Comp in the Capitol: SIG Investment, Medical Marijuana Bills Move Forward

The 2015 Legislative Session is moving along at a rapid clip, although the major comp measure to watch of this Session (SB256, proposing a closed formulary for workers’ comp) has not yet come up in Committee. Every Monday throughout the session, which is slated to end on June 11th, Louisiana Comp Blog will keep you up to date on the complete list of bills we are tracking, and the latest developments.

 

HB1 by Representative James Fannin

  • Larger appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2015-2016
  • Increases appropriations for Second Injury Fund for a $59,290,715 total
  • Expected to allow the agency to catch up on reimbursement obligations
  • Current Status: Read by title, under the rules, referred to the Committee on Appropriations.
  • More details here.

 

HB205 by Representative Randal L. Gaines

  • Provides with respect to the disputes over medical treatment
  • Proposed law extends the deadline to submit an appeal from 15 to 30 calendar days
  • Would limit time period for 1008 filing to 30 calendar days after issuance of the Medical Director’s (MD) decision
  • After 1008 is filed, disputing party must notify the MD within 10 days, MD has 15 days to render a decision
  • Measure would require that, if new evidence is introduced, the matter is sent back to the MD, who then has 15 days to render a decision again
  • Further, if no decision is rendered within the 15 day period or if no new medical evidence is introduced, a workers’ comp judge can render a decision
  • Current Status: Considered by the WCAC 4/23/15, no action taken due to split vote without 75 percent majority. Read by title, under the rules, referred to the Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations.
  • More details here.

 

SB107 by Senator Barrow Peacock

  • Extends Second Injury Fund exclusions another five years to July 1st, 2020 (present law delineates exclusions at first 104 weeks of indemnity and $25K medical expenses and will expire on July 1st, 2015)
  • Current Status: Considered by the WCAC 4/23/15, unanimously approved. Introduced in the Senate; read by title. Rules suspended. Read second time and referred to the Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations.
  • More details here.

 

HB136 by Representative Lance Harris

  • Eliminates the $50K cause of action jury trial threshold
  • Current Status: Read by title, under the rules, referred to the Committee on Civil Law and Procedure
  • More details here.

 

HB6 by Representative Dalton Honore

  • Provides for the implementation of licensing and governing board for medical marijuana in Louisiana
  • Delineates the conditions for which therapeutic marijuana can be prescribed and describes required “bona fide physician/patient relationship”
  • Clarifies that, because of the limited eligible conditions, only registered neurologists, ophthalmologists and oncologists would be able to become licensed to prescribe marijuana
  • Current Status: Read by title, under the rules, referred to the Committee on Health and Welfare
  • More details here.

 

SB143 by Senator Fred Mills

  • Provides for a distribution and prescription system for medical marijuana in Louisiana
  • Allows physicians licensed in-state to prescribe marijuana in non-combustible (not “raw” or “crude” forms) for certain conditions including glaucoma, spastic quadriplegia, and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
  • Would charge the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME) to submit an annual report to the Legislature regarding recommendations as to additional diseases or medical conditions to be added to the eligible list of diseases and conditions for prescription.
  • Removes present law (original law from 1992 legalizing medical marijuana in La.) that requires the Department of Health and Hospitals to promulgate rules and places that responsibility on the LSBME.
  • The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy would promulgate rules on the dispensing of prescribed marijuana and must seek input from: Louisiana District Attorneys Association, Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association, Louisiana Commission of Law Enforcement and the Administration of Criminal Justice, Department of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Dept. of Agriculture is responsible for production rules
  • Delineates the requirements for level of detail on aforementioned rules
  • Current Status: Read by title. Committee amendments read and adopted. Ordered engrossed and passed to third reading and final passage (vote scheduled for 5/4/15)
  • More details here.

 

HB393 by Representative Nick Lorusso

  • Provides relative to permissible investments of workers’ comp group self-insurance funds
  • Proposed law adds four methods of investment for funds not needed for current obligations to the original six methods allowed by present law
  1. Obligations of any state or its subdivisions with a minimum rating of “A” by Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s or Fitch. The investment is limited to no more than 5% of the funds assets nor can it exceed 15% of the fund’s assets in aggregate.
  2. Commercial mortgage-backed securities with purchases having a minimum rating of “AAA” by Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s or Fitch, requiring that no more than 2% of the fund’s assets may be invested in one issue, nor can that type of investment exceed 10% of the fund’s assets in aggregate.
  3. Asset backed securities with purchases having a minimum rating of “AA” by Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s or Fitch. No more than 5% of the fund’s assets may be invested in one issue, nor can that type of investment exceed 10% of the fund’s assets in aggregate.
  4. Mutual or trust fund institutions which are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Investment Act of 1940 and which have underlying investments consisting solely of and limited to securities approved for investment as approved in present law.
  • Current Status: Considered by WCAC 4/23/15, unanimously approved. Passed favorably out of the House Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations 4/30/15.
  • More details here.

 

SB256 by Senator Daniel Martiny

  • Creates a closed pharmacy formulary that is state-specific
  • Development and update of the formulary would be by a “Closed Formulary Pharmacy Oversight Panel” membership of which is appointed by the Director of the OWC
  • Panel would be chosen as follows:
  1. one pharmacist member of the La. Board of Pharmacy
  2. one medical doctor (member of the La. State Medical Society)
  3. one pharmacist who is employed by a pharmacy member of the National Assoc. of Chain Drug Stores
  4. one pharmacist who is employed by or owns a pharmacy that is a member of the La. Independent Pharmacy Assoc.
  5. medical director of the OWC
  • Panel members would serve staggered terms
  • Exclusions in the closed formulary would be: narcotics (“N” drugs), compounded medications, investigative/experimental drugs, drugs unaddressed by formulary at time of Rx
  • “Y” drugs will not require a 1010 and can be dispensed immediately
  • The closed formulary would not apply to dates of injury prior to January 1st, 2016
  • Current Status: Considered by WCAC 4/23/15, unanimously opposed in current form. Introduced in the Senate; read by title. Rules suspended. Read second time and referred to the Committee on Health and Welfare. Expected to be re-drafted.
  • More details here.

 

Additional documents of interest:

House Labor Committee_4.30.15_Roll Call and Record

Senate Health and Welfare_4.29.15_Daily Record

 

Image Credit: Political signs in Eunice, La. 1990. Photographed by Maida Owens, depicted in “Political Pomp: Political Storytelling in Louisiana,” via Folklife in Louisiana

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