New judge hopes to streamline workers' comp protest process

CHARLESTON -- Rebecca A. Roush hopes to streamline the protest process during her term as chief administrative law judge for the workers' compensation office of judges. "With the recent decline in litigation, there has not been a better time to make improvements to our work product, such as shortening the time to render decisions and improving the quality of opinions," she said in an e-mail. "With that in mind, I intend to draw upon the great wealth of experience within the office, making better use of the employees time and expertise." But Roush's most important goal is to ensure fair and unbiased decisions are rendered based on the law and facts of the case, she said. She was appointed to the position by Gov. Joe Manchin and replaces Timothy Leach, said Jason L. Butcher, public information specialist. Roush began her new job Dec. 15 and it will expire Dec. 1, 2011, Butcher said. The workers' compensation office of judges is a division of the West Virginia offices of the insurance commissioner. West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jane L. Cline said in a news release she was pleased with the appointment. "Ms. Roush has distinguished herself among practitioners in our state's workers' compensation system," she said in the release. "Her expertise in this area, illustrated by her understanding of fair and appropriate claim handling to ensure that proper benefits are paid to deserving claimants, has helped us improve the workers' compensation system." Roush is from Mason County. She graduated from Wahama High School in 1991 and went on to the University of Rio Grande, where she earned her bachelor's degree in 1995. From there, Roush continued to Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, where she graduated in 2001. Mentors initially sparked Roush's interest in the workers' compensation field, she said. "Over the course of my career, I have encountered a number of talented professionals dedicating their careers to making improvements in this area of the law," she said. "Each of them had a love for work, a passion for scholarship and respect for fairness. It would be my honor to continue to build upon their accomplishments in the pursuit of progress for our great State." She worked as associate counsel in the legal services division of the West Virginia offices of the insurance commissioner. There she provided legal advice to the insurance commissioner on all aspects of workers' compensation law and specialized in issues related to the privatization of the workers' compensation market. Roush also worked as legal counsel at Bowles, Rice, McDavid, Graff and Love and for the office of the West Virginia attorney general where she practiced workers' compensation litigation. "We are confident that Ms. Roush will continue to serve the state well in this position," Cline said. Roush is flattered by her appointment. "I am truly honored by the appointment to the Chief Administrative Law Judge position by Governor Manchin and deeply humbled by his confidence in my ability to assume responsibility for a job that is important to our entire workforce in West Virginia, including both claimant's and employers," she said.

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