Comp in the Capitol: Taking Care of Business (As Usual)

The final few days of the 2015 Legislative Session are upon us, and as legislators prepare to depart from Baton Rouge with some complete set of budgetary resolutions, the Session appears to be closing for the comp industry as quietly as it began. This is the last Monday legislative update for the 2015 Session, which concludes on Thursday, June 11th, by 6 PM. Read the most recent actions on the bills Louisiana Comp Blog is tracking below.

HB1 by Representative James Fannin

  • Larger appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2015-2016
  • Reengrossed version of the bill shows appropriations for Second Injury Fund increased for a $60,464,263 total
  • Expected to allow the agency to catch up on reimbursement obligations
  • Current Status: As of floor debate/Special Order of the Day 6/8/15: Senate floor amendments read and adopted. Read by title, passed by a vote of 36 yeas and 3 nays, and ordered returned to the House. Motion to reconsider tabled.
  • 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. Not yet re-scheduled for hearing in Committee. Appears to be deferred for the Session.
  • 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)
  • Amendment added May 7th eliminates benefit deadline entirely by removing sunset provision in the statute, effectively extending the Second Injury Fund indefinitely.
  • Current Status: Passed the House: Read third time by title, roll called on final passage, yeas 95, nays 0. Finally passed, ordered to the Senate.
  • 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. Appears to be deferred for the Session.
  • 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: Awaiting Governor’s signature, scheduled for concurrence 6/9/15.
  • Recent Actions: Debated on the floor 6/4/15. Read third time by title, amended, roll called on final passage, yeas 70, nays 29. Finally passed, ordered to the Senate.
  • More details and record of amendments 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: Scheduled for concurrence on 6/9/2015.
  • Recent Actions: The amended bill was read by title, passed by a vote of 38 yeas and 0 nays, and ordered returned to the House. Motion to reconsider tabled on 6/4/15. Received from the Senate with amendments on 6/7/15.
  • 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. Appeared on agenda for Health and Welfare Committee 5/6/15, voluntarily deferred.
  • More details here.

 

Image Credit: Lithograph of Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans (1815) via KnowLA.

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