..."
Since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has such an enormous role now in resolving workers' compensation claims, it is apparent that a shutdown of the medical system will leave the State programs stranded as they await data as to conditional payment and approval as to set-aside arrangements. The co-ordination of financial reimbursement and medical records from the Military Personnel Records Center, Veteran's Administration and Tri-Care will also be slowed. Additionally, many state labor departments are funded by the Federal government for rehabilitation programs, and a loss of income will have a dramatic impact upon their operations.
Lack of funding has already caused states to furlough personnel, close offices and not replace essential staff. A Federal shutdown presents a dismal forecast to the ailing workers' compensation system.