State of the States September 30, 2022

Work Comp Trends 2022 sm

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) breaks down the 2022 legislative session

NationalThe National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) breaks down the 2022 legislative session noting six key trends in the workers’ compensation space. Covid-19, vaccines, mental health, cannabis, single payer health care, and gig economy issues were the top subjects according to NCCI personnel based on bill filings.

  • Covid – Legislation on the topic continues to wind down compared to last year. However, 118 bills were filed across the country this year, showing a significant interest in addressing virus concerns. Most state presumptions have expired since being enacted in late 2020 or early 2021. Currently just CA, IL, MN, NM, TN, TX, VA, WA have covid or infectious disease presumption that are currently active.
  • Vaccines – Despite several states proposing legislation that would create a workers’ compensation presumption for potential adverse effects of the covid-19 vaccine (applies only to employee’s who are mandated by employer to take the vaccine), no state enacted such proposals.
  • Mental Health – Although 61 bills were filed to address mental health concerns only a handful of states passed legislation.
    • Colorado ensured mental injury records of injured workers would be kept private and confidential and only accessible to certain stakeholders.
    • Florida changed the conditions of application eligibility allowing more injured workers with mental injuries to be able to file a claim.
    • New Hampshire enacted legislation mandating mental health training for first responders.
    • Maine passed legislation extending its mental injury presumption for first responders to 2025.
  • Cannabis – For workers’ compensation the recent SCOTUS ruling will continue to make the issue of reimbursement for medical cannabis a state-by-state issue.
  • Single Payer Healthcare – States proposing legislation concerning a single payer system like some European systems include California, Kansas, New York and Rhode Island. However, these proposals did not go far in the legislative process and failed to garner significant traction.
  • Gig Economy & Independent Contractors – While states such as Alabama and South Dakota passed legislation to allow independent contractors to be more broadly classified, other states such as Rhode Island and Vermont proposed legislation that would make classification favor that of employee status through the ABC test (see our blog later this week). Massachusetts, who was poised to vote on the issue of worker status in November, saw a potential ballot question be thrown out by the state Supreme Court for not adhering to constitutional protocols.

A workshop hosted by the state DWC to address physician dispensing and electronic documentation is postponed due to Hurricane Ian

FLDue to Hurricane Ian’s impact on the gulf coast of Florida, Division of Workers' Compensation officials announced it would delay its workshop to October 19th rather than the previously scheduled date of September 29th. The Division intends to hold the workshop on physician dispensing and electronic documentation services requirements. The workshop will cover details of two rule changes in 69L-7.730 and 69 L-7.740. Rule 69L-7.730 would permit physicians, PA's, advanced RNP's, and other recognized practitioners to dispense medications that are authorized, medically necessary, and casually related to the workplace accident. Requests for authorization of dispensed medication are mandated to be sent electronically and subsequently documented in the injured worker's file. Rule 69L-7.740 give payers the authority to deny reimbursement for dispensed drugs only if the medication is unauthorized, unnecessary, or unrelated to the workplace accident. Payers refusing authorization must document the denials in their claims administration system with an electronically formatted explanation to the provider. Times for the workshops will remain the same with rule 7.730 at 9:30 AM & rule 7.740 at 2 PM EST. 

New findings from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that injured female workers receive higher workers’ compensation benefits when treated by a female physician in the Lone Star state

TXNew research from Texas published in the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that injured female workers receive workers' compensation more when evaluated by female doctors. Currently, injured female workers in the state receive 16.5 percent less than the mean rate of cash benefit compared to injured male workers. The recently revised study in May of this year by Vanderbilt University and University of Texas academics demonstrated notable differences in how practitioners evaluate women and men regarding workplace injuries. Specifically, the researchers were concerned that the needs of injured female workers could be overlooked as previous research exhibited a tendency for women not to receive pain treatment for similarly reported pain levels as men who obtained treatment. When analyzing workers' compensation claims from 2013 through 2017, findings showed that female patients were 5 percent more likely to be considered as disabled and collect 8.5 percent more benefits with a female doctor. 

Note: To access audio for the LWU please access audio via Adobe by a.) choosing “view” at the top menu b.) click “activate read out loud” c.) click “read to end of the document”.

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