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State of the States July 28, 2023


NCCI reports that there is no clear decline in US economic activity and that the labor market remains “strong”

NationalResearchers from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) say that while a recession or market turndown would likely incur adverse effects on workers’ compensation premiums and losses, there is “currently no clear evidence of a decline in economic activity or employment in key industrial sectors.” Findings show that the US labor market remains strong with continual growth in wages and employment levels. While “hiring and separation rates are closer” now to pre-pandemic levels, a higher portion of separations are from workers leaving their job rather than layoffs. Although an economic recession does not seem imminent, according to NCCI, interest rate hikes and lower consumer spending could slow economic growth in the coming years. Construction employment and spending remain strong for both residential and nonresidential subsectors. Manufacturing indicators also show stability. These industries are usually the first to be affected by falling economic demand and are typically impacted early during a recession. As it stands, there are now 2.5 million more open jobs than before the pandemic in Q2 of 2023.  

  Officials from the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) finalized new measures concerning employers who fail to obtain workers’ compensation insurance

injured-workers-pharmacy-blog-floridaAfter months of rule revisions the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) finalized measures related to employers who fail to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. Some of the new rules now in effect as of July 18th include a 15 percent penalty reduction for employers who take an online course at one of the DWCs district offices, new requirements for the conditional release of a stop work order after the employer secures insurance/pays appropriate penalties, a provision that contractors should follow specific evidence protocols when working with subcontractors, and introduced levels of penalties for employers who were cited but later come into compliance before a stop work order is issued.    


Governor Mike Parson provided his signature for a bill that will enhance PTSD treatment access and benefits for first responders within the workers’ compensation system

  • Earlier this month, Governor Mike Parson signed into law SB 24 regarding expanded post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) benefits for first responders. The bill will ultimately improve access to treatment and the workers’ compensation system for first responders diagnosed with PTSD. Current law requires that a physical injury be present to become eligible for mental injury treatment. SB 24 would allow first responders with PTSD to qualify for workers’ compensation without a physical injury being present. However, the bill does clarify that those individuals with preexisting PTSD are ineligible for presumptive coverage. Bill language also adds telecommunicators (i.e. dispatchers) to the definition of eligible first responders. SB24 will become effective in just a month’s time on August 28. 

A State Appellate Court recently ruled that healthcare providers who treat injured workers are subject to workers’ compensation exclusive remedy regarding fee disputes

  • An Appellate Court determined that healthcare providers who treat injured workers are subject to workers’ compensation exclusive remedy in fee disputes. Healthcare providers seeking additional payment in workers’ compensation claims may not pursue litigation. Instead, they must take up their case in the workers’ compensation system. The court concluded that workers’ compensation law “provides healthcare providers the exclusive procedures and remedies for claims” regarding unpaid medical bills of injured worker cases. Further, the court wrote that “we cannot ignore the legislature’s unequivocally mandatory language” that mandates medical fee disputes to be resolved in the workers’ compensation, not the tort system. 

Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill into law that would increase maximum fees for doctor reports in workers’ compensation  

injured-workers-pharmacy-blog-new-jerseyGovernor Phil Murphy approved a bill (S3309) increasing doctor report fees in workers’ compensation. The legislation provides a 66.67 percent raise in the maximum payment owed to doctors for writing reports that estimate permanent disability or describe medical treatment needs. Currently, report fee maximums stand at $600; S3309 would bring this figure to $1,000. Bill language also requires that psychologists, nurse practitioners, and licensed clinical social workers be paid for testimony or writing reports concerning the treatment of an injured worker. The Senate voted in favor of the bill in March, followed by the Assembly in May.  

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