William Massey, Assistant Administrator of Vocational Recovery Services, attended the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute’s 34th Annual Issues & Research conference in Boston, MA. The theme of the conference was “Work and the Comp System: Evolution, Disruption, and the Future.” Presenters from throughout the United States discussed topics that included: future labor force trends, value-based care, the opioid crisis, prescription drugs in the workplace, future workers’ compensation models, chronic pain treatments, and medical cannabis.
CRANSTON, RI — The Department of Labor and Training (DLT) today is announcing that the nonprofit, outpatient physical and vocational rehabilitation facility it operates on the East Side of Providence has a new name: The Chief Judge Robert F. Arrigan Rehabilitation Center, or the Arrigan Center.
Governor Gina M. Raimondo signed the legislation on June 30, 2017 changing the facility’s name from the Dr. John E. Donley Rehabilitation Center, which it had been called for more than 60 years, to the Arrigan Center. Rep. Robert E. Craven Sr. (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown), Rep. Daniel P. McKiernan (D-Dist. 7, Providence), Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter), Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick), and Rep. J. Aaron Regunberg (D-Dist. 4, Providence) sponsored the bill.
Established through the RI Workers' Compensation Act, the center involves medical doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and educators to rehabilitate workers injured on the job. A physician or the Workers’ Compensation Court must refer injured workers. It doesn’t cost private insurers any money. It’s free to patients covered by workers’ comp insurance. Center staff provide case management, physical and occupational therapy, psychological counseling, pain management treatment programs, information about workplace ergonomics, educational and vocational counseling, and other services.
“To limit confusion, we want to let the public, and particularly doctors and doctors’ offices, know that the center’s name has changed,” said DLT Director Scott Jensen. “The Arrigan Center’s mission, however, remains the same. It still will offer treatment that aims to restore function, improve injured workers’ skills in coping with pain, and return workers to work and social independence.”
Chief Judge Arrigan was a lifelong resident of Rhode Island, attending Providence public schools and graduating from La Salle Academy. He graduated from Providence College in 1957, attended the US Naval Academy, served as a Captain in the US Army Reserves, and earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law School in 1961. Admitted to the Rhode Island bar in 1961, he was a Providence Municipal Court Judge from 1975 to 1978 when Governor J. Joseph Garrahy appointed him commissioner of the RI Workers’ Compensation Commission. Arrigan later became vice chairman of the commission, leading the effort to transform the commission to a court. Governor Bruce Sundlun appointed Arrigan as Chief Judge of the Workers’ Compensation Court in 1991. He served until retiring in 2002. Arrigan died in 2013.
DLT’s Role in the RI Workers’ Compensation System
Workers’ comp premiums are based on a company’s payroll. DLT finances the entire workers’ comp system using the net premiums collected by carriers. Unlike Unemployment Insurance and Temporary Disability Insurance — which are insurance programs run by DLT — DLT’s Workers’ Compensation division, however, is not an insurance program. It monitors and serves as the information clearinghouse of the RI workers’ compensation system. DLT makes sure the workers’ comp system works for everyone: workers, employers, insurance carriers, doctors’ offices, and lawyers’ offices.
As the record keeper, DLT ensures that claims are paid correctly and that required employers have insurance coverage. DLT maintains all documents detailing claims along with proof of coverage documents and agreements between employers and employees returning to work. The agency compiles information about injuries and costs, educates workers about their rights, responsibilities, and protections, has an active Fraud and Compliance Unit, and runs the Arrigan Center.
By law, two other state agencies handle aspects of workers’ compensation insurance in Rhode Island. The Department of Business Regulation issues licenses for insurers and adjusters. Among other responsibilities, the independent Workers’ Compensation Court — headed by Chief Judge Robert M. Ferrieri — resolves disputes, runs the Medical Advisory Board, refers injured workers to the Arrigan Center, and works closely with the Arrigan Center to identify injured workers who may be at risk of abusing pain medication prescribed for chronic pain.
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