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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.

Commissioner Dwight T. Lovan of the Department of Workers’ Claims has announced that the final proposed change to the hospital fee schedule regulation, 803 KAR 25:091, has been submitted to the Legislative Research Commission and will be considered by the Regulatory Review Subcommittee at its regular meeting in April. If approved by the Subcommittee, this regulation will replace the existing regulation.

A copy of the proposed regulation as modified after comments can be viewed here.

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