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In a batch of reform measures pre-filed in the last week, lawmakers in Oklahoma are considering legislation that would make such changes that would revamp the state’s Second Injury Fund, would add clarity to the state’s law when it comes to workers compensation fraud, and clear the red tape in chiropractic care for injured workers.
As of Wednesday, at least 17 pieces of legislation pertaining to the state’s comp system have been filed for the 2020 legislative session, many of which deal with administrative matters.
Among the notable, both S.B. 1093 and S.B. 1237 would remove responsibilities designated and fees paid to the state’s Workers Compensation Commission for overseeing the state’s Second Injury Fund, a state fund that helps employers covers costs for injured workers who have suffered a previous injury unrelated to their current job and are thus partially disabled.
Addressing comp fraud, H.B. 3841 would clarify that in addition to such violations as making false statement or representation in a comp claim — such as “attempting to obtain treatment or compensation for body parts that were not injured in the course and scope of employment,” as current law states — injured workers who fail to report additional income could be facing felony charges under certain conditions.
“While receiving temporary total disability benefits, failing to report a material change in income to an employer, insurance carrier, or third-party administrator shall be a felony,” a draft of the bill, which would go into effect in November states.
Also for consideration are S.B. 1375, which would add chiropractic care as an “allowable medical treatment” in workers comp, and H.B. 3085, which would authorize a reduction in insurance premiums for workers compensation policies if the employer is a work-based learning employer.
The Oklahoma Legislature convened its latest session Monday with 25-and-counting workers compensation bills on its plate as of Tuesday, prompting observers to take note.