Concerning the "Workers' Compensation Act of Colorado", and, in connection therewith, making changes that affect the timely payment of benefits, guardian and conservator services, offsets related to the receipt of federal disability or retirement benefits, the apportionment of benefits, the selection of independent medical examiners, limits on temporary disability and permanent partial disability payments, the withdrawal of admissions of liability, mileage expense reimbursement, the authority of prehearing administrative law judges, petitions to review, the reopening of permanent total disability awards, and appeals to the court of appeals.
2020 Regular Session
Labor & Employment
- Clarifies when payments for benefits and penalties payable to an injured worker are deemed paid ( section 1 );
- Adds guardian and conservator services to the list of medical aid that an employer is required to furnish to an employee who is incapacitated as a result of a work-related injury or occupational disease ( section 2 );
- Requires a claimant for mileage reimbursement for travel related to obtaining compensable medical care to submit a request to the employer or insurer within 120 days after the expense is incurred and requires the employer or insurer to pay or dispute mileage within 30 days of submittal and to include in the brochure of claimants' rights an explanation of rights to mileage reimbursement and the deadline for filing a request ( sections 2 and 7 );
- Clarifies that offsets to disability benefits granted by the federal "Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Amendments of 1965" only apply if the payments were not already being received by the employee at the time of the work-related injury ( section 3 );
- Prohibits the reduction of an employee's temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, or medical benefits based on apportionment under any circumstances; limits apportionment of permanent impairment to specific situations; and declares that the employer or insurer bears the burden of proof, by a preponderance of evidence, at a hearing regarding apportionment of permanent impairment or permanent total disability benefits ( section 4 );
- Adds the conditions that, in order for an employer or insurer to request the selection of an independent medical examiner when an authorized treating physician has not determined that the employee has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), an examining physician must serve a written report to the authorized treating physician specifying that the examining physician has determined that the employee has reached MMI; the authorized treating physician must examine the employee at least 20 months after the date of the injury and determine that the employee has reached MMI; the authorized treating physician must be served with a written report indicating MMI; and the authorized treating physician has responded that the employee has not reached MMI or has failed to respond within 15 days after service of the report ( section 5 );
- Changes the whole person impairment rating applicable to an injured worker from 25% to 19% for purposes of determining the maximum amount of combined temporary disability and permanent partial disability payments an injured worker may receive ( section 6 );
- Prohibits an employer or insurer from withdrawing an admission of liability 2 years after the date the admission of liability on the issue of compensability was filed, except in cases of fraud ( section 7 );
- Prohibits the director of the division of workers' compensation or an administrative law judge from determining issues of compensability or liability unless specific benefits or penalties are awarded or denied at the same time ( section 8 );
- Clarifies the scope of authority of prehearing administrative law judges ( section 9 );
- Increases the threshold amount that an injured worker must earn in order for permanent total disability payments to cease and allows for annual adjustment of the threshold amount starting in 2021 ( section 11 ); and
- Clarifies the orders that are subject to review or appeal ( sections 10 and 12 ).
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)