Maine - A joint legislative committee voted yesterday to endorse a workers' comp reform bill that is expected to substantially increase benefits and costs for the workers' comp system in Maine. The bill, which is a compilation of several separate workers' comp reform measures introduced this year, would raise the maximum weekly workers' comp benefit, reinstate a cost-of-living adjustment, and increase benefits for partial disabilities. The bill now awaits a vote of both the House and Senate.
Missouri - After failing to pass a PDMP bill for the seventh year in a row, Missouri newspapers are analyzing why Missouri is the only state in the country without a PDMP in light of the growing opioid epidemic.
Texas - Before adjourning for the legislative year, the Texas legislature finally passed SB 2551, a bill to expand cancer presumptions for firefighters. The bill, which was heavily negotiated during it's ride through the House and Senate, now brings the list of cancers presumed to be workrelated to 11. Prior iterations of the law were confusing at best for municipalities and firefighters, with firefighters arguing only about 3 cancers were covered. In addition, the bill provides more time to insurers to deny or accept a cancer claim.
Connecticut - A bill that would require workers' comp insurance to cover detoxification treatments is moving through the Connecticut legislature during the final days of session. HB 5883 was passed by the House and is now before the Senate for consideration during the final 5 days of session. Under the law, detoxification treatment would be included in workers' comp benefits for any injured worker who requires it as a result of using prescribed prescription drugs for their injury.
New Jersey - Last Thursday, the New Jersey Assembly voted unanimously to pass A 3292. The bill, which was passed by the Senate back in March, now goes to the Governor for signature. If signed into law, pharmacies would be required to include a warning label on every opioid container dispensed detailing the risks associated with opioid medications, including the risk of addiction and overdose.
Last week, Governor Larry Hogan (R), completed his signing and vetoing of bills passed by the legislature earlier this year. Among the bills vetoed was SB 916, which would have allowed licensed physicians to dispense topical medications directly from their offices.
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