News And Updates

Gov. Branstad names Joe Cortese Workers’ Compensation Commissioner

 (DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today appointed Joe Cortese Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. Cortese will replace Michelle “Miki” McGovern, who had been serving as the acting Commissioner since September 2014.

“With over thirty years of experience in workers’ compensation, I’m confident Joe Cortese will serve as an independent and fair commissioner,” said Branstad. “I appreciate Miki’s service to the department and the state in the interim.”

The Workers’ Compensation Commissioner is the head of the Division of Workers’ Compensation which is part of Iowa Workforce Development. Workers’ compensation has the responsibility of administering, regulating, and enforcing the workers’ compensation laws. Though the workers’ compensation commissioner’s office cannot represent the interests of any party, the agency provides information regarding the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Law, the rights of the parties, and the procedures the parties can follow to resolve their disputes.

Cortese practices workers’ compensation law at Huber, Book, Cortese & Lanz, where he is a partner. He has been with the firm, formerly Jones, Hoffman & Huber, since 1981. He has been a partner since 1985. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and earned his J.D. with honors from Drake Law School. He is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association, Polk County Bar Association, Iowa Association of Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, Iowa Defense Counsel Association, Defense Research Institute and a founding member of the American Academy of ADR Attorneys.

 Cortese will assume the role of Commissioner effective February 16, 2015. His appointment is subject to Iowa Senate confirmation.

Medical Mileage

 Medical mileage will be increasing to $.575 on July 1, 2015.  Mileage at $.56 will continue to be paid until June 30, 2015.  (12-14)


Please remember to use our updated forms indicating Acting Workers' Compensation Commissioner. (9-14)

Acting Workers' Compensation Commissioner

Michelle A. McGovern has been named Acting Workers' Compensation Commissioner in a press release issued by the Governor's office on September 8, 2014.

Hearing Report And Order Approving Same

The parties may now use either the new or the old hearing report effective immediately.

The new hearing report has been updated as a fillable and collapsible form and may be used for contested case hearings. The hearing report form contains new sections to allow greater development of issues preserved by parties for contested case hearings. The parties should complete the updated and amended hearing report prior to hearing and print off a completed form for presentation to the deputy commissioner at the hearing. The new form requires active content to be enabled when opening and saving the form on a computer – if active content is not enabled the form may not be fully functional. After the active content is enabled, the form can be collapsed to remove irrelevant portions of the report form prior to printing. (9/14)

Second Injury Fund Assessment

Sufficient funds are not available to meet the liabilities of the Second Injury Fund. Therefore, an assessment will be imposed upon insurers and self-insured employers in the State of Iowa. The assessment is $5M. Notices were e-mailed from the Iowa Insurance Division office on October 9, 2014. The assessment amount is due by November 10, 2014.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about the assessment, please feel free to contact Angela Burke Boston at 515-281-4119 or angela.burke.boston@iid.iowa.gov.

Online Model Worker Safety Program - Avoiding Falls

The United States Department of Labor has published a new website to assist employers in the protection of their workers from falls. The three step program, which can be a model for Iowa employers in workplace safety, calls for employers to Plan, Provide, and Train. The model program can be located at the following website which is compatible with mobile technology for implementation at job sites: (8-5-13)


Parties interested in securing immediate approval of settlements must telephone the Division in advance and secure an appointment time thru the appropriate compliance administrator. The availability of these appointments will be on a case-by-case basis. (8-28-13)
Penny 515-281-8351 (A - H)
Ros 515-281-3960 (I-P)
Ann 515-281-8368 (Q-Z)

The Division of Workers’ Compensation will not approve a second compromise settlement for the approval of an MSA set aside. A file stamped addendum is all that will be accepted for filing. The addendum can then be attached to the original settlement and send to CMS. If a reliable source informs the division that CMS is not accepting that as compliant, the division will revisit the issue once what CMS actually requires is apparent. (4-13)

Frequently Asked Questions About HIPAA & Workers' Compensation

State law says I may disclose records, relating to the treatment I provided to an injured worker, to a workers' compensation insurer for purposes of determining the amount of or entitlement to payment under the workers' compensation system. Am I allowed to share this information under the HIPAA Privacy Rule?

Yes. A covered entity is permitted to disclose an individual's health information as necessary to comply with and to the full extent authorized by workers' compensation law.

State law says I may provide information regarding an injured workers' previous condition, which is not directly related to the claim for compensation, to an employer or insurer if I obtain the workers' written release. Am I permitted to make this disclosure under the HIPAA Privacy Rule?

Yes. A covered entity may disclose protected health information where the individual's written authorization has been obtained.  A covered entity would be permitted to make the above disclosure if the individual signed such an authorization.

I am a health care provider and my State law says I have to provide a workers' compensation insurer, upon request, with an injured workers' records that related to treatment or hospitalization for which compensation is being sought. Am I permitted to disclose the information?

Yes. The HIPAA Privacy Rule permits a covered entity to disclose protected health information as necessary to comply with State law.

Does an individual have a right under the HIPAA Privacy Rule to restrict the protected health information his or her health care provider discloses for workers' compensation purposes?

No. Individuals do not have a right under the Privacy Rule to request that a covered entity restrict a disclosure of protected health information about them for workers' compensation purposes if the disclosure is required or authorized by a workers' compensation law.

5. Further information may be found at Summary of HIPPA rules. (1-28-13)

Earned Income Tax Credit Information for Injured Iowans

Many injured workers will suffer a loss of income as a result of a disability or loss of employment. That loss of income may lead to entitlement to an Earned Income Tax Credit that can be explored when filing federal and state income taxes for wages earned in any year.  Low-income taxpayers who may qualify for this credit can receive additional information at the following location:

Information regarding the Iowa state credit can be found at:
or by calling 1-800-367-3388.

Please do not direct questions regarding this Tax Credit to the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation.

No Hearing Room Access For Preparation Of Cases

Recently attorneys have been meeting with clients in the agency hearing rooms hours before scheduled hearings. This occurs when counsel meet with their clients to prepare them for hearing. This practice occasionally results in agency staff accidentally overhearing discussions between attorneys and clients.

This practice will no longer be allowed.

In the future, if you need to meet with your client, please do so in a coffee shop, a restaurant, the state historical building, or some other public place. Please do not expect to be allowed to use the hearing rooms to prepare your client for a contested case before the scheduled time for hearing. Your understanding and cooperation with this policy is appreciated.

Commissioner Godfrey Issues Decision in Iowa Workforce
Development Labor Claim

On Tuesday March 8, 2011 Commissioner Godfrey filed his decision in a wage and hour dispute between the state of Iowa and those doing business as Henry’s Turkey Service. The Commissioner was acting on behalf of the Iowa Labor Commissioner David Neil, pursuant to rule 875 IAC 1.91(2). The decision involved questions of whether those doing business as Henry’s Turkey service paid a minimum wage pursuant to Iowa Code section 91D.1, whether they provided a “pay stub” pursuant to Iowa Code section 91A.6(4), and whether they made illegal deductions for room and board and kind care from the wages earned by the disabled workers. (3-10-11)

EDI Release 3 tables are now available on the EDI page under the EDI Links section   (7-10)



Hearing Locations (12-10-12)

The venue addresses are as follows:

Cedar Rapids - Eff. 1-3-11
Lindale Mall - STE 436
4444 1st Ave NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Iowa Falls
Ellsworth College
Renewable Energy Center
707 Ellsworth Ave
Iowa Falls, IA 50126
Indian Hills Comm College
IHCC North Campus
Iowa Workforce Development Center
15260 Truman St.
Ottumwa, IA 52501

Sioux City
IA Workforce Center
2508 4th St
Sioux City, IA 51101

IA Workforce Development
3420 University Ave
Waterloo, IA 50701



Beginning April 1, 2010, the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation will utilize a new fee schedule and updated request forms for outside parties or individuals seeking information or copies from the Division. The new fee schedule can be found HERE and the new copy/information request form can be found HERE. Information about the process for requesting information can be found HERE.

2008 AMA Guides Task Force Recommendations

Guides Process Report

Reports from committee members

Matthew Dake  James Gallagher  John Brooke  Dr. John Kuhnlein  Marlon Mormann  R. Saffin Parish  Sara Sersland - response  Peter Thill

Self-Insured Employer's link

In addition to the ability to check for the employer's workers' compensation carrier that we recently added to our site this link will take you to the Iowa Insurance Commissioner's office and the list of approved self-insured employers in Iowa. (8-12)   http://www.iid.state.ia.us/individual_employer 

How Your Workers' Compensation Benefits can affect your Social Security Benefits. (7-31-13)

For Answers to questions on how your social security benefits can be affected by workers' compensation benefits. (7-31-13)

Resolution of Medical Fee Disputes

Over the past several months the Workers’ Compensation Commission has received numerous inquires regarding the resolution of medical fee disputes. As required by Iowa Code section 85.27(3), and rules 876 IAC 10.3 and 876 IAC 4.46, insurers and providers who have a medical fee dispute must take the following steps to resolve the dispute:

1.  An insurer who disputes a charge must give a provider written notice of the disputed charge within 60 days of receiving a bill. Charges not in dispute must be paid to the provider before using the procedures in rule 876 IAC 10.3.

2. The notice should contain: names of employee and employer; date of injury; date of disputed treatment; the amount of the charge the insurer agrees to pay; the amount of the charge in dispute; the reason the charge is believed to be excessive or unnecessary, and the documentation relied on; the address for directing correspondence; and the procedures available through the Workers’ Compensation Commission to resolve the dispute.

3. If the provider does not accept the amount the insurer agrees to pay, the provider must give written notice, and ask the disputed amount go to a reviewer for review.

4. The person chosen as the reviewer cannot be the Workers’ Compensation Commission. If the parties cannot agree upon a reviewer, each shall submit a name to the commissioner, and the commissioner shall decide who is to act as a reviewer.

5. The reviewer, as soon as practicable, is to determine in writing the amount of the charge that is reasonable and necessary. Costs of the review are to be paid as agreed to by the parties.

6. A dispute over a charge can include the reasonableness of the charges. It may also include the necessity of the charge.

7. A contested case proceeding may be commenced only after these steps for dispute resolution have been followed, and good faith efforts to resolve the dispute have failed. Such a proceeding must be commenced within 30 days after written determination is made by the reviewer.

8. Rule 876 IAC 10.3 does not prevent providers and insurers from developing other procedures to informally resolve their disputes, if those procedures aid in the resolution of a medical fee dispute.

If the process, detailed in rule 876 IAC 10.3, does not resolve the dispute and the parties have attempted resolution in good faith, a contest case may be initiated, pursuant to rule 876 IAC 4.46. The following applies to contested cases regarding medical fee disputes:

1. Evidence is filed at the time the contested case is initiated and is limited to that provided by the reviewer, and the determination made by the reviewer.

2. The commissioner may request or allow additional evidence.

3.  If a brief is to be filed, it needs to be filed at the time the matter is commenced.

4. The opposing party has 30 days from the date of service of the petition, to file a response and optionally a brief.  (8-4-08


When submitting settlements for approval please following these requirements:

1.Compromise Settlements under ICS 85.35(3) - please be specific in your dispute. Make it clear exactly what the dispute is. Nature and extent are not sufficient without supporting medical to clearly describe the dispute.

2. Please remember that PPD benefits begin at the end of the healing or TTD period and not on a stipulated date or the date in which the doctor issues his rating.

3. Please remember that accrued benefits cannot be commuted.

4. PARs are not required except with Agreements for Settlement, and commutations, unless they are requested by the Workers' Compensation Compliance Administrator (WCCA).

5. Do not include language in violation of rule 876 IAC 6.1(2) regarding any and all injuries and do not include language that says in other states or jurisdictions. Settlements with this language will be lined out and denied by the WCCA and the settlement will be approved. (10-19-07)

Full and Partial Commutations

Please note that full and partial commutations will no longer be approved for accrued benefits, those benefits that were due at the end of the healing period. Stipulations by the parties as to a date on which permanent benefits commenced in lieu of those benefits commencing at the end of the healing period, will no longer be accepted. A commutation of less than 10 weeks is not considered in claimant's best interest. (5-1-07)

Present Value Discount Table is now available on the 535.3 Interest page.

First Report of Injury Compliance Hearings

Procedure for Judicial Review of the Division’s findings:

The deputy’s ruling on a penalty in a “FROI” compliance hearing is not subject to review by the workers’ compensation commissioner. Pursuant to Iowa Code section 86.26, any petition for judicial review arising from a deputy’s order assessing a penalty under Iowa Code section 86.12 shall name the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation and the injured worker as respondents. Proper service of the petition for judicial review shall be made on the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation, 1000 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50319 and upon the Office of the Iowa Attorney General/Special Litigation Division, 1305 E. Walnut Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.

Relief from Insurance

An employer required to provide compensation under Chapters 85, 85A and 85B may apply for relief from insurance and to become self-insured pursuant to Chapter 87.11. The employer must make application for self-insurance to the Insurance Commissioner. The application includes furnishing satisfactory proof of solvency and financial ability to pay the compensation and benefits as by law required. Requests to become self-insured shall be directed to the Insurance Commissioner at 1-877-955-1212 or though their website at www.iid.state.ia.us.

October 16, 2003

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