Texas Workers’ Comp Bill Presented

January 14, 2005

Texas State Senator Todd Staples of Palestine has introduced Senate Bill 5, designed to overhaul the state’s workers’ compensation program.

“In Texas, we spend far more to treat on-the-job injuries, but we get far worse results,” stated Staples, in announcing the bill. “At the same time, our injured employees are off work longer, are less likely to return to work and are often less satisfied with the care they receive.”

According to Staples, workers’ comp in Texas costs 25 percent more than the national average, with poorer results and lower patient satisfaction. SB 5 would reorganize the state’s system, creating a single commissioner to oversee a new Texas Department of Workers’ Compensation. It would also make a number of changes to the overall operations of the system, including establishing authority for a Medical Provider Network (MPN).

The goal is to create a system that is more flexible and able to respond to market changes. The bill attempts to increase patient satisfaction by increasing the weekly benefits cap and shortening the wait period before injured workers can apply for benefits from four weeks to two.

The Senate will stand in recess next week, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. day, and also as many lawmakers travel to Washington for the Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20. The Senate will reconvene Jan. 24, at 1:30 p.m.

The text of the bill may be viewed through the Texas Legislature’s Web site at: www.capitol.state.tx.us.

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