Workers’ Comp Bill Substitute Filed in Texas Senate

March 2, 2005

The media services division of the Texas Senate reported that State Sen. Todd Staples of Palestine has laid out a substitute for Senate Bill 5, the comprehensive workers’ compensation reform bill. Staples filed the substitute to address some of the concerns voiced by the public at an earlier hearing on SB 5.

Among the changes is a clarification on the qualifications for the position of commissioner of the Texas Department of Workers’ Compensation (TDWC). SB 5 would dissolve the current 6-member committee that oversees workers’ comp issues in Texas, in favor of a single commissioner.

The substitute to SB 5 would require that the single commissioner have the same qualifications as the commissioner of the Texas Department of Insurance. Staples said the change was made in order to make the requirements for the top official at the TDWC less vague.

Changes to SB 5 would not allow a physician to serve as a “designated doctor” under certain conditions. A designated doctor is a doctor who advises the TDWC in issues relating to workers’ compensation, such as degree of injury or whether or not a person can return to work. If a doctor works for one of the workers’ comp treatment networks established by SB 5, then he or she is ineligible to serve as a designated doctor for TDWC.

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