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January 1995, Vol. 118, No. 1
Ruth A. Brown
W orkers' compensation legislation was relatively light during 1994. Fraud continued to receive considerable attention, especially in Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia. Some States made sweeping changes in their laws. For example, Kentucky established an ombudsman program and guidelines that allow a collective bargaining agreement between an employer and a bargaining agreement representative; barred a provider from collecting payment for medical treatment in excess of the State's medical fee schedule; required a 10 percent reduction of benefits awarded at age 65 if injury or last exposure occurred prior to age 65; limited the special funds liability for income benefits to an amount not to exceed 50 percent of the award; created the Employers' Mutual Insurance Authority as a competitive State fund; prohibited the awarding of compensation based on fraud; and denied compensation for work-related exposure to human immunodeficiency virus if the Commissioner is notified of the exposure within a certain time frame.
New Hampshire required employers to pay for benefits for disability while a prosthesis is being replaced or repaired; required that providers of vocational rehabilitation be certified; exempted from coverage prisoners who perform services without pay; required managed-care programs to include a "sufficient" number of injury management facilitators; required that certain employers provide alternative work opportunities for injured employees; reduced benefits for permanent total and permanent partial disability; required health care providers conducting independent medical examinations to be certified in their area of specialty; and established a workplace safety incentive program.
North Carolina permitted the use of managed-care organizations to satisfy liability for medical care and treatment; required preauthorization for inpatient admission for medical care and for inpatient and out patient surgery; authorized the adoption of a medical fee schedule; allowed employees to attempt a trial return to work and to be paid partial disability during this trial period; authorized the establishment of an ombudsman program; increased the assessment against an employer or carrier for an employees loss, or loss of use, of a minor or major member; classified the penalty for fraudulently obtaining or denying workers' compensation as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Alaska extended coverage to firefighters participating in authorized training , while sports officials who officiate at regional games are excluded from coverage. In Delaware, prisoners who are allowed to work within the penal system are not considered employees for the purpose of workers' compensation coverage. In contrast, Maryland provided coverage to prisoners working under the Federal Prison Industry Enhancement Program.
Workers' compensation coverage in Delaware is extended to members of a volunteer fire department and volunteers of a life support agency. Rhode Island exempted workers' compensation coverage for real estate workers, salespersons, and appraisers if substantially all remuneration is related to sales or other output, rather than the number of hours worked.
In Georgia, benefits are denied if chemical analysis shows the amount of alcohol to be 0.08 grams or more, and if there is evidence of marijuana or controlled substance in the employee's blood within 8 hours of an accident. Tennessee broadened its provision and now does not allow benefits for injuries resulting from intoxication or use of illegal drugs. In Virginia, the employer now has rebuttable presumption that the employee was intoxicated if body fluids indicate that the amount of alcohol or illegal drugs is equal to or more than the standard set forth in the law.
This excerpt is from an article published in the January 1995 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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