State of the States


Minnesota - Last Monday, SF 4130 was introduced in the Minnesota Senate. The bill contains the legislative recommendations of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council, a group made up of representatives from both labor and employers, as well as legislators. The bill makes many technical changes to the state’s workers’ compensation program and adds reporting requirements for self-insured employers.

Texas - A new study released by the Texas Department of Insurance examined the return to work rate for employees under the state’s workers’ compensation system. Injured workers returning to work within six months of their injuries rose from 78% in 2007 to 83% in 2017 and nearly two thirds of injured workers who were able to return to work, remained at work year over year. Overall, the study found steady improvements in return to work over the last decade.

Virginia - Halfway through the legislative session and several labor friendly bills now reside with the Governor for signature. Among those passed by the legislature this month are HB 46, which would require insurers to provide timely and detailed denials for any rejected workers’ compensation claim, and HB 617, which requires the Workers’ Compensation Commission to hire a research organization to study whether or not repetitive motion injuries should be compensable.

Alabama - Alabama is joining the list of states considering expanded mental health benefits for their first responders. HB 44, which had its first hearing this Wednesday, would allow first responders to collect workers’ compensation benefits for mental illness, including PTSD. Under current law, all mental illness claims must be accompanied by a physical injury, which restricts most mental illness injuries from ever being reported. 

Washington - Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) announced last week that the state would be offering workers’ compensation benefits and protections to health care workers and first responders who are quarantined as a result of exposure to the Coronavirus. Washington is the state hit hardest by the COVID-19 in the United States.

Colorado - The Colorado bill that would provide workers’ compensation coverage for emergency dispatchers in traumatic situations is heading for a vote by the full House. The bill, SB 26, passed the Senate with a 30-2 vote back in February but is moving swiftly through the House, where it is expected to pass with little issue.

By Danielle Jaffee

Courtesy of Injured Workers Pharmacy Blog

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