The 2019 Regular Legislative Session began on April 8th at noon. Several workers’ comp bills were filed for this Session, which was a fiscal-only Session. Only four bills made it all the way through the process and are on their way to the Governor:
- HB285 was signed by the President, on its way to the Governor. The bill would allow municipalities to provide workers’ comp medical benefits to police volunteers. The measure passed the House, with an amendment on the House Floor that clarifies that municipalities may offer benefits with their own discretionary funds. Previous opposition to the bill was centered upon the “shall” language in the bill, which could be interpreted to mean that municipalities would be forced to provide benefits to volunteer police officers within their already cash-strapped budgets. The workers’ comp benefits delineated in the bill do not include indemnity benefits for lost work, as the affected population is not paid.
- HB288 is on the Governor’s desk. The bill faced essentially no opposition over the Session and deals with guaranty associations that pay deductible claims. It clarifies that a guaranty association shall be entitled to the full amount of the reimbursement and available collateral.
- SB88 is on the Governor’s desk. The bill creates a 45 day deadline for appeals of a Medical Director decision (LWC Form 1008). The impetus for the bill was a Louisiana Supreme Court decision that said that the Office of Workers’ Compensation lacks the authority to create a prescriptive period. The bill originally called for a 30 day deadline but was amended. Opponents of the bill contended that the bill fails to solve the problem it intends to, and that it could bar unrepresented claimants from a remedy if they miss the deadline.
- SB107 is on the Governor’s desk. The bill adds PTSD to the list of compensable presumptions under workers’ comp for first responders (state police, emergency medical personnel, volunteer firefighters, sheriff and sheriff’s deputies). The presumption may only be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence.
The summaries below are for the original versions of each piece of legislation that Comp Blog tracked this year. The links refer to Comp Blog’s coverage of Committee hearings on the legislation.
HB 285 – Billiot
- Provides medical benefits for volunteer reserve police officers and deputies who may become injured while the volunteer member is in the line of duty.
- Explicitly bars volunteer reserve police officers from recovering lost wages or treatment related from other jobs.
- Current status: Signed by the President, heard in House Labor and Industrial Relations 4/25 and Senate Labor 5/30
HB 288 – Hollis
- Provides relative to the administration of large deductible policies and collateral.
- Provides that, to the extent a guaranty association pays any deductible claim for which the insurer would have been entitled to reimbursement from the insured, a guaranty association shall be entitled to the full amount of the reimbursement and available collateral.
- Proposed law requires the receiver to collect reimbursements owed for deductible claims, take all commercially reasonable actions to collect reimbursements, and promptly bill insureds for reimbursement of deductible claims.
- Current status: Sent to Governor
HB 362 – Lyons
- Deletes the part of the workers’ compensation statute that requires compensable hearing loss to be due to a single traumatic incident.
- The bill further provides that members of the classified fire service be entitled to both medical and indemnity benefits related to hearing loss.
- Current status: Heard in House Labor and Industrial Relations, voluntarily deferred
HB 568 – Miller
- Changes “marijuana” to “cannabis” in the appropriate laws.
- Changes the regulatory authority for medical cannabis from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to the Louisiana Department of Health.
- Current status: Pending House final passage
HB 571 – Seabaugh
- Provides for the reimbursement of metallic and plastic implants or non-autonomous graft.
- It requires the facility, hospital or ambulatory surgery center to order and pay for the implant or non-autogenous graft and upon receipt of the original manufacturer’s invoice, be reimbursed by the payor.
- Proposed law further provides that the reimbursed amount shall be at the manufacturer’s original invoice amount, exclusive of rebates and discounts, plus 20 percent. If the invoice amount is found to be excessive, that portion in excess shall not be reimbursed.
- Current status: Failed House final passage, heard in House Labor 5/2)
- Read Rep. Seabaugh’s reaction to the bill’s failure on Comp Blog here.
SB 88 – Luneau
- Provides for a 30 day deadline to appeal a decision of the Medical Director.
- Current status: Sent to Governor
SB 107 – Gatti
- This bill adds PTSD to the list of compensable presumptions under workers comp for first responders (state police, emergency medical personnel, volunteer firefighters, sheriff and sheriff’s deputies).
- The presumption under this proposal may only be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence.
- Current status: Sent to Governor, Committee hearing coverage here and here.
SB 114 – Appel
- This bill would allow information about workers’ compensation benefits paid to an injured worker if that worker brings a civil suit regarding the same injury to be presented to a jury. Currently, such information is only presented to the judge.
- Current status: Pending Senate Judiciary A, considered 4/23