The 2018 Regular Legislative Session began on March 12th at noon. Several workers’ comp bills have been filed for this Session, including one which would open carriers up to tort liability if they unreasonably deny medical treatment, which was recently involuntarily deferred in Committee after heated testimony. Notably, no bill has yet been filed that would establish a closed pharmacy formulary for workers’ comp. Formularies akin to Texas’ system were a hot topic in the last two Legislative Sessions.
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 451 – Pierre
- This measure makes technical/definitional changes with the effect of requiring foreign and alien insurers to retain licensed workers’ compensation claims adjusters domiciled in La.
- Specifically, it changes the present workers’ comp adjuster licensing law to “La.-domiciled independent claims adjusters” to “licensed workers’ compensation claims adjusters domiciled in this state.”
- Current status: Pending Senate Insurance, WCAC declined to vote on the bill
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 introduction
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: Pending reconsideration, WCAC reported favorably 3/23/18
Image Credit: La Politics