The Minnesota legislature adjourned and passed several changes to the workers’ compensation statute.
The highlights include:
- Requiring insurers, hospitals, and healthcare clearing houses to designate a contact person to answer inquires related to the submission or payment of medical bills by November 1, 2017 (Minn. Stat. §176.135 subd. 9).
- Adjustments to the Medicare DRG program (Minn. Stat. §176.1362).
- Permitting electronic service of documents on government agencies, insurers, rehabilitation providers, and attorneys that agree to it (Minn. Stat. §176.285).
- Codifying the Ekdahl and Hartwig decisions pertaining to non-Social Security government retirement benefits (Minn. Stat. §176.1292).
- Permitting partial stipulations for settlement to resolve claims around non-responsive intervenors (Minn. Stat. §176.521).
A proposal to create a presumption that PTSD is work-related for first responders and certain emergency personnel passed the house but did not make it into the final bill. This portion of the bill was not included in the initial recommendations but added by a firefighter senator, against the recommendations of Commissioner Ken Peterson. That it passed the State Senate without the approval of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council may be a sign that the WCAC’s powers are waning and we may begin to see more changes come from the floor, rather than from the Council.
The WCAC agreed to spend the next year studying the proposed PTSD presumption and will offer up a recommendation for that provision, most likely for next year’s legislative session.
The attorneys at Hansen Dordell are available to discuss your specific workers’ compensation issues and goals.