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Panel chairman: Let Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission realize its potential

BY TROY L. WILSON Published: August 3, 2014

Over the past week, critics of Oklahoma’s new Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) have raised issues about everything from office furniture to staff structure. What they’ve lost sight of is the purpose and mission of the new workers’ compensation structure: the delivery of a more efficient and effective system for injured workers and their employers.

The WCC began operation less than six months ago. Like any startup, it’s passing through a stage of infancy before transitioning to a growth mode. Rather than allowing critics to impede the infant’s organizational development, we should recognize the considerable successes already realized by this newly reformed system and the positive impact it has and will have on every Oklahoman.

Moving from a costly, inefficient and highly contentious judicial system gives Oklahoma taxpayers the opportunity to reap the benefits from a more progressive and efficient system. The new system represents a departure from prolonged legal disputes that previously existed, where injured workers were caught in litigation limbo for lengthy time periods lasting months or even years rather than getting back to work supporting their families.

We should be proud to now have an innovative system that’s designed to help the grandparent who’s working hard to support three generations of family members. Or the single mom juggling multiple jobs to make ends meet. If injured on the job, these workers can be assured to have a less time consuming and a less stressful process in seeking compensation prior to getting back to work, some in only a couple of weeks. Workers’ comp cases are allowed to flow quickly through a proactive process encouraging resolution, vastly impacting quality of life as well as productivity. Our focus is on the workers and their families.

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