OIEC Quarterly Review, Number 6, April-June 2007 Page: 3
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OI EC Quarterly Review Page 3
Legislative Update (Continued)
service those injured employees that had a formal dispute and a Benefit Review
Conference was scheduled. QIEC received legislative guidance that the agency
should service all injured employees of Texas. As a result, 01 EC was given additional
funding through the legislative appropriations process to hire additional Ombudsman
as well as to obtain a customer service program to assist injured employees via
telephone. While QIEC serviced nearly 30,000 injured employees by telephone in
2006, OlEC estimates it is likely to service over 200,000 by telephone with the
addition of a customer service program. Funding for this initiative will be received
September 1, 2007.
In addition to providing individualized assistance to the
Ombudsmen assigned to their teams, the OlEC
Regional Staff Attorneys (RSAs) continue to develop
and deliver training for the Ombudsmen with a focus
on developing practical skills. In March 2007, the
Ombudsmen participated in half-day training sessions
around the state that addressed direct and cross-
examination of expert witnesses. The training
consisted of a lecture session, which addressed
strategies for dealing with expert witnesses. The
lecture was followed by a mock hearing where each of the Ombudsman participants
were afforded an opportunity to conduct a direct examination of an expert witness
called by the injured employee and a cross-examination of an expert witness called by
the insurance carrier. The RSA played the role of the expert witness. In addition,
written materials were provided to the Ombudsmen that included a list of potential
examination questions by topic and some general strategy suggestions concerning
expert witness testimony and reports. In the feedback provided following the
training, the participants indicated that the training provided deliverables that they
could employ in assisting injured workers in the administrative dispute resolution
In July 2007, the RSAs are going to provide training to the Ombudsmen at the Second
Annual 01 EC Conference on disability management and more specifically, the
treatment guidelines and return-to-work guidelines. The training will be designed to
address real world examples of how the guidelines are being used and argued in the
dispute resolution process. As with the direct and cross-examination training, the goal
of the training at the OlEC Conference is to provide tangible recommendations and
strategies for providing assistance to injured employees in this developing area of the
Finally, the third installment of practical skills training is in the process of being
developed for delivery in September 2007. This training is going to address two
different topics. One portion of the training is going to focus on discovery tools and
using them effectively in workers' compensation and the second section is going to
consider objections both from the standpoint of making proper objections and
responding to them. Feedback suggests that the training conducted by the RSAs has
been well-received by the Ombudsmen. The consensus is that the training has been
both informative and fun. Every effort is going to be made to ensure that future
training continues to serve those objectives.
The participants in
the Direct and
indicated that the
they could employ
in assisting injured
workers in the
April - June 2007
I ssue No. 6
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Texas. Office of Injured Employee Counsel. OIEC Quarterly Review, Number 6, April-June 2007, periodical, April 2007; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth575760/m1/3/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.