Section 1 of the act increases the limit on medical impairment benefits based on mental impairment from 12 weeks to 36 weeks.
Section 2 removes language authorizing an employee to petition the division of workers' compensation in the department of labor and employment (division) for the replacement of any artificial member, glasses, hearing aid, brace, or other external prosthetic device, including dentures. The treating physician must deem such replacement necessary.
Section 3 allows an employee to request an expedited hearing when the employee's temporary total disability benefits end based on an attending physician's written release to return to regular employment.
Section 4 specifies that when a physician recommends medical benefits after maximum medical improvement, the benefits admitted by the insurer or self-insured employer are not limited to any specific medical treatment.
Current law requires an insurance carrier to provide an independent medical examiner and all other parties a complete copy of all medical records in its possession pertaining to an injury. Section 5 limits the medical records required to be provided to records relevant to the injury. Section 5 also specifies how the division is required to determine the amount and allocation of costs to be paid by the parties for an independent medical examination.
Section 6 allows a prehearing administrative law judge to issue interlocutory orders resolving disputes regarding the content and format of the independent medical examiner's medical record packet, indigency status, and the allocation of independent medical examiner costs.
Current law states that, in an unappealed case, a contingent attorney fee exceeding 20% of the amount of contested benefits is presumed to be unreasonable. Section 7 increases the amount to 25%.
For the 2023-24 state fiscal year, $731,640 is appropriated to the department of labor and employment from the from the workers' compensation cash fund for use by the division of workers' compensation in implementing the act.
APPROVED by Governor June 5, 2023
EFFECTIVE August 7, 2023
NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause and takes effect 90 days after sine die.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)