State News : Texas

NWCDN is a network of law firms dedicated to protecting employers in workers’ compensation claims.

NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.  

Select a state from the dropdown menu below to scroll through the state specific archives for updates and opinions on various workers’ compensation laws in your state.

Contact information for NWCDN members is also located on the state specific links in the event you have additional questions or your company is seeking a workers’ compensation lawyer in your state.




Spring has Sprung and Everything Old is New Again 

DWC Adopts Changes to DD Rules - Again

The Division, faced with a rapidly dwindling list of available designated doctors (current numbers show 60 MDs, 9 DOs and 169 DCs for a total of 238 designated doctors), has again changed things up in efforts to make more doctors available to field the number of requests they receive each year.  

The new rules change the qualification criteria to require less for certain kinds of examinations and add to the list of board-certified doctors qualified to evaluate traumatic brain injuries with the justification that those doctors are to send out for testing anyway and they can then incorporate that testing into their reports. These qualification changes are effective 6/5/23.

This is not the first rule change impacting the designated doctor suite of rules, and it likely won’t be the last, but here are the high points:

•  For DD examinations involving traumatic brain injuries, the Division added doctors who are or have been board certified in orthopaedic surgery, occupational medicine, dermatology, plastic surgery, surgery, anesthesiology with a subspeciality in pain medicine, emergency medicine, thoracic and cardiac surgery and family medicine.

•  For DD examinations involving injuries with multiple fractures, a single spinal fracture or rib fractures where there is no vascular injury, chiropractors are now qualified, in addition to MDs and DOs.

•  DD examinations involving spinal cord injuries including spinal fractures with documented neurological injury or vascular injury, more than one spinal fracture or cauda equina syndrome are assigned to board certified doctors in neurosurgery, neurology, PM&R or orthopedic surgery.*

•  DD examinations involving multiple fractures accompanied by vascular injury are assigned to board certified doctors in emergency medicine, orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, PM&R or occupational medicine.*

•  Multiple certifications will no longer be ordered unless the Division orders them as the result of a Presiding Officer Directive. 

*These examinations are handled by the same specialties, but carve out the more complex fracture injuries for board certification while allowing chiropractors to evaluate multiple fractures, single spine fractures and rib fractures that don’t involve vascular injury.  

•  Doctors who passed DWC certification on or after 5/13/13 don’t have to test again for certifications that expire on or after 4/30/23.**

•  Doctors still have to take required training and reapply every 2 years.

•  The certification and re-certification rules have been streamlined.

•  None of the rule changes address billing and reimbursement for designated doctor examinations. (Specifically, there is no mention of increasing the reimbursement rate for designated doctor examinations.  In 2022, the Division posted and took comment on Rules 133 and 134 and the relevant sections relating to billing and reimbursement for designated doctor examinations. The second informal posting of those rules provided increased reimbursement for examinations and even provided a $150.00 missed appointment fee.  The comment deadline for those rules was 12/16/22.  There is no word yet on the status of this rule project).

**The rule allows the Division to require a doctor to take the test again on a case-by-case basis as part of a performance review.

Copyright 2023, Stone Loughlin & Swanson, LLP