147th General Assembly
House Bill # 175
|Primary Sponsor: ||B. Short|| Additional Sponsor(s):    Rep. Briggs King & Sen. Blevins & Sen. Hocker|
|CoSponsors: ||Reps. Bennett, Brady, Jaques, Q. Johnson, Keeley, Mulrooney, Osienski, Outten, Ramone, D. Short, Viola, D.E. Williams; Sens. Cloutier, Ennis, Lavelle, Sokola, Townsend|
|Introduced on : ||06/04/2013|
|Long Title:||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLES 18 AND 19 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO WORKERS’ COMPENSATION.|
|Synopsis of Orginal Bill:|
| This Act implements the legislative recommendations of the Workers’ Compensation Task Force, created by House Joint Resolution 3 to recommend improvements to Delaware’s workers’ compensation system to address the double-digit increases in workers’ compensation rates Delaware saw in 2011 and 2012.|
Section 1 of the Act expands the responsibilities and resources of the Data Collection Committee, which is overseen by the Department of Insurance. The section provides the committee with more frequent updates on medical cost drivers for the Delaware workers’ compensation market as a whole, and allows the Committee to review company-specific medical cost information and direct examinations of companies that do not appear to be exercising sufficient oversight over medical costs.
Section 2 of the Act implements a number of changes to Delaware’s medical cost control provisions for workers’ compensation recipients, including a two-year inflation freeze on fees that would otherwise be entitled to an annual inflation increase, a reduction in the annual inflation increase allowed for hospitals treating workers’ compensation patients (which exceeded the inflation increase allowed for other providers), inclusion of many procedures on the state’s current medical fee schedule which were previously exempted, and new cost control provisions for pharmaceuticals, drug testing, and anesthesia.
Section 3 of the Act imposes more responsibility on insurance carriers to ensure that employers are complying with their responsibilities to provide doctors with a complete list of job opportunities that an injured employee might be able to fill while still unable to perform his or her previous job. This is an important step in getting injured workers back into the workplace more quickly, which impacts the length of time they receive workers compensation.
Section 4 of the Act creates a statute of limitations for parties who wish to appeal a utilization review decision. The Delaware Supreme Court recently ruled that such a statute of limitations must be created by statute and not by regulation.
Section 5 of the Act makes three changes to Delaware’s workplace safety credit program: it requires that the program be more rigorous with respect to inquiring about past injuries in a workplace before awarding the credit, it allows insurance company safety inspections which are at least as rigorous as those performed by the Department of Insurance to substitute for the Department’s inspections, and it requires that companies be compliant with their ‘back to work’ responsibilities for injured employees before being eligible for the credit.
Section 6 of the Act provides the Data Collection Committee with the authority to direct the examinations called for in Section 1 of the Act.
Section 7 of the Act reforms the procedure used to scrutinize industry-wide rate requests submitted by the workers compensation insurance industry, creating an advocate in the rate-setting process for Delaware businesses and establishing a process where that rate advocate can gather the information necessary to advocate for businesses and effectively present their arguments with respect to rates to the hearing officer making recommendations to the Department of Insurance.
Section 8 of the Act requires that both the workers compensation industry and the Department of Insurance specifically consider each of the reforms created by this Act and by new regulations accompanying this Act when setting rates in 2013.
Section 9 of the Act continues the existence of the Workers Compensation Task Force so that it can chart the impact of the reforms it recommended and make further recommendations for cost savings as necessary.
|Current Status:|| Signed   On   06/27/2013|
|Date Governor acted:||06/27/2013|
|Full text of Legislation: |
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|Fiscal Notes/Fee Impact:||Not Required |
House Committee Report 06/05/13 F=3 M=7 U=0---->
Senate Committee report 06/18/13 F=0 M=6 U=0----->
House vote: () Passed 6/6/2013 5:11:17 PM------->
Senate vote: () Passed 6/19/2013 6:03:30 PM------->
|Jun 27, 2013 - Signed by Governor|
Jun 19, 2013 - Passed by Senate. Votes: Passed 21 YES 0 NO 0 NOT VOTING 0 ABSENT 0 VACANT
Jun 18, 2013 - Reported Out of Committee (EXECUTIVE) in Senate with 6 On Its Merits
Jun 06, 2013 - Assigned to Executive Committee in Senate
Jun 06, 2013 - Passed by House of Representatives. Votes: Passed 39 YES 0 NO 0 NOT VOTING 2 ABSENT 0 VACANT
Jun 05, 2013 - Reported Out of Committee (ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/BANKING/INSURANCE/COMMERCE) in House with 3 Favorable, 7 On Its Merits
Jun 04, 2013 - Introduced and Assigned to Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee in House