Montana Self Insurers' Association

MSIA Update April 2024

  • Roseburg Forest Products
  • Dept of Labor Red Tape WC Rules Changes
  • MSIA Webinar 5/1 – TRAUMA – Unlocking the Brain
  • Welcome New MSIA Member – Insurhealth Affinity Group
  • National Council of Self Insurers – Early Bird Registration Ends 4/30
  • MSF Annual Medical Conference

Roseburg Forest Products

You may have heard through the media that Roseburg Forest Products, a long time MSIA member, is shutting down their Missoula operation. They have been making particle board there since 1969. 

The Montana Job Service is hosting a Job Fair at their production facility in Missoula on April 23. Advance registration is requested and contact Angie McDonald, 406-243-7828 or to learn more. With employment as tight as it is, this might be a good opportunity to talk to experienced workers, including some skilled workers. Members are encouraged to participate if you need additional staff. 

Dept of Labor Red Tape WC Rules Changes

The Montana Employment Services Division of the Department of Labor and Industry (ESD – formerly the Employer Relations Division/ ERD), held a public hearing on the Red Tape Initiative proposed rules changes regarding the workers’ compensation system in the state. This project is part of the Governor’s Red Tape Initiative designed to make Montana rules simpler, streamlined and make our rules easier to read, understand and apply. This is the effort to apply those goals to the workers’ compensation rules. MSIA appreciates the ESD staff’s efforts and desire to include as many perspectives as they have. They have done a very good job in achieving the goals. 

MSIA provided the only live testimony at the public hearing held on March 28. Written comments were accepted until April 5 and MSIA provided written comments supporting out testimony, attached. MSIA complimented the Department on the depth and breadth of their work as well as some specific changes proposed as they did yeoman’s work on this effort. We also suggested some changes to the proposals that would improve the rules, largely by retaining some of the language as already being clear and a reasonable interpretation of the law. 

Many of the proposed changes eliminated rules language which mimicked the law. However in the deletions recommended by the Department regarding balance billing and choice of provider, we recommended retention of existing language. The proposed changes would, in our opinion, make the rules less clear and leave some to interpret the rules differently than intended by the laws. There are three specific changes we suggested. First, to retain language regarding the prohibition on balance billing. While one could interpret the law in that manner, deleting the specific language could make the application less clear. Similarly, the existing rule language is very clear about prohibiting the use of an emergency department or urgent care as an alternative to using the treating provider designated by the employer/insurer to best treat the injury. Finally, one of the changes would permit people under the age of 18 to be licensed WC claims examiners. MSIA recommended that we should not permit people who are not legally qualified to make their own healthcare decisions, make those same decisions for injured workers. 

The Department will respond to all comments received and issue final rules for adoption. A copy of the current proposal is here - (once there, click on the Workers’ Compensation button). 

Next MSIA Webinar – TRAUMA – Unlocking the Brain to Heal Itself With Virtual Reality 

Presented by Dr. Gerry Stanley 5/ @ 10a MDT Advance Registration Required

Sponsored by Turner Vocational Resources and 

The Preferred Medical 

Diving into new technology as an alternative and supplement to traditional approaches, Dr. Gerry Stanley, Senior VP & Chief Medical Officer for Harvard MedTech, will walk us through trauma and its’ impacts. And then, he will take us into the brave new world of virtual reality as a treatment modality. 

  • What is Virtual Reality as a Treatment Modality? 
  • How Does it Work 
  • The Science Behind the Magic of Virtual Reality 
  • How Virtual Reality Can be Used as Treatment, and 
  • What is the IMPACT – Patient Outcomes, Experience and Financial Savings from current costs 

Dr. Stanley is a leader in healthcare innovation and workers’ compensation. Don’t miss learning about this new, exciting and potentially industry disrupting approach utilizing new technologies that are safe, effective and save money over the old approach! 

Join us on May 1 at 10a MDT to learn more about improving patient outcomes, enhancing the patient experience and seeing savings at the same time. Advance registration is required by contacting the MSIA or through our website at TRAUMA – Unlocking the Brain Members have access to unlimited seats (if you are receiving this UPDATE, you are eligible for member seats). Registration closes April 30. 

New MSIA Member – InsurHealth Affinity Group

Bridging the gaps in Healthcare services in the spirit of Florence Nightingale, the InsurHealth Affinity Group brings national integrated resources network with a special focus on the total coordination of patient care. CaseMed Solutions is the founding member establishing and developing The InsurHealth Affinity Group. Why InsurHealth? Because of the synergies in business that CaseMed and other case management companies have between self-insured employers and healthcare organizations. The Affinity Group is designed to create collaborative alliances with other case management companies, healthcare providers and their other business synergies to join InsurHealth’s “Ecosystem Business Model/Network”. Since every company has an “affinity of business relationships and resources,” the Affinity Group has the ability to expand all Affinity Group members into a national network services business and the Affinity Group customers will enjoy an expanded array of case management and healthcare services.

What sets InsurHealth apart from other single-focused business alliances and networks is INTEGRATION and Equity. The Affinity Group integrates Case Management companies with Healthcare Providers, Third Party Administrators Claims (TPA Claims) organizations, P&C/L&A Insurance Companies, Law Firms, Cities/Counties/Municipalities, School Districts/Universities and Self-Insured Corporations and welcomes them to become Affinity Group members. The Affinity Group offers Equity and Associate Memberships in the Affinity Group for those companies who want to participate in the Affinity Group’s “Integrated Network Economy (INE)” Commerce. For more information or case management referrals contact Nancy Graham at or 406-794-4446.

2024 National Council Annual Meeting 

June 2 – 5 - St. Pete Beach, FLA

This year’s National Council of Self Insurers Annual Conference promises to be one of the meetings you will wish you attended – if you don’t register and get the early bird pricing!! 

There’s still time. MSIA members register at the membership rate. However, the EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION closes on April 30. There’s still time – but….you have to register soon to join us in fabulous St. Petersburg Beach, FLA. We’re meeting at the Don CeSar – holy cow, it can’t get much better than this! 2024 National Council Annual Meeting

The National Council Annual Conference is where self-insurers talk to self-insurers. The meeting agenda includes

  • Safety – What’s the Latest in Wearables and How Can We Learn From What They Tell Us?
  • MSA’s – The Employer’s and an Expert’s Perspectives
  • Humanizing the Workers Compensation Claims Process
  • Controlling Litigation Costs – the latest from a 50 state exposure employer
  • Unbundling TPA Programs for Customized Medical Management    
  • What To Do When OSHA Comes-A-Knockin’
  • AI in the Claims Process
  • Trolls, Bots, Truths & AI: Navigating the Muddy Waters of Social Media Investigations
  • New Opportunities for Old Dog Claims
  • Understanding the Language of Pharmacy
  • How to Hold Your Service Partners to Your Standards
  • The 2024 Election and What it Means for Our Business – We’ll get a state and federal legislative analysis and discuss the potential impact of this election year

We will hear from Stanley Steemer, Marriott, Chick-Fil-A, Publix Markets, Roto Rooter, our own Mike Marsh and Sibanye Stillwater Mining, Southern Legacy Waffles (Waffle House), Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits. American Electric Power and more. There will also be the annual meeting of state association executives, who openly share what’s working for them and what we’re all seeing on the legislative front. 

This is one of the few meetings where employers, share what they’re doing, what’s working and how they are making a difference – with other employers. Register now! 

2024 National Council Annual Meeting

MSF Medical Conference – Red Lodge 5/15 - 17

The annual MSF Medical Conference has been running since 2002. It is a wonderful opportunity to connect with medical providers, nurses, case managers, PT’s, attorneys, vendors and others involved in the Montana workers’ compensation system in a more intimate setting. This year the title is "Bridging the Gap from Medical to Legal in Workers' Compensation" and the Conference in being held in Red Lodge from May 15th to May 17th. Registration is available through the MSF website, MSF Medical-Conference

This annual conference typically brings speakers who have national as well as Montana specific experience and knowledge. It is among the more specific conferences in the state in dealing with workers’ compensation medical issues. Here is a sampling of the agenda: 

  • The Current Evidence for Ortho-Biologics in the Treatment of Musculoskeletal Injuries 
  • Failure of Non-Cooperative Care 
  • Vocational Rehab Ethics & Return to Work
  • Fight for Life: A Flight Nurse Who Survived
  • Objective Medical Findings: Montana Law vs Medical Opnion
  • Medication Management & Mitigation Strategies
  • Medically Unexplained Symptoms
  • Medical Management 101: Evaluation, Diagnosis, & Treatment of Work-Related Injuries 

Registration is available through the MSF website, MSF Medical-Conference