The Texas legislature is busy at work in the capital. There are several pieces of proposed legislation affecting workers’ compensation. The following are some of the more notable bills:
- Senate Bill 4418 would allow a licensed advanced practice registered nurse to complete and sign required reports such as DWC-73s.
- House Bill 3537 effectively destroys the intoxication presumption provided in §401.013(c) by limiting it to a specimen taken within four hours of the injury.
- House Bill 4300 would allow Texas workers’ compensation insurance carriers and injured workers to reach a settlement of medical benefits if: (1) the injured worker enters into a workers’ compensation Medicare set-aside arrangement; (2) the arrangement is approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, if the proposed amount of the settlement is eligible for review by that agency; and (3) the settlement provides for oversight of the arrangement by a corporate trustee or other professional administrator, and a reversionary interest on the employee's death allowing the expended funds to be shared by the injured employee's beneficiary and the payor. The proposed legislation also would require that the Texas workers’ compensation insurance carrier and injured worker resolve, to the extent possible, all extent of injury issues before reaching an agreement on any issue.
- House Bill 1305 would require death benefits to be adjusted at the end of each calendar year as necessary to reflect inflation.
- Senate Bill 2181 would expand lifetime income benefits to include third-degree burns covering the majority of both feet, one hand and one foot, or one hand or foot and the face. An injured worker who is determined permanently and totally disabled by the Bureau of Justice Assistance of the United States Department of Justice would also be eligible for lifetime income benefits if the injured worker is a first responder or “employed by a political subdivision that self-insures.” The bill also provides expanded provisions for coverage of traumatic brain injuries resulting in “permanent cognitive deficits” that render the injured worker permanently unemployable without significant accommodations or affect the injured workers’ non-vocational quality of life “so as to eliminate the employee's ability to engage in a range of usual cognitive processes.”
- House Bill 536 would require that all opioid prescriptions be dispensed only in bottles with red caps. The hope is that the distinctive red caps will serve as a clear notice to “that opioids are unlike milder forms of prescription pain relievers” and “will help to eliminate accidental use and abuse leading to addiction and fatalities,” said Rep. Shawn Thierry who proposed the bill.
- Copyright 2019, Stone Loughlin & Swanson, LLP.