Arizona House Considers Workers’ Comp Bills

March 12, 2008

Arizona lawmakers are considering two workers’ compensation bills that would change how workers’ compensation benefits are calculated and awarded, and allow more communication with the doctors of injured workers.

House Bill 2828, sponsored by House Majority Whip John McCormish of Phoenix, would permit the employer, insurance carrier or Industrial Commission of Arizona, through an authorized person, to directly communicate orally or in writing with the physician or surgeon regarding the injured person’s treatment.

The bill defines an authorized person as an attorney, claims adjuster or ICA employee. Notice must be given to the employee regarding any scheduled communication with a doctor or surgeon, if a claim is pending before an Administrative Law Judge.

Additionally, HB 2828 clarifies that a reopened claim must have been previously accepted by the ICA as a valid claim and says that a claim cannot be reopened if it was previously denied or deemed final and the exception of a late filing does not apply.

A claim for benefits must be filed within two years after the date of the claim of entitled benefits.

The second measure, House Bill 2829, if passed, would deem wages that were not earned due to employee misconduct to be considered as wages actually earned, when computing benefits in workers’ compensation cases.

The bill defines misconduct as impairment from intoxicating liquor or use of illegal drugs while on the employer’s premises or when reporting to work, failing to pass a drug/alcohol test; insubordination or disobedience; dishonesty; admission or conviction of a crime; violating safety, state or federal rules; and absence from work without notifying the employer or having good cause; repeated or frequent absences without good cause; failing to return to work after a vacation or leave time; failing to exercise due care and diligence in attendance.

For more information about the bills, visit the Arizona State Legislature.

Source: Arizona State Legislature

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