Changes to workers’ compensation in Virginia could be coming very soon, as the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee recently gave its support to a proposal that would create widespread adjustments to the current system.
The bill, known as SB 631, basically says that the state can dictate up front what will be charged by medical care providers for certain types of treatments when they are provided after workplace injuries. If it goes through, the Workers Compensation Commission would then get the authority to create a fee schedule that would be used for these treatments.
As of now, experts say that there are roughly 2,000 fee dispute cases that are going on all of the time; even when some are resolved, new ones spring up. These would be eliminated with a set fee schedule, as the fees would then be known, documented and free from dispute.
The problem, as it stands right now, is that medical care providers can put different prices on treatments and then ask for them to be covered by workers’ compensation. Businesses and insurance companies may then think that the costs are inflated, and they’ll contest them. This draws the whole process out and increases costs to employers.
Supporters of the bill also argue that there are more important and difficult questions that need to be asked, such as whether or not specific accidents are supposed to be covered at all, and eliminating the disputes would free up more time for those cases.
This would be a very big change in Virginia, and it’s something that all workers and employers should keep an eye on as it moves closer to becoming a law.
Source: Daily Press, “Major reform to workers comp advances in Virginia Senate committee,” Feb. 01, 2016