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On August 29, 2017, Commissioner Brannan issued a bulletin, which can be read in its entirety at the following:http://www.tdi.texas.gov/bulletins/2017/b-0020-17.html. The bulletin refers to the Governor’s disaster proclamation and directs that, for the duration of that proclamation, Carriers must provide or continue to provide: (1) processing and delivery of benefits checks and medical care, services, supplies and equipment; (2) waiver of penalties and restrictions related to necessary and non-emergency health care provided out of network; (3) coverage of payment for necessary emergency and non-emergency health care services obtained out of network; (4) extended deadlines for medical examinations; authorization of payment to pharmacies for up to a 90 day supply of prescription medications (subject to the number of days authorized by the provider) regardless of the date on which the prescription had most recently been filed; and (5) expedited change of address processing.
In addition to the direction to carriers, the bulletin informs system participants of a tolling of deadlines for participants who reside in the counties listed in the Governor’s disaster proclamation. For the duration of the proclamation, deadlines are tolled for: (1) workers’ compensation claim notification and filing deadlines; (2) medical billing deadlines; (3) medical and income benefits payment deadlines; (4) electronic data reporting deadlines; and, (5) medical and income benefit dispute deadlines.
The DWC also reminded political subdivisions that first responders are on the front lines of the disaster and DWC and those subdivisions shall accelerate and give first priority to an injured first responder’s claim for workers’ compensation medical benefits if that first responder sustains a serious bodily injury in the course and scope of employment. OIEC has designated a First Responder Liaison, Yolanda Garcia, who can be reached at 512-804-4173 orFirstResponderHelp@oiec.texas.gov.