Creating a new statewide provider network and expanding COHE

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Gov. Gregoire signs bill to improve workers' compensation system

On Monday, March 14, Governor Gregoire signed Senate Bill 5801, which directs the Department of Labor & Industries to create a statewide provider network for injured workers, as well as expand access to the state's Centers of Occupational Health Education (COHE).

The legislation is expected to save $218 million over the next four years. It will help return more workers to good health and get them back on the job after an injury, as well as reduce costs that affect everybody.

Establishing a statewide provider network

The legislation creates a statewide provider network for injured workers of State Fund and self-insured employers.

  • Create a single, statewide provider network for treating injured workers, with a goal to include the most health-care providers possible to ensure access to quality care.
  • Establish a second tier within the network, based on demonstrated use of occupational health best practices, that qualifies providers for financial and other incentives.
  • Workers will have the choice of a provider in the network.
  • For the initial visit, a worker could visit a provider who is not in the network.

L&I will work closely with the health-care community and associations around the state to establish the provider network.

Expanding Centers of Occupational Health and Education (COHE)

The legislation also directs L&I to expand injured workers' access to Centers of Occupational Health and Education (COHE). COHEs are community-based organizations that use occupational health best practices to treat injured workers. Research has shown that COHEs reduce lost work time and claim costs.

There are currently four COHEs in Renton, Spokane, Everett and Seattle, and they treat about one-fourth of all State Fund workers' compensation claims.

The goal of the legislation is to extend COHE access to at least 50 percent of injured workers by Dec. 2013 and to all injured workers by Dec. 2015.

Planning is underway

Planning is underway to implement the new legislation, but much work is ahead.

  • The provider network will be finalized over the next 12 to 24 months, and providers would be admitted thereafter.
  • The COHEs will be expanded by adding two new locations in needed geographic areas of the state by 2013 and continue to expand and offer additional services by Dec. 2015.

Current operating policies remain unchanged.

More information to come

If you have a question about how the new legislation affects you, please send it to

This website will be updated regularly as more information becomes available.

Learn more

Q&A about the provider network and COHE expansion

Get answers to your questions about how and when changes could affect you.

Letter to health-care providers (PDF 168KB)

Learn what L&I is communicating to health-care providers about these changes.

Summary of Senate Bill 5801 (PDF 19KB)

Read a summary of the bill.

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