Five Things You Need to Know: 2/13, Monday Edition

                               
TX House Bills Aim to Help Police Officers Injured on the Job
    • Texas House Bills 1688 and 1689 aim to make it easier on injured police officers to return to work, writes Blessing Woksman of Myhighplains.com. State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), who authored both bills, said officers had a hard time seeing the specialists they need after being hurt on the job. "So I filed two bills, one of whom appoints a liaison to help them work through the complicated Workers' Comp process, and the other working with the Texas Department of Insurance gives them the tools they need to make sure that Workers' Comp insurance is going to help get them better," he said. The two bills have to make it out of committee to get on the house floor.   
WA Technician Pleads Guilty in Workers' Compensation Scam
    • A South King County service technician who claimed injury on the job has been ordered to pay back more than $12,000 in workers' compensation benefits, according to the Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries. Kyle Valle of Algona hit his head on a support joist in May 2014 and filed a workers' compensation claim in which he was too injured to work. "Further investigation determined that Valle worked as a tow truck driver for a used-car dealership in Seattle from September 2014 through early June 2015," according to the article. Valle pleaded guilty to felony, second-degree theft and was sentenced to 20 days in jail converted to 160 community service hours, and state repayment of $12,585.
WA House Bill Designed to Help Tank Farm Workers 
    • Hanford tank farm workers in Washington state who have been exposed to harmful vapors on the job are having a hard time getting their medical expenses covered. "House Bill 1723, proposed by state Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland) would make it much easier for Hanford workers to get L&I [Labor & Industries] claims approved," writes Annette Cary of the Tri-City Herald. "Instead of workers having to prove that a condition was caused by a specific exposure, many conditions would be automatically assumed to be caused by working as little as one eight-hour shift at the Hanford nuclear reservation." Former workers who testified at the bill hearing said it was difficult for the Dept. of Energy to approve claims when even they didn't know exactly what the workers were exposed to. "Presumptions need to be based on medical evidence," said Bob Battles in the article, government affairs director for the Association of Washington Business. "The bill has not been vetted enough." 

CA Terrorist Attack Survivors Look for Help from President Trump

    • Survivors from the December 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack have come together to ask for help from President Trump. "The group has started a petition to ask the president to issue an executive order making it illegal for San Bernardino County to use what’s called a 'utilization review' for survivors and mandate that the county approve, retroactively and in the future, all treatment for attack survivors," writes Jim Steinberg of The Sun. County Spokesman David Wert described a utilization review as when a doctor reviews treatment proposals put together by patients' physicians. "The petition reads: 'The County of San Bernardino has delayed/denied medical treatment, physical therapy, antibiotics, medications, and mental health care to survivors of the Dec. 2, 2015, terrorist attack. Because injuries are work-related, private insurance refuses to cover treatment and survivors are required to go through the County’s self-administered workers' compensation, and utilization review (UR),'" writes Steinburg. The petition needs 100,000 signatures by Feb. 22 to gain attention from the White House, according to the group's website, sbsurvivors.com. Victims who were involved in the attack but weren't shot are suffering physical and psychological symptoms. 

What Influential Factors Paint the Workers' Compensation Landscape? 

    • Wage replacement and medical benefits are not what they used to be. Lawyers, doctors and insurance experts agree, that not only have workers’ compensation guidelines changed over the last decade, but some of the modifications have even changed the face of the industry. To read more, click here.

 

 

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