Section 1 of the bill explicitly authorizes the director of the division of workers' compensation (director), or an administrative law judge (ALJ) presiding over a workers' compensation case, to consider the medical treatment guidelines adopted by the director in determining whether certain medical treatment is appropriate.
Section 2 requires the director to adopt rules governing the approval of settlements in workers' compensation cases, including procedures for electronic transmission of documents and verification of signatures.
Sections 3 and 4 adjust the measurement of time within which a hearing must commence, from 100 days after the date the hearing is set to 120 days after the date of service of the request for hearing or the notice to set.
Section 5 extends the time for objection to a summary order by an ALJ from 7 days to 10 days.
Section 6 allows the director or an ALJ to summon out-of-state parties to appear, either in person or by telephone, at a hearing or deposition and authorizes sanctions for a failure to appear.
Section 7 sets a 30-day deadline for the director, ALJ, or administrative panel to comply with the directions accompanying the remand of a case or order by an appellate tribunal.
Section 8 allows a claimant to receive $75 per day, in addition to transportation and lodging, if the claimant is required to travel for a medical examination requested by the employer and misses work as a result.
Section 8 also requires an authorized physician to give written notice, with an explanation, to the claimant and the employer if the physician refuses to treat the claimant or discharges the claimant from medical care for a nonmedical reason. After receiving the notice, the employer has 15 days to select another physician before the claimant is allowed to select a physician independently.
Section 9 adjusts the maximum amount payable in a lump-sum settlement, replacing the current limit of $60,000 with a range of $80,868 to $161,734, depending on the number of claimants, to be adjusted periodically whenever adjustments are made to the state average weekly wage.