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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday signed into law a bill that reinstates controversial impairment ratings in the state after the state’s Supreme Court deemed them unconstitutional in 2017, a change that experts say raised workers compensation loss cost rates by 6.06% mid-year.
Republican-endorsed H.B. 1840, which overturned the court ruling, was introduced in October 2017. After a year of discussions, it passed both the state House and Senate, by a 115-80 vote and a 34-15 vote, respectively. The bill was sent to the governor on Oct. 18.
Under the new law, an employer can request an impairment evaluation where a physician determines the degree of an injured employee’s impairment under the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act after the employer was injured for 104 weeks.
According to the new law, doctors are to refer to the “most recent” edition of the American Medical Association’s Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment — thus reinstating the previous system that was rejected by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in June 2017 when it ruled that the “General Assembly unconstitutionally delegated to the American Medical Association the authority to establish criteria for evaluating permanent impairment.”
The Pennsylvania State Police cannot recoup workers compensation benefits from an injured trooper who was also awarded more than $1 million in a lawsuit related to an on-duty car accident, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday.