billA new bill relating to workers’ compensation has been introduced in the Ky. House. Plaintiff attorneys express concern about the bill and its potential reduction of injured worker benefits, especially medical benefits.  It, in part, addresses recent case law regarding the statute of limitations for reopening a claim and payment of TTD benefits. The bill further addresses attorney fees, subrogation and a pharmaceutical formulary, among other topics.

A summary of the bill with a link to the complete text is set forth below:

HB 296/LM (BR 1013) – A. Koenig, B. Rowland, J. DeCesare, M. Dossett

AN ACT relating to workers’ compensation.
Amend KRS 342.020 to limit the obligation to pay medical benefits indefinitely for certain permanent partial disabilities; limit medical benefits to age 70 or four years after date of injury, whichever is later, except for permanent total awards or awards involving prosthetic devices which continue for as long as the employee is disabled; limit the number of urine drug screens for which an employer, insurer, or payment obligor is required to pay; amend KRS 342.035 to require the commissioner of the Department of Workers’ Claims to develop, adopt, and implement treatment guidelines and a pharmaceutical formulary on or before December 31, 2018; amend KRS 342.040 to reduce the amount of interest paid on awards; amend KRS 342.125 to clarify that the four-year reopening window begins only from the date of the original order granting or denying benefits; amend KRS 342.185 to provide a statute of repose for cumulative trauma claims; amend KRS 342.320 to increase limitation on attorney’s fees to $18,000; amend KRS 342.700 to extend subrogation recovery of medical expenses and delete reference to legal fees and expense; amend KRS 342.730 to allow payment of temporary total disability benefits to be offset for net wages paid to an employee during a period of light-duty work or work in an alternative job position; amend KRS 342.990 to conform; specify the applicability of substantive changes to claims arising on or after effective date of Act and remedial changes to all claims irrespective of injury date.

Read the Lexington-Herald Leader story on the bill.

electronic-filingThe DWC has announced that per 803 KAR 25:010 Section 3(1)(b), effective July 1, 2017, it will no longer accept paper filings.  All filings will need to be submitted via Litigation Management System LMS.

The new Ky. mileage reimbursement  for October through November 2016 is 39 cents.

mileage-reimbursement-rate-for-102016

The DWC has issued the Ky. Workers’ Compensation Benefit Schedule for 2017.  Click here to view the schedule.

The Kentucky Department of Finance has determined the mileage reimbursement rate for July 1 – Sept. 30, 2016 is 41¢ per mile.

 

 

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has done some backpedaling with regard to changes he made to the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Nominating Commission in May.  Specifically, Bevin has issued a new Executive Order, which rescinds his previous changes by altogether abolishing the Workers’ Compensation Nominating Commission, creating a new panel called the Workers’ Compensation Nominating Committee and making new appointments to that new panel.

In addition to  re-naming the panel the Workers’ Compensation Nominating Committee, Bevin has reduced the number of members from 7 to 5.  He has also appointed a member of the “old” workers’ compensation nominating commission, Charles McCoy, to the new committee.  McCoy is a petitioner in the lawsuit filed against Bevin seeking an injunction against Bevin’s original executive order dissolving the Workers’ Compensation Nominating Commission. That panel was comprised of appointments of the Beshear administration.  Bevin’s earlier executive order reconstituted that panel with his own appointments.

The members of the new Workers’ Compensation Nominating Committee are:  Louis D. Kelly of Florence, Charles E. McCoy of Owenton, Runan S. Pendergrast of Lexington, Megan E. Mersch of Park Hills and Joshua W. Davis of Louisville.

 

 

 

 

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd has “temporarily blocked Gov. Matt Bevin’s executive order abolishing the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Nominating Commission and then re-creating it with new members.” Shepherd said the temporary injunction will remain in effect until he issues a final judgment. An expedited hearing will take place on June 13, 2016.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article82495702.html#storylink=cpy

 

lawsuit2

A variety of petitioners have filed suit against Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin alleging that he abused his executive power by dissolving the Workers’ Compensation Nominating Commission (WCNC) — even though none of its members’ tenures were up — and reconstituting it with his own appointments.

The WCNC is charged with recommending workers’ compensation administrative law judge (ALJ) appointments to the governor. The dissolved WCNC was composed of appointees of the Beshear administration.

The suit alleges, among other complaints, that by dissolving the WCNC and populating it with his own appointees, Bevin is attempting to tilt the balance of ALJ appointments to more conservative, employer-friendly judges.

The newly constituted WCNC was scheduled to meet May 23, 2016, to recommend new ALJs to fill six vacancies recently created by Bevin’s failure to reappoint ALJs Borders, Allen, Levy, Wolff, Polites and Bolton — all of whom were Beshear appointees.

But given the pending lawsuit, no further action is being taken until Franklin Circuit Court has ruled in the case. A hearing on the petitioners’ motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) will be June 1, 2016, before Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip J. Shepherd.

Read a copy of the petition here.

 

Governor Matt Bevin has reappointed ALJ Jane Rice Williams as administrative law judge, but has declined to reappoint Judge Thomas Polites, Judge Steven Bolton or Judge Otto Daniel Wolff. The executive order reappointing Williams was filed on May 11, 2016.

fired_stampBy Executive Order filed on May 9, 2016, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin dissolved and reconstituted the Workers’ Compensation Nominating Commission.  The previous WCNC consisted of Chairman William Grover Arnett, Sherri Keller, Charles J. Baird, Robert W. Carlisle, Brockton L. Edwards, Charles E. McCoy and McKinnley Morgan.

The newly reconstituted board consists of Mark Flores of Lexington, Megan E. Mersch of Park Hills, Joshua W. Davis of Louisville, Jordan Tong of Owensboro, Victoria E. Boggs of Louisville, Louis D. Kelly  of Florence and Runan S. Pendergrast of Lexington.  Eastern Kentucky is no longer represented on the new WCNC.

 

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