No one ever goes to work with the expectation that they will become injured in an accident or become ill. However, workplace injuries and illnesses can happen. When they do, it can result in significant physical, emotional, and financial damages as a result. It is because of this that workers’ compensation is in place to award benefits as coverage for these damages. In order to keep up with the changing times, it is important that changes are made to workers’ compensation law as well.
In the new year, this is being seen in the state of Tennessee. Lawmakers within the state are determined to consider the way the workers’ compensation system works and how it can be changed. This is in regard to the process for injured workers seeking care from specialists and increasing the power of the state’s workers compensation administrator to investigate employers for non-compliance with state policies. This has resulted in two new bills introduced in early February.
A new bill introduced, H.B. 2257, would revise the process by which a physician treating an injured employee refers them to a specialist. The legislation states that an employer is required to provide a panel of three or more specialists for an injured worker to choose for further care. This must be done within three business days of receiving the request from the worker’s treating physician.
In addition to this, the bill extends the deadline for injured employees to file a claim for increased benefits. Originally 60 days, the deadline is now 180 days after they reach maximum medical improvement. It also increases the period of time they have to provide notice to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation of the injury and failure of the employer to secure payment from 60 days to 180 days. The legislation also reduces the minimum impairment rating that is necessary to support a claim for increased benefits from 10% to 9% impairment.
If signed into law, the changes would go into effect immediately.
The other bill introduced would revise Tennessee code governing penalties. This is for noncompliance with worker’s compensation coverage by expanding the authority of workers’ compensation administrators to investigate and penalize companies that do not comply with coverage requirements. The bill would give the administrator the right to conduct investigations, enter and inspect a business at any time, examine and copy business records within five days of a request, issue and serve subpoenas and stop-work orders, and levy penalties against employers that do not maintain workers’ compensation. In addition to this, the legislation would make any violation of a stop-work order a Class E felony with a $1000 per day penalty and extra fines.
If signed into law, the changes would go into effect on July 1, 2020.
If you have become the victim of an on the job injury, it may be beneficial to speak with an attorney and the doctor that is treating you to determine how to make the process as easy as possible. AllianceMeds understands that a workplace accident can be challenging and is here to help. We will deliver your medication to your door using overnight delivery and cover any out of pocket expenses that may arise. If you have any questions about how we can help, contact AllianceMeds today.