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Nebraska lawmakers propose comp changes, formulary adoption

Nebraska lawmakers propose comp changes, formulary adoption

Nebraska lawmakers have prefiled five bills affecting workers compensation in the state, including one to adopt a drug formulary.

L.B. 487, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Andrew LaGrone, proposes adopting an evidence-based drug formulary for prescription drugs on Schedules II through V that would apply to all drugs prescribed in connection with a workers compensation case with a date of injury on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

The bill states that any drug listed on the formulary could be prescribed under workers comp without prior authorization, and mandates that the Nebraska Workers Compensation Court meet with stakeholders including employers, insurers, private and public sector employee representatives, treating physicians, pharmacists and workers compensation attorneys to develop and adopt the formulary.

The legislation also allows for parties to request a finding by an independent medical examiner for the denial of payment for a drug that is prescribed and not listed on the formulary.

The bill is slated to be read Jan. 22.

Democratic Sen. Dan Quick will introduce L.B. 408 and L.B. 364 next week. The first proposes to amend the Nebraska Workers Compensation Act regarding death benefits, so that in the event there is no spouse, child or dependent entitled to benefits the representative of the estate of the deceased worker will be entitled to $25,000.

L.B. 364 proposes to limit fees under the Act to forbid any provider or supplier of workers compensation services to attempt to collect in excess of fees established by the compensation court for addressing the medical condition, causation or disability.

L.B. 19, slated to be introduced Friday by Republican Sen. Tom Briese, would allow employees or their authorized agents, insurers party to the workers comp claim, third-parties charged with collecting the number and nature of injuries, and nonprofits established to offer grief counseling or condolences for injured or deceased workers to obtain reports — redacted if necessary — from the Nebraska Workers Compensation Court. The bill would also allow reports to be disclosed by the court for use in state or federal investigations or for statistical data collection.

The final prefiled bill, L.B. 448 sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mike McDonnell, would change the amount allotted for burial expenses under the Nebraska Workers Compensation Act from a flat fee of $10,000 to “the reasonable expenses of burial,” not to exceed an amount equal to 14 times the state average weekly wage, to be paid to the deceased worker’s dependents or his or her personal representative.