Last Wednesday David Huffstetler resigned as Commissioner of the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission. The news stories by Michael Whiteley of Workcompcentral indicate that Huffstetler, whose term was up in June next year anyway, made the decision to resign rather than be involved in a media circus over his recusing himself from a case due to a personal conflict of interest.
Apparently the attorney’s involved with the case have filed a complaint against the former Commissioner with the state Ethics Commission, not because Huffstetler admitted that he had a conflict of interest, but because they didn’t like his comments as to why he recused himself.
Regardless of the merits of the complaint, the small businesses of South Carolina have lost a true ally on the Commission. Huffstetler was steadfast in his conviction not to make changes to healthcare provider compensation schedules that would increase workers’ comp premiums.
When he was chairman of the Commission, Huffstetler supported the implementation of a hospital fee schedule that has saved businesses about $100 million a year in workers’ comp costs. Just recently he expressed his unwillingness to vote to carve out higher reimbursements for some healthcare providers and opposed changing the law to allow future Commissions to alter healthcare provider compensation without approval of the General Assembly.
I wish Commissioner Huffstetler well in his retirement. Workers’ compensation premiums have been better for small business because of his service.