The 2018 Regular Legislative Session began on March 12th at noon. Most bills involving workers’ comp have not moved this session, but one HB 536 which would require a hearing from a workers’ comp judge before benefits can be cut off for a missed second medical opinion, did make it out of Committee last week.
Stick with Louisiana Comp Blog for full coverage of comp-related happenings until the Session ends on June 4th, 2018.
The summaries below are for the original versions of each piece of legislation. “Comp in the Capitol,” posted weekly, will address any changes as each measure moves through the process.
HB 257 – Gaines
- This measure creates a 30 day deadline to file 1008.
- The failure to file an appeal from a decision of the medical director denying requested treatment will not have the effect of res judicata on repeated requests for the same treatment.
- Amendments passed 3/29/18 change the period to 15 days and add a provision that a WCJ cannot consider new evidence that was not on a 1010 before the Medical Director.
- Current status: Involuntarily deferred in House Labor and Industrial Relations 3/29/18, reported favorably (on bill language regarding prescriptive period only) by WCAC 3/23/18
HB 384 – Talbot
- This measure requires the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) to develop and submit for federal approval a program for importing prescription drugs from Canada.
- This measure would also require LDH to publish information on drug price increases submitted by pharmaceutical manufacturers pursuant to proposed law at least once in every three month period and in a manner that allows the information to be identified separately for each drug.
- Current status: Pending House Health and Welfare
HB 609 – Seabaugh
- This measure provides for the right of the receiver or a guaranty association to pursue collateral. It applies to workers’ compensation large deductible policies issued by an insurer and subject to delinquency proceedings under current law.
- Current status: Pending Senate final passage (scheduled 4/30/18)
SB 180 – Milkovich
- This measure provides for tort liability for a worker’s compensation insurer that causes further injury through the unreasonable denial of medical treatment to an injured worker.
- This measure expressly excludes the employer holding the valid workers’ comp policy from tort liability and instead “provides that the workers’ compensation insurance company, who actually made the decision to unreasonably deny medical treatment, shall be liable in tort but the employer, who did not make the decision, shall not be liable.”
- Current status: Deferred 4/5/18 after being considered in Senate Labor 4/5/18
SB 221 – T. Carter
- This measure would change the name of the Louisiana Workforce Commission to the Louisiana Department of Labor.
- Current Status: Subject to call Senate final passage (scheduled 4/30/18), WCAC reported favorably 3/23/18
HB 536 – Luneau
- This measure would make changes to second medical opinions in workers’ comp injuries, plus related matters arising therefrom.
- It stipulates that an employee’s benefits cannot be terminated without the order of a workers’ comp judge and that an employer seeking compliance with a medical examination would be entitled to an expedited hearing. That hearing will be set not less than 10 or more than 30 days from the employee and his or her representative receiving notice of the insurer or employer’s motion.
- The measure also says that in the absence of good cause for refusal, the workers’ compensation judge shall suspend the employee’s benefits, hich if he or she submits, will be reinstated within 10 days of the exam.
- Current status: Pending Senate final passage (scheduled 4/30/18) Reported favorably by Senate Labor (4/19/18)
HB 790 – Connick
- This bill addresses hearing loss caused by an employee’s work and deletes the portion of the law that requires hearing loss to be caused by a single traumatic event in order to be compensable.
- Current status: Pending House Labor and Industrial Relations (scheduled 4/27/18)
HB 579 – James and Cox
- This bill adds several permissible conditions to Louisiana’s existing medical marijuana law.
- The conditions include: glaucoma, severe muscle spasms, intractable pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease.
- Current status: Pending Senate Health and Welfare, previously passed House (60 yeas, 40 nays)