California, Texas Announce Changes Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

25 Mar, 2020 Nancy Grover

                               

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – Two of the largest states have announced changes in workers’ compensation processes due to the coronavirus threat.

“At this time, it is critical that injured employees continue to receive timely benefits, and health care providers continue to be timely paid for their services,” wrote Cassie Brown, commissioner of Texas’ Workers Compensation Division. “The majority of DWC staff are working remotely, and we continue to provide essential services, answer your questions, and work through issues as they develop.”

Brown announced that Benefit Review Conferences are being held via phone. Contested Case hearings will resume next Monday, also by telephone.

“Until further notice, parties may file and exchange documents electronically, including with injured employees who have email addresses or fax numbers and agree to receive these documents electronically,” the announcement continued. “DWC encourages parties to use fax or encrypted email and ensure that injured employees can access exchange documents sent electronically. Parties to CCHs must also send a copy of their exhibits to DWC and the other parties at least three working days before the CCH.”

In California, the Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau said it is “committed to identifying and addressing some of the new challenges that the COVID-19 crisis has created for the California workers’ compensation system.”

Among those issues are COVID-19 claims. “The WCIRB is actively working with workers’ compensation organizations around the country to create unique codes to identify claims directly arising from the COVID-19 virus,” the wire alert said. “These new codes will allow the cost of these claims to be tracked, measured and treated appropriately in pure premium ratemaking and experience rating.”

 The bureau also looking to “identify potential regulatory changes with respect to experience rating, payroll reporting, classification and claims reporting to address the crisis.”

With the situation expected to have a significant impact on California’s economy, the bureau is trying to better understand the impact on future claim cost levels. “…WCIRB actuaries and researchers are studying how prior economic downturns have impacted the frequency and duration of claims in light of recent trends in post-termination claims and work-from-home arrangements.”


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    About The Author

    • Nancy Grover

      Nancy Grover is a freelance writer having recently retired as the Director, Media Services for WorkersCompensation.com. She comes to our company with more than 35 years as a broadcast journalist and communications consultant. Grover’s specialties include insurance, workers’ compensation, financial services, substance abuse, healthcare and disability. For 12 years she served as the Program Chair of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. A journalism/speech graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Grover also holds an MBA from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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