About HIWA

Intro

Officially organized on November 4, 2004 as Hawaii Injured Workers Alliance when over 50 concerned citizens of the state met, drafted and approved a charter. The now Hawai'i Injured Workers Association (HIWA) was formed on the example of parallel organizations across the U.S. and Canada. Like its many sister organizations, HIWA was formed to give voice to the many people and groups who feel they and the injured workers they support are being abused and victimized by a growing political agenda that has lost concern and compassion for the real victims of industrial injury, the workers.

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Call to Action!

SB 1174 Hearing on Tuesday - Please Submit Testimony

This bill is scheduled to be heard by the House Committee on Labor & Public Employment

Please show your support.

Tuesday, 03-24-15 9:45AM in House conference room 309.

Important Legislation

  • SB1174
  • HB679
  • HB855
  • SB766
  • SB803
Measure Title:RELATING TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION. pdf icon
Report Title:Workers' Compensation; Medical Examination
Description:Provides that an independent medical examination and permanent impairment rating examination shall be conducted by a qualified physician selected by the mutual agreement of the parties. Provides a process for appointment in the event that there is no mutual agreement. Effective 1/7/2059. (SD2)
Companion: 
Package:None
Current Referral:HTH, JDL
Introducer(s):GREEN, Espero, Riviere, Ruderman

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Measure Title:RELATING TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION. pdf icon
Report Title:Workers' Compensation; Eligibility Determination
Description:Amends workers' compensation law for temporary total and partial disability benefits through certification by a physician. Allows for contemporaneous certification and retroactive certification of disability status. Applies only during the period that injuries have not reached medical stabilization or enrollment in a vocational rehabilitation process. (HB679 HD1)
Companion: 
Package:None
Current Referral:LAB, CPC, FIN
Introducer(s):NAKASHIMA

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Measure Title:RELATING TO VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION SERVICES. pdf icon
Report Title:Vocational Rehabilitation Services; Penalties
Description:Clarifies that vocational rehabilitation providers are subject to penalties for noncompliance with workers' compensation requirements. (HB855 HD1)
Companion: SB1290
Package:None
Current Referral:HUS, JUD
Introducer(s):NAKASHIMA

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Measure Title:RELATING TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION. pdf icon
Report Title:Workers' Compensation; Independent Medical Examination
Description:Requires that a physician selected and paid for by an employer to conduct a medical examination for workers' compensation purposes shall be actively treating at least ten patients in a one-month period; be actively treating at least 50 per cent of the physician's total patient load in a one-month period; and possess medical malpractice insurance. Defines "actively treating".
Companion: HB215
Package:None
Current Referral:HTH, JDL
Introducer(s):SHIMABUKURO, CHUN OAKLAND, Ihara

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Measure Title:RELATING TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION. pdf icon
Report Title:Workers' Compensation; Impartial Physician; Exam; Appropriation ($)
Description:Requires a workers' compensation impartial exam to be conducted by a doctor whose specialty is appropriate for the injury to be examined in cases where the director of labor and industrial relations appoints a doctor to conduct an exam. Appropriates funds for the purpose of this measure. Effective 01/07/2059. (SD1)
Companion: 
Package:None
Current Referral:JDL/HTH, WAM
Introducer(s):GREEN

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Mar 28 2012

This letter was witten by Attorney Wayne Mukaida to Senator Ige, Chairman of theWays & Means committee. It is his committee that is holding two very important peices of legislation from Senator David Y. Ige
Phone: 808-586-6230
Fax: 808-586-6231

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.moving forward.
I again ask everyone to please call or email Sen. Ige's office and ask him to hold a hearing for these bills;
HB466 HD1 and HB 2152

Dear Senator Ige:

I understand that HB466 HD3 SD1 relating to Workers' Compensation mutually agreed upon Medical Examinations is before your Ways and Means Committee. I urge that the bill move forward.

Every year, significant numbers of your constituents are injured at work. Per the Department of Labor's 2010 Workers' Compensation Data Book, which is the last one published, about 20,000 workers' compensation claims were filed in 2010. Similar numbers of injuries occur yearly.

A significant number of injured workers are subjected to examinations by physicians unilaterally chosen by insurers. These physicians are paid handsomely by the insurers. The physicians are not subject to medical malpractice claims because there is no doctor/patient relationship for these examinations. Therefore, there is significant incentive and leeway for these physicians to slant their findings. One insurance physician earned more than $1 million dollars from a single insurer.

Many injured workers are abused by the reports of insurers' physicians. The insurers have used these reports to unfairly deny claims of injured workers and to deny medical care. Injured workers often do not have the financial resources to rebut the reports. Many injured workers are out of work, and have lost their personal health care benefits. Many of your constituents are therefore very, very upset with the system which allows this insurance practice.

There is simply no basis for anyone to honestly and logically argue against a process which selects a fair physician. In fact, a system of having the insurer and the injured worker mutually agree upon a physician is already in place when it is time for the extent of permanent injuries to be measured. This system of a mutually choosing a physician to rate injuries has been proven to work in many thousands of cases over many years. Many attorneys who represent injured workers cannot think of an instance where there was no agreement on the selection of a rating physician and the need for a hearings officer had to intervene.

Therefore, please allow the Bill to move forward. The Department of Labor is in need of more hearings officers to address many other issues. However, the need to remedy the abuses of insurer physicians' examinations is so severe.

I have been an attorney since 1978, and have devoted a substantial portion of my legal practice to representing injured workers. Many of the 20,000 workers who are injured annually are unfairly forced to suffer because of insurer selected physicians. These workers also have family members who also suffer because this practice: household bills do not get paid, utilities are shut off, families become homeless.

The system needs to be repaired. If the concern about moving the bill forward is the budgetary concern about having to fund more positions for more hearings officers, then the funding provision should be stricken from the bill, and the bill allowed to move forward.

Thank you,
Wayne Mukaida
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HIWA Brochure

new HIWA-Brochure Page 1

Read More On NPR's Workers' Comp Investigation

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    Dennis Whedbee, 52, lost half of his left arm in a drilling accident in North Read More
  • As Workers' Comp Varies From State To State, Workers Pay The Price +

    Jeremy Lewis lost his left arm during a work-related incident while working at Pilgrim's Pride Read More
  • Federal Regulators Link Workers' Comp Failures To Income Inequality +

    A few hours after ProPublica and NPR issued the first in a series of reports about workers' compensation "reforms" Read More
  • 'Grand Bargain' In Workers' Comp Unravels, Harming Injured Workers Further +

    Joel Ramirez climbs back into his wheelchair with the help of Francisco Guardado, a home Read More
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Work Comp FAQs

  • How do I file a Work Comp claim? +

    The Basics If you believe you were injured at work or suffer from an illness Read More
  • Workers' Compensation for Employees +

    WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR WC BENEFITS? Most employees who suffer from any injury or illness, Read More
  • Who is required to provide Work Comp coverage? +

    Any employer, other than those excluded below, having one or more employees, full-time or part-time, Read More
  • What are my benefits? +

    What does workers' compensation pay for? Workers' compensation includes medical benefits; wage loss replacement benefits Read More
  • Know your rights! +

    Worker's Compensation, sometimes referred to as "Workman's Compensation" or "Worker's Comp", is the name given Read More
  • What should I do if injured at work? +

    If you are injured at work, immediately report the accident to your employer and seek Read More
  • What types of Worker Compensation is available in Hawaii for injured workers +

    Here's a list of the various types of Worker Compensation available to Hawaii's injured workers; TTD, Read More
  • From whom can I obtain medical treatment? +

    You may obtain medical treatment from a physician of your choice. However, you may be Read More
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