The state’s Capitol Hill has placed the coverage overhaul at the top of their list.
Tennessee’s workers compensation system is facing some changes as reforms to legislation in the state are made in order to make job creation more attractive, but while still protecting employees who are injured while on the job.
House Bill 194 is aimed at reducing business costs while making several coverage improvements.
The goal of H.B. 194 is to make workers compensation more affordable to businesses, while it boosts the predictability of the coverage, betters the management process for claims, and makes it easier for injured employees to select a physician, while there is a reduction in the delay to employee receipt of benefits payments.
The workers compensation legislation is the outcome of two different comprehensive research studies.
The two studies came up with potential recommendations for the improvement of the workers compensation program in Tennessee. The state is one of only two in the country where the cases are primarily settled within the courts. This means that t
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he cost of the premiums for this coverage are considerably higher than they do in the states that surround Tennessee.
Among the workers compensation bill’s highlights include the following:
• Workers would be able to file their claims into a Court of Workers Compensation Claims, which would be created specifically for this purpose, instead of having to go through the process of a trial court.
• The law would be applied neutrally so that neither the worker nor the employer has an unfair advantage.
• Provides a clearer causation standard for the requirement that the injury will have been primarily caused by the worker’s employment as opposed to activities that occurred off the job.
• Offers disability benefits for injured employees based on a 450 week maximum, which is 50 weeks greater than the current limit.
• Changes the medical panels requirement by creating advisory medical treatment guidelines that will be in place by January 1, 2016. They will have been developed based on medical care best practices for injuries and illnesses related to work.
• A new workers compensation Ombudsman program will be created to assist employers and employees that are underrepresented so that they can obtain the help they require.