Edwardsville, IL…An audit report released today by the Illinois Auditor General investigating the state’s workers’ compensation system has found that there are ‘numerous shortcomings’ within the system and that it was ‘ill designed to protect the State’s best interest’, according to State Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon).

The audit report came as the direct result of House Resolution 131, sponsored by Rep. Kay, which requested an investigation into the state’s workers’ compensation system after reports of abuse at Menard Correctional Center came to light.

“The audit report released by the Office of the Auditor General unfortunately verifies what was suspected. Namely, that there has been rampant mismanagement and abuse of the state’s workers compensation system,” Rep. Kay said.

The audit report found that three agencies (Department of Human Services, Department of Corrections, and Department of Transportation) accounted for almost two-thirds of all of the workers compensation claims in Illinois, and of those, DHS and Corrections comprised over half (53%) of all of the claims.

“Menard is the poster child of workers’ compensation abuse, with stories of employees claiming carpal tunnel injuries from turning keys in locks. Today’s report is devastating and only advances Menard’s negative reputation by revealing that it ranked first among all of the Corrections facilities in claims with 869 filed between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2010,” Rep. Kay said.

Over a four year period, Illinois paid out $295 million in workers compensation claims. Of that $295 million, almost $96 million, or one-third, was for claims filed by Corrections employees. And of that $96 million, over $30 million were from claims from Menard employees.

Additionally, the audit report contained 22 recommendations on how the General Assembly can make constructive changes to the state’s workers compensation system. Kay said he is reviewing those recommendations in recognition of the Auditor General’s opinion that standards and best practices had not been established.

“I am currently reviewing the full 212-page audit report. Once I complete my review I will begin working to determine necessary legislation needed to address the Auditor General’s audit report,” Rep. Kay said.

To view the full report, please visit the Illinois Auditor General’s website at www.auditor.illinois.gov.

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