Maryland - With the end of Maryland's legislative session, Governor Larry Hogan (R) signed 174 bills into law, including two firefighter presumption bills that make it easier for first responders to receive workers' comp benefits. HB 595 adds new cancers to the list of those presumed to be occupational diseases covered under workers' comp for firefighters, including bladder and kidney cancer. Additionally, HB 604 allows for the presumptions to apply based on the cumulative time served.
Florida - A bill to expand the use of PDMP data in criminal and civil investigations by the Attorney General was amended this week by the Florida Senate to address numerous patient privacy concerns. Under the amendment, a trial court must issue an order allowing the AG to access PDMP data and all patient information must be kept confidential. The amendment also allows the data to be used against dispensers and manufacturers, not just pharmacies. The bill is now back before the House for consideration, but the legislature is set to adjourn today.
California - This week, the California State Compensation Insurance Fund announced it would add telehealth to the list of services provided to injured workers in the state. Telehealth may be used to connect injured workers with health care providers for initial evaluations and help manage non-emergency injuries, including follow-up care. The use of telehealth is a slow-growing trend in workers' compensation.
Missouri - On Thursday, the Missouri Senate finally held a hearing on SB 155, a bill to establish a PDMP for the state of Missouri. The bill is different than HB 188, which was passed by the House back in February and has been sitting in Committee in the Senate since. Missouri has just 13 days left in their 2019 session and is the only state in the nation without a PDMP.
Article of Interest - A recent NPR and IPSOS poll found that the majority of Americans believe pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for the opioid epidemic. Additionally, of those polled, 73% believe drug companies should help support the fight against the opioid epidemic, including providing funds for opioid addiction treatment.
Disclaimer: WorkersCompensation.com publishes independently generated writings from a variety of workers' compensation industry stakeholders. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of WorkersCompensation.com.