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SB 112: "An Act relating to the controlled substance prescription database; relating to employer-required drug testing; relating to the office of administrative hearings; relating to the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board; relating to the payment of workers' compensation or benefits; relating to compensable injuries; relating to rehabilitation and reemployment of injured workers; relating to reemployment vouchers; relating to the treatment or care of employees; relating to use of evidence-based treatment guidelines; relating to prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance to an employee for a compensable injury; relating to workers' compensation prehearings; relating to the filing of claims for workers' compensation benefits or petitions for other relief; relating to the burden of proof and credibility of witnesses in workers' compensation matters; relating to attorney fees; relating to the filing of a verified annual report; relating to permanent total disability; relating to temporary total disability; relating to group practices that provide medical treatment to an employee; relating to the prohibition of certain referrals for workers' compensation; and providing for an effective date."

00                             SENATE BILL NO. 112                                                                         
01 "An Act relating to the controlled substance prescription database; relating to                                         
02 employer-required drug testing; relating to the office of administrative hearings;                                      
03 relating to the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board; relating to the payment of                                          
04 workers' compensation or benefits; relating to compensable injuries; relating to                                        
05 rehabilitation and reemployment of injured workers; relating to reemployment                                            
06 vouchers; relating to the treatment or care of employees; relating to use of evidence-                                  
07 based treatment guidelines; relating to prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance                                
08 to an employee for a compensable injury; relating to workers' compensation                                              
09 prehearings; relating to the filing of claims for workers' compensation benefits or                                     
10 petitions for other relief; relating to the burden of proof and credibility of witnesses in                             
11 workers' compensation matters; relating to attorney fees; relating to the filing of a                                   
12 verified annual report; relating to permanent total disability; relating to temporary total                             
01 disability; relating to group practices that provide medical treatment to an employee;                                  
02 relating to the prohibition of certain referrals for workers' compensation; and providing                               
03 for an effective date."                                                                                                 
04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
05    * Section 1. AS 17.30.200(b), as amended by sec. 23, ch. 25, SLA 2016, is amended to                               
06 read:                                                                                                                   
07 (b)  The pharmacist-in-charge of each licensed or registered pharmacy,                                                  
08 regarding each schedule II, III, or IV controlled substance under federal law dispensed                                 
09 by a pharmacist under the supervision of the pharmacist-in-charge, and each                                             
10 practitioner who directly dispenses a schedule II, III, or IV controlled substance under                                
11 federal law, other than those administered to a patient at a health care facility, or who                       
12 prescribes a controlled substance subject to AS 23.30.096, shall submit to the                                      
13 board, by a procedure and in a format established by the board, the following                                           
14       information for inclusion in the database on at least a weekly basis:                                             
15 (1)  the name of the prescribing practitioner and the practitioner's                                                    
16 federal Drug Enforcement Administration registration number or other appropriate                                        
17       identifier;                                                                                                       
18                 (2)  the date of the prescription;                                                                      
19 (3)  the date the prescription was filled and the method of payment; this                                               
20 paragraph does not authorize the board to include individual credit card or other                                       
21       account numbers in the database;                                                                                  
22 (4)  the name, address, and date of birth of the person for whom the                                                    
23       prescription was written;                                                                                         
24                 (5)  the name and national drug code of the controlled substance;                                       
25                 (6)  the quantity and strength of the controlled substance dispensed;                                   
26 (7)  the name of the drug outlet dispensing the controlled substance;                                                   
27       and                                                                                                               
28 (8)  the name of the pharmacist or practitioner dispensing the controlled                                               
29       substance and other appropriate identifying information.                                                          
30    * Sec. 2. AS 17.30.200(b), as amended by secs. 23 and 24, ch. 25, SLA 2016, is amended to                          
01 read:                                                                                                                   
02 (b)  The pharmacist-in-charge of each licensed or registered pharmacy,                                                  
03 regarding each schedule II, III, or IV controlled substance under federal law dispensed                                 
04 by a pharmacist under the supervision of the pharmacist-in-charge, and each                                             
05 practitioner who directly dispenses a schedule II, III, or IV controlled substance under                                
06 federal law other than those administered to a patient at a health care facility, or who                            
07 prescribes a controlled substance subject to AS 23.30.096, shall submit to the                                      
08 board, by a procedure and in a format established by the board, the following                                           
09       information for inclusion in the database:                                                                        
10 (1)  the name of the prescribing practitioner and the practitioner's                                                    
11 federal Drug Enforcement Administration registration number or other appropriate                                        
12       identifier;                                                                                                       
13                 (2)  the date of the prescription;                                                                      
14 (3)  the date the prescription was filled and the method of payment; this                                               
15 paragraph does not authorize the board to include individual credit card or other                                       
16       account numbers in the database;                                                                                  
17 (4)  the name, address, and date of birth of the person for whom the                                                    
18       prescription was written;                                                                                         
19                 (5)  the name and national drug code of the controlled substance;                                       
20                 (6)  the quantity and strength of the controlled substance dispensed;                                   
21 (7)  the name of the drug outlet dispensing the controlled substance;                                                   
22       and                                                                                                               
23 (8)  the name of the pharmacist or practitioner dispensing the controlled                                               
24       substance and other appropriate identifying information.                                                          
25    * Sec. 3. AS 17.30.200(d), as amended by sec. 25, ch. 25, SLA 2016, is amended to read:                            
26 (d)  The database and the information contained within the database are                                                 
27 confidential, are not public records, are not subject to public disclosure, and may not                                 
28 be shared with the federal government. The board shall undertake to ensure the                                          
29 security and confidentiality of the database and the information contained within the                                   
30 database. The board may allow access to the database only to the following persons,                                     
31       and in accordance with the limitations provided and regulations of the board:                                     
01 (1)  personnel of the board regarding inquiries concerning licensees or                                                 
02 registrants of the board or personnel of another board or agency concerning a                                           
03 practitioner under a search warrant, subpoena, or order issued by an administrative law                                 
04       judge or a court;                                                                                                 
05 (2)  authorized board personnel or contractors as required for                                                          
06       operational and review purposes;                                                                                  
07 (3)  a licensed practitioner having authority to prescribe controlled                                                   
08 substances or an agent or employee of the practitioner whom the practitioner has                                        
09 authorized to access the database on the practitioner's behalf, to the extent the                                       
10 information relates specifically to a current patient of the practitioner to whom the                                   
11 practitioner is prescribing or considering prescribing a controlled substance; the agent                                
12       or employee must be licensed or registered under AS 08;                                                           
13 (4)  a licensed or registered pharmacist having authority to dispense                                                   
14 controlled substances or an agent or employee of the pharmacist whom the pharmacist                                     
15 has authorized to access the database on the pharmacist's behalf, to the extent the                                     
16 information relates specifically to a current patient to whom the pharmacist is                                         
17 dispensing or considering dispensing a controlled substance; the agent or employee                                      
18       must be licensed or registered under AS 08;                                                                       
19 (5)  state and local law enforcement authorities may receive printouts of                                               
20 information contained in the database under a search warrant or order issued by a                                       
21       court establishing probable cause for the access and use of the information;                                      
22 (6)  an individual who is the recipient of a controlled substance                                                       
23 prescription entered into the database may receive information contained in the                                         
24 database concerning the individual on providing evidence satisfactory to the board that                                 
25 the individual requesting the information is in fact the person about whom the data                                     
26 entry was made and on payment of a fee set by the board under AS 37.10.050 that                                         
27       does not exceed $10;                                                                                              
28 (7)  a licensed pharmacist employed by the Department of Health and                                                     
29 Social Services who is responsible for administering prescription drug coverage for                                     
30 the medical assistance program under AS 47.07, to the extent that the information                                       
31       relates specifically to prescription drug coverage under the program;                                             
01 (8)  a licensed pharmacist, licensed practitioner, or authorized                                                        
02 employee of the Department of Health and Social Services responsible for utilization                                    
03 review of prescription drugs for the medical assistance program under AS 47.07, to the                                  
04 extent that the information relates specifically to utilization review of prescription                                  
05       drugs provided to recipients of medical assistance;                                                               
06 (9)  the state medical examiner, to the extent that the information                                                     
07       relates specifically to investigating the cause and manner of a person's death;                                   
08 (10)  an authorized employee of the Department of Health and Social                                                     
09 Services may receive information from the database that does not disclose the identity                                  
10 of a patient, prescriber, dispenser, or dispenser location, for the purpose of identifying                              
11 and monitoring public health issues in the state; however, the information provided                                     
12 under this paragraph may include the region of the state in which a patient, prescriber,                                
13       and dispenser are located and the specialty of the prescriber; [AND]                                              
14 (11)  a practitioner, pharmacist, or clinical staff employed by an Alaska                                               
15 tribal health organization, including commissioned corps officers of the United States                                  
16 Public Health Service employed under a memorandum of agreement; in this                                                 
17 paragraph, "Alaska tribal health organization" has the meaning given to "tribal health                                  
18       program" in 25 U.S.C. 1603; and                                                                               
19 (12)  a licensed practitioner, for the purpose of reporting to an                                                   
20 insurer, self-insured employer, or the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board                                           
21       under AS 23.30.096.                                                                                         
22    * Sec. 4. AS 17.30.200(d), as amended by secs. 25 and 26, ch. 25, SLA 2016, is amended to                          
23 read:                                                                                                                   
24 (d)  The database and the information contained within the database are                                                 
25 confidential, are not public records, are not subject to public disclosure, and may not                                 
26 be shared with the federal government. The board shall undertake to ensure the                                          
27 security and confidentiality of the database and the information contained within the                                   
28 database. The board may allow access to the database only to the following persons,                                     
29       and in accordance with the limitations provided and regulations of the board:                                     
30 (1)  personnel of the board regarding inquiries concerning licensees or                                                 
31 registrants of the board or personnel of another board or agency concerning a                                           
01       practitioner under a search warrant, subpoena, or order issued by an administrative law                           
02       judge or a court;                                                                                                 
03                 (2)  authorized board personnel or contractors as required for                                          
04       operational and review purposes;                                                                                  
05 (3)  a licensed practitioner having authority to prescribe controlled                                                   
06 substances, to the extent the information relates specifically to a current patient of the                              
07 practitioner to whom the practitioner is prescribing or considering prescribing a                                       
08       controlled substance;                                                                                             
09                 (4)  a licensed or registered pharmacist having authority to dispense                                   
10 controlled substances, to the extent the information relates specifically to a current                                  
11 patient to whom the pharmacist is dispensing or considering dispensing a controlled                                     
12       substance;                                                                                                        
13 (5)  state and local law enforcement authorities may receive printouts of                                               
14 information contained in the database under a search warrant, subpoena, or order                                        
15 issued by a court establishing probable cause for the access and use of the information;                                
16       [AND]                                                                                                             
17 (6)  an individual who is the recipient of a controlled substance                                                       
18 prescription entered into the database may receive information contained in the                                         
19 database concerning the individual on providing evidence satisfactory to the board that                                 
20 the individual requesting the information is in fact the person about whom the data                                     
21 entry was made and on payment of a fee set by the board under AS 37.10.050 that                                         
22       does not exceed $10; and                                                                                      
23 (7)  a licensed practitioner, for the purpose of reporting to an                                                    
24 insurer, self-insured employer, or the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board                                           
25       under AS 23.30.096.                                                                                           
26    * Sec. 5. AS 23.05.067(e) is amended to read:                                                                      
27 (e)  Annual service fees and civil penalties collected under this section shall be                                      
28 deposited in the workers' safety and compensation administration account in the state                                   
29 treasury. Under AS 37.05.146(c), the service fees and civil penalties shall be                                          
30 accounted for separately, and appropriations from the account are not made from the                                     
31 unrestricted general fund. The legislature may appropriate money from the account for                                   
01 expenditures by the office of administrative hearings (AS 44.64.010) for necessary                                  
02 costs incurred for administrative hearings required under AS 23.30 and by the                                       
03 department for necessary costs incurred by the department in the administration of the                                  
04 workers' safety programs contained in AS 18.60 and of the Alaska Workers'                                               
05 Compensation Act contained in AS 23.30. Nothing in this subsection creates a                                            
06 dedicated fund or dedicates the money in the account for a specific purpose. Money                                      
07 deposited in the account does not lapse at the end of a fiscal year unless otherwise                                    
08       provided by an appropriation.                                                                                     
09    * Sec. 6. AS 23.10.620 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:                                              
10 (g)  In addition to the tests required under (c) and (d) of this section, an                                            
11 employer may require an employee to undergo drug testing under AS 23.30.096(b)(3)                                       
12 if the employee has been prescribed a controlled substance described in                                                 
13       AS 17.30.200(a) by a physician under AS 23.30.096.                                                                
14    * Sec. 7. AS 23.30.001 is amended to read:                                                                         
15            Sec. 23.30.001. Legislative intent. It is the intent of the legislature that                             
16 (1)  this chapter be interpreted so as to ensure the quick, efficient, fair,                                            
17 and predictable delivery of indemnity and medical benefits to injured workers at a                                      
18       reasonable cost to the employers who are subject to the provisions of this chapter;                               
19 (2)  workers' compensation cases shall be decided on their merits                                                       
20       except where otherwise provided by statute;                                                                       
21 (3)  this chapter may not be construed by the board, commission,                                                    
22       office of administrative hearings, and any reviewing courts in favor of a party;                              
23 (4)  hearings in workers' compensation cases shall be impartial and fair                                                
24 to all parties and that all parties shall be afforded due process and an opportunity to be                              
25       heard and for their arguments and evidence to be fairly considered;                                           
26 (5)  this chapter be strictly construed by the board, commission,                                                   
27       office of administrative hearings, and any reviewing courts;                                                  
28 (6)  in determining whether a party has met the burden of proof on                                                  
29 an issue, the board, commission, office of administrative hearings, and any                                         
30 reviewing courts weigh the evidence impartially and without presumption in                                          
31       favor of a party except where otherwise provided by statute;                                                  
01 (7)  the workers' compensation system be cost-effective to the                                                      
02       citizens of the state.                                                                                        
03    * Sec. 8. AS 23.30.005(a) is amended to read:                                                                      
04 (a)  The Alaska Workers' Compensation Board consists of two public [A                                               
05 SOUTHERN PANEL OF THREE] members representing [SITTING FOR] the first                                               
06 judicial district, two public [NORTHERN PANELS OF THREE] members                                                    
07 representing [SITTING FOR] the second and fourth judicial districts, eight public                               
08 [FIVE SOUTHCENTRAL PANELS OF THREE] members representing [EACH                                                      
09 SITTING FOR] the third judicial district, and includes [ONE PANEL OF THREE                                          
10 MEMBERS THAT MAY SIT IN ANY JUDICIAL DISTRICT. EACH PANEL                                                               
11 MUST INCLUDE] the commissioner of labor and workforce development. The                                              
12 public members in each judicial district must equally consist of representatives of                                 
13 industry and [OR A HEARING OFFICER DESIGNATED TO REPRESENT THE                                                      
14 COMMISSIONER, A REPRESENTATIVE OF INDUSTRY, AND A                                                                       
15 REPRESENTATIVE OF] labor. The public members [LATTER TWO MEMBERS                                                    
16 OF EACH PANEL] shall be appointed by the governor and are subject to                                                    
17 confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session. The                                      
18 board shall by regulation provide procedures to avoid conflicts and the appearance of                                   
19       impropriety in hearings.                                                                                          
20    * Sec. 9. AS 23.30.005(b) is amended to read:                                                                      
21 (b)  The commissioner shall act as chair and executive officer of the board and                                         
22 chair of any hearing [EACH] panel. The commissioner may designate a                                                 
23 representative to act for the commissioner as chair and executive officer of the board.                                 
24 The commissioner may designate hearing officers to serve as chairs of panels for                                        
25 hearing settlement agreements under AS 23.30.012 or claims arising under                                            
26 AS 23.30.015 or 23.30.247. These hearings may be by telephonic means and do                                         
27       not need to be held in the judicial district where the injury occurred [CLAIMS].                              
28    * Sec. 10. AS 23.30.005(c) is amended to read:                                                                     
29 (c)  [THE GOVERNOR SHALL APPOINT THE MEMBERS OF THE                                                                     
30 PANELS.] Each member, except the commissioner of labor and workforce                                                    
31 development, serves a term of three years. The term of a management member and the                                      
01 term of a labor member of each panel may not expire in the same year. The                                               
02 management and labor members are entitled to compensation in the amount of $50 a                                        
03 day for each day or portion of a day spent in actual meeting or on authorized official                                  
04 business incidental to their duties and to all other transportation and per diem as                                     
05       provided by law.                                                                                                  
06    * Sec. 11. AS 23.30.005(e) is amended to read:                                                                     
07 (e)  A member of one judicial district [PANEL] may serve on any                                                 
08 [ANOTHER] panel [WHEN THE COMMISSIONER CONSIDERS IT NECESSARY                                                           
09 FOR THE PROMPT ADMINISTRATION OF THIS CHAPTER. TRANSFERS                                                                
10 SHALL BE ALLOWED ONLY IF A LABOR OR MANAGEMENT                                                                          
11       REPRESENTATIVE REPLACES A COUNTERPART ON THE OTHER PANEL].                                                        
12    * Sec. 12. AS 23.30.005(g) is amended to read:                                                                     
13 (g)  A claim or petition for other relief must be heard by administrative                                           
14 law judges from the office of administrative hearings on a rotating basis and                                       
15 these proceedings will be subject to AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act),                                       
16 except as otherwise provided in this chapter [MAY BE HEARD BY ONLY ONE                                              
17       PANEL].                                                                                                           
18    * Sec. 13. AS 23.30.005(h) is amended to read:                                                                     
19 (h)  The department [SHALL ADOPT RULES FOR ALL PANELS, AND                                                              
20 PROCEDURES FOR THE PERIODIC SELECTION, RETENTION, AND                                                                   
21 REMOVAL OF BOTH REHABILITATION SPECIALISTS AND PHYSICIANS                                                               
22 UNDER AS 23.30.041 AND 23.30.095, AND] shall adopt regulations to carry out the                                         
23 provisions of this chapter, except on matters over which AS 44.62 (Administrative                                   
24 Procedure Act) controls. [THE DEPARTMENT MAY BY REGULATION                                                          
25 PROVIDE FOR PROCEDURAL, DISCOVERY, OR STIPULATED MATTERS TO                                                             
26 BE HEARD AND DECIDED BY THE COMMISSIONER OR A HEARING                                                                   
27 OFFICER DESIGNATED TO REPRESENT THE COMMISSIONER RATHER                                                                 
28 THAN A PANEL. IF A PROCEDURAL, DISCOVERY, OR STIPULATED                                                                 
29 MATTER IS HEARD AND DECIDED BY THE COMMISSIONER OR A                                                                    
30 HEARING OFFICER DESIGNATED TO REPRESENT THE COMMISSIONER,                                                               
31 THE ACTION TAKEN IS CONSIDERED THE ACTION OF THE FULL BOARD                                                             
01 ON THAT ASPECT OF THE CLAIM. PROCESS AND PROCEDURE UNDER                                                                
02 THIS CHAPTER SHALL BE AS SUMMARY AND SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE. THE                                                            
03 DEPARTMENT, THE BOARD OR A MEMBER OF IT MAY FOR THE                                                                     
04 PURPOSES OF THIS CHAPTER SUBPOENA WITNESSES, ADMINISTER OR                                                              
05 CAUSE TO BE ADMINISTERED OATHS, AND MAY EXAMINE OR CAUSE TO                                                             
06 HAVE EXAMINED THE PARTS OF THE BOOKS AND RECORDS OF THE                                                                 
07 PARTIES TO A PROCEEDING THAT RELATE TO QUESTIONS IN DISPUTE.]                                                           
08 The superior court, upon [ON] application of the department, the board or any                                       
09 members of it, or the office of administrative hearings shall enforce the attendance                                
10 and testimony of witnesses and the production and examination of books, papers, and                                     
11       records.                                                                                                          
12    * Sec. 14. AS 23.30.005(i) is amended to read:                                                                     
13 (i)  The department may adopt regulations concerning the medical care                                                   
14 provided for in this chapter. In addition to the reports required of physicians under                                   
15 AS 23.30.095(a) - (d), the board may direct a physician or hospital rendering medical                                   
16 treatment or service under this chapter to furnish to the board or office of                                        
17 administrative hearings periodic reports of treatment or services on forms procured                                 
18       from the board.                                                                                                   
19    * Sec. 15. AS 23.30.005(j) is amended to read:                                                                     
20 (j)  The board may also arrange to have hearings held by the commission,                                                
21 officer, or tribunal having authority to hear cases arising under the workers'                                          
22 compensation law of any other state, of the District of Columbia, or of any territory of                                
23 the United States. The testimony and proceedings at the hearing shall be reported to                                    
24 the board and are a part of the record in the case. Evidence taken at the hearing is                                    
25 subject to rebuttal upon final hearing before the office of administrative hearings                                 
26       [BOARD].                                                                                                          
27    * Sec. 16. AS 23.30.007(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
28 (a)  There is established in the Department of Labor and Workforce                                                      
29 Development the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission. The commission has                                            
30 jurisdiction to hear appeals from final decisions and orders of the board and the office                            
31 of administrative hearings under this chapter. Jurisdiction of the commission is                                    
01       limited to administrative appeals arising under this chapter.                                                     
02    * Sec. 17. AS 23.30.008(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
03 (a)  The commission shall be the exclusive and final authority for the hearing                                          
04 and determination of all questions of law and fact arising under this chapter in those                                  
05 matters that have been appealed to the commission, except for an appeal to the Alaska                                   
06 Supreme Court. The commission does not have jurisdiction in any case that does not                                      
07 arise under this chapter or in any criminal case. On any matter taken to the                                            
08 commission, the decision of the commission is final and conclusive, unless appealed                                     
09 to the Alaska Supreme Court, and shall stand in lieu of the order of the office of                                  
10 administrative hearings [BOARD] from which the appeal was taken. Unless                                             
11 reversed by the Alaska Supreme Court, decisions of the commission have the force of                                     
12       legal precedent.                                                                                                  
13    * Sec. 18. AS 23.30.008(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
14 (b)  The commission, in its administrative capacity, shall maintain, index, and                                         
15 make available for public inspection the final administrative decisions and orders of                                   
16 the commission, [AND OF] the office of administrative hearings, and the board.                                  
17 The chair of the commission may review and circulate among the other members of                                         
18 the relevant commission appeal panel the drafts of the panel's formal decisions and                                     
19 decisions upon reconsideration. The drafts are confidential documents and are not                                       
20       subject to disclosure.                                                                                            
21    * Sec. 19. AS 23.30.010(a) is repealed and reenacted to read:                                                      
22 (a)  The employer shall pay compensation or furnish benefits required by this                                           
23 chapter if the employee suffers an accidental compensable injury or death arising out                                   
24 of work performed in the course and the scope of employment. The injury, its                                            
25 occupational cause, and any resulting manifestations or disability must be established                                  
26 to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, based on relevant objective medical                                        
27 evidence, and the accidental compensable injury must be the major contributing cause                                    
28 of any resulting condition, disability, or need for medical treatment. In cases involving                               
29 occupational disease or repetitive exposure, both causation and sufficient exposure to                                  
30 support causation must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. Under this                                           
31 chapter, pain or other subjective complaints are not compensable in the absence of                                      
01 objective relevant medical evidence that correlate to the subjective complaints of the                                  
02 injured employee and are confirmed by physical examination findings or diagnostic                                       
03 testing. The causal relationship between a compensable accident and injuries or                                         
04 conditions that are not readily observable must be established through medical                                          
05       evidence by physical examination findings or diagnostic testing.                                                  
06    * Sec. 20. AS 23.30.010 is amended by adding new subsections to read:                                              
07 (c)  This chapter does not require the payment of compensation or benefits for                                          
08 a subsequent injury the employee suffers as a result of an original injury arising out of                               
09 and in the course of employment unless the original injury is the major contributing                                    
10       cause of the subsequent injury.                                                                                   
11 (d)  If an injury arising out of and in the course of employment aggravates or                                          
12 combines with a preexisting disease or condition to cause or prolong a condition,                                       
13 disability, or the need for treatment, the employer shall pay compensation or benefits                                  
14 required under this chapter to the extent that the injury arising out of and in the course                              
15 of employment is and remains the major contributing cause of the disability or need                                     
16       for treatment.                                                                                                    
17 (e)  To be considered a major contributing cause under this chapter, the                                                
18 compensable injury must be more than 50 percent responsible for the injury as                                           
19 compared to all other causes combined for which treatment or benefits are sought and                                    
20       may be demonstrated only by objective medical evidence.                                                           
21    * Sec. 21. AS 23.30.015(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
22 (b)  Acceptance of compensation under an award in a compensation order filed                                            
23 by the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] operates as an assignment to the                                   
24 employer of all rights of the person entitled to compensation and the personal                                          
25 representative of a deceased employee to recover damages from the third person                                          
26 unless the person or representative entitled to compensation commences an action                                        
27       against the third person within one year after an award.                                                          
28    * Sec. 22. AS 23.30.015(e) is amended to read:                                                                     
29 (e)  An amount recovered by the employer under an assignment, whether by                                                
30       action or compromise, shall be distributed as follows:                                                            
31                 (1)  the employer shall retain an amount equal to                                                       
01                      (A)  the expenses incurred by the employer with respect to the                                     
02            action or compromise, including a reasonable attorney fee determined by the                                  
03            office of administrative hearings [BOARD];                                                               
04                      (B)  the cost of all benefits actually furnished by the employer                                   
05            under this chapter;                                                                                          
06                      (C)  all amounts paid as compensation and second-injury fund                                       
07            payments, and if the employer is self-insured or uninsured, all service fees paid                            
08            under AS 23.05.067;                                                                                          
09                      (D)  the present value of all amounts payable later as                                             
10 compensation, computed from a schedule prepared by the office of                                                    
11 administrative hearings [BOARD], and the present value of the cost of all                                           
12 benefits to be furnished later under AS 23.30.095 as estimated by the office of                                     
13 administrative hearings [BOARD]; the amounts so computed and estimated                                              
14 shall be retained by the employer as a trust fund to pay compensation and the                                           
15 cost of benefits as they become due and to pay any finally remaining excess                                             
16            sum to the person entitled to compensation or to the representative; and                                     
17 (2)  the employer shall pay any excess to the person entitled to                                                        
18       compensation or to the representative of that person.                                                             
19    * Sec. 23. AS 23.30.030(6) is amended to read:                                                                     
20 (6)  All claims for compensation, death benefits, physician's fees,                                                     
21 nurse's charges, hospital services, hospital supplies, medicines, prosthetic devices,                                   
22 transportation charges to the nearest point where adequate medical facilities are                                       
23 available, and burial expenses may be made directly against either the employer or the                                  
24 insurer, or both, and the order or award of the office of administrative hearings                                   
25       [BOARD] may be made against either the employer or the insurer or both.                                           
26    * Sec. 24. AS 23.30.040(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
27 (a)  There is created a second injury fund, administered by the commissioner.                                           
28 Money in the second injury fund may only be paid for the benefit of those persons                                       
29 entitled to payment of benefits from the second injury fund under this chapter.                                         
30 Payments from the second injury fund must be made by the commissioner in                                                
31 accordance with the orders and awards of the office of administrative hearings                                      
01       [BOARD].                                                                                                          
02    * Sec. 25. AS 23.30.040(d) is amended to read:                                                                     
03 (d)  The office of administrative hearings [BOARD] may refund a payment                                             
04 made into the second injury fund if the employer or insurance carrier shows that it                                     
05 made the payment by mistake or inadvertence, or if it shows there existed at the time                                   
06       of the death of the employee a beneficiary entitled to benefits under AS 23.30.215.                               
07    * Sec. 26. AS 23.30.041 is repealed and reenacted to read:                                                         
08            Sec. 23.30.041. Rehabilitation and reemployment of injured workers. (a)                                    
09       The director shall select and employ a reemployment benefits administrator. The                                   
10 director may authorize the administrator to select and employ additional staff. The                                     
11       administrator is in the partially exempt service under AS 39.25.120.                                              
12 (b)  The administrator shall enforce regulations adopted by the board to                                                
13       implement this section.                                                                                           
14 (c)  If the employee is medically stable, the injury causes a permanent partial                                         
15 impairment rating equal to or greater than five percent, and the employee's attending                                   
16 physician or employer independent physician has determined that the employee will                                       
17 be permanently incapable of returning to the employee's occupation at the time of                                       
18 injury upon review of a job description prepared in accordance with the most recent                                     
19 version of the United States Department of Labor's "Selected Characteristics of                                         
20 Occupations Defined in the Revised Dictionary of Occupational Titles." The employee                                     
21 shall be entitled to a reemployment voucher as provided in this section, unless the                                     
22 employer makes an offer of suitable alternative employment that meets the following                                     
23       criteria:                                                                                                         
24 (1)  the offer is made within 90 days after receiving the first report from                                             
25 the employee's attending physician or employer independent physician, on a form                                         
26 created by the board, that the employee is medically stable, has a permanent partial                                    
27 impairment rating equal to or greater than five percent, and will be permanently                                        
28 incapable of returning to the employee's occupation at the time of injury, as described                                 
29 in accordance with the most recent version of the United States Department of Labor's                                   
30 "Selected Characteristics of Occupations Defined in the Revised Dictionary of                                           
31       Occupational Titles";                                                                                             
01 (2)  if the employer or claims adjuster has provided the physician with a                                               
02 job description of the employer's proposed modified work, or proposed alternative                                       
03 work, the physician shall indicate whether the employee has the physical or mental                                      
04       requirements to perform the duties described in that job description; and                                         
05 (3)  the offer is for regular work, modified work, or alternative work                                                  
06 that will last at least 12 months and pay the employee at least 75 percent of wages                                     
07       earned at the time of injury.                                                                                     
08 (d)  If an offer of suitable work cannot be timely made, the employer or claims                                         
09 adjuster shall issue a voucher, on a form prescribed by the board, within 14 days after                                 
10 expiration of the 90-day deadline for making an offer of suitable alternative                                           
11       employment under (c) of this section.                                                                             
12 (e)  An employee may receive a reemployment voucher after the employee                                                  
13 attains medical stability, receives a permanent partial impairment rating equal to or                                   
14 greater than five percent from the employee's attending physician or employer's                                         
15 independent physician, and the employee's attending physician or employer's                                             
16 independent physician determines that the employee is permanently incapable of                                          
17 returning to the employee's occupation at the time of injury as determined under (c) of                                 
18       this section, based on the following amounts:                                                                     
19 (1)  $18,000 if the permanent partial impairment rating is five percent                                                 
20       or more but less than 15 percent;                                                                                 
21 (2)  $23,000 if the permanent partial impairment rating is 15 percent or                                                
22       more, but less than 30 percent; or                                                                                
23 (3)  $28,000 if the permanent partial impairment rating is 30 percent or                                                
24       more.                                                                                                             
25 (f)  A voucher issued under this section may be applied toward a retraining                                             
26 program chosen by the employee. The voucher may be used for payment of tuition,                                         
27 fees, books, tools, and other expenses required by the school, institution, or                                          
28 educational organization for retraining or skill enhancement. The board shall adopt                                     
29 regulations governing the form of payment, direct payment to the school, institution,                                   
30 or educational organization, reimbursement to the employee upon presentation to the                                     
31 employer of appropriate documentation and receipts, and other matters necessary to                                      
01       administer the reemployment benefit.                                                                              
02 (g)  Up to $1,000 of a voucher issued under this section may be paid as a                                               
03 miscellaneous expense, reimbursement, or advance payable to the employee upon                                           
04 request and without need for itemized documentation or accounting. An amount                                            
05 greater than $1,000 must be agreed upon by the parties. The employee will not be                                        
06 entitled to a voucher payment for transportation, travel expenses, telephone or Internet                                
07       access, clothing, uniforms, or other incidental expenses.                                                         
08 (h)  A voucher under this section expires two years after the date the voucher is                                       
09 furnished to the employee or five years after the date of injury. The employee will not                                 
10 be entitled to payment or reimbursement of any expenses that have not been incurred                                     
11 and submitted with appropriate documentation to the employer after the reemployment                                     
12 voucher expiration date. If the employee requests, in writing on a form prescribed by                                   
13 the board, assistance in helping the employee identify or develop a plan, the employer                                  
14 or claims adjuster shall, within 30 days, provide the employee with a vocational                                        
15 rehabilitation specialist of the employer's or claims adjuster's choice to provide                                      
16 vocational rehabilitation counseling to the employee. The vocational rehabilitation                                     
17 specialist may not be paid more than 15 percent of the voucher amount to provide                                        
18 counseling to the employee and must be paid by the employer in addition to the                                          
19 reemployment voucher amount under (e) of this section. The employee shall cooperate                                     
20 and stay in contact with the vocational rehabilitation specialist on a full-time basis, as                              
21 an extension of time of the deadline under (h) of this section is not allowed. The                                      
22 vocational rehabilitation specialist shall meet with the employee and perform the work                                  
23 necessary to assist the employee in returning to work or retraining counseling within                                   
24 30 days of assignment. It is not the duty of the vocational rehabilitation specialist to                                
25 prepare a formal vocational rehabilitation plan or to secure employment for the                                         
26       employee.                                                                                                         
27 (i)  The voucher amounts under (e) of this section may not be paid to the                                               
28 employee, except as provided under (f) of this section, and may not be calculated into                                  
29       any settlement figures as part of any compromise and release.                                                     
30 (j)  An employer may not be liable for compensation for injuries incurred by                                            
31       the employee while using a voucher issued under this section.                                                     
01 (k)  The employee may not be entitled to any further remuneration, wage                                                 
02 replacement, or other indemnity benefit while undergoing retraining, other than the                                     
03       lump-sum payment of permanent partial impairment under AS 23.30.190.                                              
04 (l)  The employer or claims adjuster may select a vocational rehabilitation                                             
05 specialist to prepare job descriptions under this section. Before using the job                                         
06 descriptions under (c) of this section, the vocational rehabilitation specialist shall                                  
07 submit the job descriptions chosen for the employee for the employee's agreement to                                     
08 the employee. If the employee does not agree with the job descriptions chosen for use                                   
09 under (c) of this section, the employee shall file a request for review on a form                                       
10 prescribed by the board to the administrator within seven days after receiving the job                                  
11 descriptions. The administrator shall review, and issue an order either approving or                                    
12 disapproving, the descriptions chosen for use under (c) of this section within 10 days                                  
13 and, in the order, state which job descriptions are appropriate according to the most                                   
14 recent version of the United States Department of Labor's "Selected Characteristics of                                  
15 Occupations Defined in the Revised Dictionary of Occupational Titles." If the                                           
16 employee or the administrator fails to meet the deadlines under this subsection, the job                                
17 descriptions chosen by the vocational rehabilitation specialist will be considered                                      
18 appropriate. If a dispute arises regarding the job descriptions under (c) of this section,                              
19 the 90-day deadline under (c) of this section shall be tolled until the deadlines under                                 
20       this subsection have been exhausted.                                                                              
21 (m)  An employee may not receive permanent total disability benefits under                                              
22       AS 23.30.180 if the employee                                                                                      
23 (1)  rejects or fails to accept, in the form and manner prescribed by the                                               
24       board, suitable alternative employment under (c) of this section; or                                              
25 (2)  qualifies for a voucher under this section and fails to use the                                                    
26       voucher.                                                                                                          
27            (n)  In this section,                                                                                        
28 (1)  "administrator" means the reemployment benefits administrator                                                      
29       under (a) of this section;                                                                                        
30 (2)  "rehabilitation specialist" means a person who is a certified                                                      
31 vocational rehabilitation specialist, a certified rehabilitation counselor, or a person                                 
01 who has equivalent or better qualifications as determined under regulations adopted by                                  
02       the department.                                                                                                   
03    * Sec. 27. AS 23.30.070(f) is amended to read:                                                                     
04 (f)  An employer who fails or refuses to send a report required of the employer                                         
05 by this section or who fails or refuses to send the report required by (a) of this section                              
06 within the time required shall, if so required by the office of administrative hearings                             
07 [BOARD], pay the employee or the legal representative of the employee or other                                          
08 person entitled to compensation by reason of the employee's injury or death an                                          
09 additional award equal to 20 percent of the amounts that were unpaid when due. The                                      
10       award shall be against either the employer or the insurance carrier, or both.                                     
11    * Sec. 28. AS 23.30.095(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
12 (a)  The employer shall furnish medical, surgical, and other attendance or                                              
13 treatment, nurse and hospital service, medicine, crutches, and apparatus for the injury                             
14 in accordance with evidence-based treatment guidelines based on the most recent                                     
15 version of the Official Disability Guidelines published by the Work Loss Data                                       
16 Institute. If medical treatment is recommended after two years from the date of                                     
17 injury to the employee, the employee may not be afforded the presumption of                                         
18 compensability under AS 23.30.120(a), but [PERIOD WHICH THE NATURE OF                                               
19 THE INJURY OR THE PROCESS OF RECOVERY REQUIRES, NOT                                                                     
20 EXCEEDING TWO YEARS FROM AND AFTER THE DATE OF INJURY TO                                                                
21 THE EMPLOYEE. HOWEVER, IF THE CONDITION REQUIRING THE                                                                   
22 TREATMENT, APPARATUS, OR MEDICINE IS A LATENT ONE, THE TWO-                                                             
23 YEAR PERIOD RUNS FROM THE TIME THE EMPLOYEE HAS KNOWLEDGE                                                               
24 OF THE NATURE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S DISABILITY AND ITS                                                                      
25 RELATIONSHIP TO THE EMPLOYMENT AND AFTER DISABLEMENT. IT                                                                
26 SHALL BE ADDITIONALLY PROVIDED THAT, IF CONTINUED TREATMENT                                                             
27 OR CARE OR BOTH BEYOND THE TWO-YEAR PERIOD IS INDICATED,] the                                                           
28 injured employee has the right of review by the office of administrative hearings                                   
29 [BOARD]. The office of administrative hearings [BOARD] may authorize                                                
30 continued treatment or care or both as the process of recovery may require, for up to                               
31 an additional two years upon clear and convincing evidence, that the continued                                      
01 treatment or care is necessary. When medical care is required, the injured employee                                 
02 may designate a licensed physician to provide all medical and related benefits. Any                                 
03 time after acceptance of liability by an employer or insurer, the employer or                                       
04 insurer may designate a different attending physician. Designation by the                                           
05 employer or insurer of an attending physician does not constitute the employer's                                    
06 or insurer's right to an employer independent medical examination under (e) of                                      
07 this section. The employee may not make more than one change in the employee's                                      
08 choice of attending physician without the written consent of the employer. Referral to                                  
09 a specialist by the employee's attending physician is not considered a change in                                        
10 physicians, but a referral to a specialist by the employee's attending physician                                    
11 within the same specialty is considered a change in physician. Upon procuring the                                   
12 services of a physician, the injured employee shall give proper notification of the                                     
13 selection to the employer within a reasonable time after first being treated. Notice of a                               
14 change in the attending physician shall be given before the change. After expiration                                
15 of an additional two years for continued treatment or care under this subsection,                                   
16       no further medical treatment may be authorized except for                                                     
17                 (1)  prosthetic devices, braces, and supports;                                                      
18                 (2)  non-narcotic prescription medications;                                                         
19 (3)  narcotic prescription medications necessary to allow the                                                       
20       employee to continue to work or participate in vocational rehabilitation;                                     
21 (4)  services necessary to monitor the status, replacement, or repair                                               
22 of prosthetic devices, braces, and supports or to prescribe prescription                                            
23       medications under (2) or (3) of this subsection; and                                                          
24 (5)  life-preserving modalities similar to insulin therapy, dialysis,                                               
25       and transfusions, if related to the claimed injury or exposure.                                               
26    * Sec. 29. AS 23.30.095(c) is amended to read:                                                                     
27 (c)  A claim for medical or surgical treatment, or treatment requiring                                                  
28 continuing and multiple treatments of a similar nature, is not valid and enforceable                                    
29 against the employer unless, within 14 days following treatment, the physician or                                       
30 health care provider giving the treatment or the employee receiving it furnishes to the                                 
31 employer and the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] notice of the injury                                     
01 and treatment, preferably on a form prescribed by the board. The office of                                          
02 administrative hearings [BOARD] shall, however, excuse the failure to furnish                                       
03 notice within 14 days when it finds it to be in the interest of justice to do so, and it                                
04 may, upon application by a party in interest, make an award for the reasonable value                                    
05 of the medical or surgical treatment so obtained by the employee. When a claim is                                       
06 made for a course of treatment requiring continuing and multiple treatments of a                                        
07 similar nature, in addition to the notice, the physician or health care provider shall                                  
08 furnish a written treatment plan if the course of treatment will require more frequent                                  
09 outpatient visits than the standard treatment frequency for the nature and degree of the                                
10 injury and the type of treatments. The treatment plan shall be furnished to the                                         
11 employee and the employer within 14 days after treatment begins. The treatment plan                                     
12 must include objectives, modalities, frequency of treatments, and reasons for the                                       
13 frequency of treatments. If the treatment plan is not furnished as required under this                                  
14 subsection, neither the employer nor the employee may be required to pay for                                            
15 treatments [THAT EXCEED THE FREQUENCY STANDARD. THE BOARD                                                               
16 SHALL ADOPT REGULATIONS ESTABLISHING STANDARDS FOR                                                                      
17       FREQUENCY OF TREATMENT].                                                                                          
18    * Sec. 30. AS 23.30.095(d) is amended to read:                                                                     
19 (d)  If, at any time during the period the employee unreasonably refuses to                                         
20 submit to medical or surgical treatment or appropriate diagnostic tests, the office of                          
21 administrative hearings [BOARD] may by order suspend the payment of further                                         
22 compensation while the refusal continues, and no compensation may be paid at any                                        
23       time during the period of suspension, unless the circumstances justified the refusal.                             
24    * Sec. 31. AS 23.30.095(e) is amended to read:                                                                     
25 (e)  The employee shall, after an injury, at reasonable times during the                                                
26 continuance of the disability, if requested by the employer or when ordered by the                                      
27 office of administrative hearings [BOARD], submit to an examination by a                                            
28 physician, [OR] surgeon, or mental health provider of the employer's choice                                     
29 authorized to practice medicine under the laws of the jurisdiction in which the                                         
30 examination occurs, furnished and paid for by the employer. The employer may not                                        
31 make more than one change in the employer's choice of a physician or surgeon                                            
01 without the written consent of the employee. Referral to a specialist by the employer's                                 
02 physician is not considered a change in physicians. An examination requested by the                                     
03 employer not less than 14 days after injury, and every 60 days thereafter, shall be                                     
04 presumed to be reasonable, and the employee shall submit to the examination without                                     
05 further request or order by the office of administrative hearings [BOARD]. Unless                                   
06 medically appropriate, the physician shall use existing diagnostic data to complete the                                 
07 examination. Facts relative to the injury or claim communicated to or otherwise                                         
08 learned by a physician or surgeon who may have attended or examined the employee,                                       
09 or who may have been present at an examination are not privileged, either in the                                        
10 hearings provided for in this chapter or an action to recover damages against an                                        
11 employer who is subject to the compensation provisions of this chapter. If an                                           
12 employee refuses to submit to an examination provided for in this section, the                                          
13 employee's rights to compensation shall be suspended until the obstruction or refusal                                   
14 ceases, and the employee's compensation during the period of suspension may, in the                                     
15 discretion of the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] or the court                                            
16 determining an action brought for the recovery of damages under this chapter, be                                        
17 forfeited. The office of administrative hearings [BOARD] in any case of death may                                   
18 require an autopsy at the expense of the party requesting the autopsy. An autopsy may                                   
19 not be held without notice first being given to the widow or widower or next of kin if                                  
20 they reside in the state or their whereabouts can be reasonably ascertained, of the time                                
21 and place of the autopsy and reasonable time and opportunity given the widow or                                         
22 widower or next of kin to have a representative present to witness the autopsy. If                                      
23 adequate notice is not given, the findings from the autopsy may be suppressed on                                        
24 motion made to the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] or to the superior                                     
25       court, as the case may be.                                                                                        
26    * Sec. 32. AS 23.30.095(h) is amended to read:                                                                     
27 (h)  Upon the filing with the office of administrative hearings [DIVISION]                                          
28 by a party in interest of a claim or other pleading, all parties to the proceeding shall                            
29 file with the office of administrative hearings, [MUST IMMEDIATELY, OR IN                                           
30 ANY EVENT] within 30 [FIVE] days after service of the pleading, [SEND TO THE                                        
31 DIVISION] the original signed reports of all physicians relating to the proceedings                                     
01 that they may have in their possession or under their control, and copies of the reports                                
02 shall be served by the party immediately on any adverse party. There is a continuing                                    
03 duty on all parties to file and serve all the reports during the pendency of the                                        
04       proceeding.                                                                                                       
05    * Sec. 33. AS 23.30.095(j) is amended to read:                                                                     
06 (j)  The commissioner shall appoint a medical services review committee to                                              
07 assist and advise the department and the office of administrative hearings [BOARD]                                  
08 in matters involving the appropriateness, necessity, and cost of medical and related                                    
09 services provided under this chapter. The medical services review committee shall                                       
10       consist of nine members to be appointed by the commissioner as follows:                                           
11 (1)  one member who is a member of the Alaska State Medical                                                             
12       Association;                                                                                                      
13                 (2)  one member who is a member of the Alaska Chiropractic Society;                                     
14 (3)  one member who is a member of the Alaska State Hospital and                                                        
15       Nursing Home Association;                                                                                         
16 (4)  one member who is a health care provider, as defined in                                                            
17       AS 09.55.560;                                                                                                     
18 (5)  four public members who are not within the definition of "health                                                   
19       care provider" in AS 09.55.560; and                                                                               
20 (6)  one member who is the designee of the commissioner and who                                                         
21       shall serve as chair.                                                                                             
22    * Sec. 34. AS 23.30.095(o) is amended to read:                                                                     
23 (o)  Notwithstanding (a) of this section, an employer is not liable for palliative                                      
24 care after the date of medical stability unless the palliative care is consistent with the                          
25 evidence-based treatment guidelines established in (a) of this section                                              
26 [REASONABLE] and necessary [(1)] to enable the employee to continue in the                                              
27 employee's employment at the time of treatment [, (2) TO ENABLE THE                                                     
28 EMPLOYEE TO CONTINUE TO PARTICIPATE IN AN APPROVED                                                                      
29 REEMPLOYMENT PLAN, OR (3) TO RELIEVE CHRONIC DEBILITATING                                                               
30 PAIN]. A claim for palliative care is not valid and enforceable unless it is                                            
31 accompanied by a certification of the attending physician that the palliative care meets                                
01 the requirements of this subsection. A claim for palliative care is subject to the                                      
02 requirements of (c) - (n) of this section. [IF A CLAIM FOR PALLIATIVE CARE IS                                           
03 CONTROVERTED BY THE EMPLOYER, THE BOARD MAY REQUIRE AN                                                                  
04 EVALUATION UNDER (k) OF THIS SECTION REGARDING THE DISPUTED                                                             
05 PALLIATIVE CARE.] A claim for palliative care may be heard by the office of                                         
06       administrative hearings [BOARD] under AS 23.30.110.                                                           
07    * Sec. 35. AS 23.30.095 is amended by adding new subsections to read:                                              
08 (p)  An entity that provides durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics,                                         
09 or supplies to an employee must be accredited by an accreditation organization                                          
10 approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. If a medical                                        
11 provider provides durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, or supplies                                        
12 ancillary to the employee's visit, reimbursement or payment by the employer or                                          
13 insurer may not exceed 10 percent of the cost of the durable medical equipment,                                         
14       prosthetics, orthotics, or supplies.                                                                              
15 (q)  If prescription drugs are dispensed by a medical provider as part of the                                           
16 medical treatment provided to an employee, the employer or insurer may only be                                          
17       required to pay the lesser of the                                                                                 
18 (1)  reimbursement amount specified under the schedule of fees                                                          
19       adopted by the director;                                                                                          
20 (2)  reimbursement amount for prescription drugs obtained by mail                                                       
21       order; or                                                                                                         
22                 (3)  cost of the prescription if obtained at a pharmacy.                                                
23    * Sec. 36. AS 23.30 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                    
24 Sec. 23.30.096. Controlled substances. (a) Within two business days after                                             
25 prescribing or dispensing a supply of 30 or more days of a controlled substance                                         
26 described in AS 17.30.200(a) to an employee for a compensable injury, a physician                                       
27 shall submit a report to the Board of Pharmacy under AS 17.30.200 and request the                                       
28 employee's prescription information that is compiled and maintained under                                               
29 AS 17.30.200. Notwithstanding AS 17.30.200(d), the physician shall report the results                                   
30 to the employer and office of administrative hearings as soon as practicable, but not                                   
31 later than 30 days after the date of the inquiry. Thereafter, the employer or office of                                 
01       administrative hearings may, not more than once every two months, request that the                                
02       physician make additional inquiries to the Board of Pharmacy under AS 17.30.200.                                  
03            (b)  A physician shall include in a report required under (a) of this section                                
04                 (1)  the employee's prescription information, including the                                             
05                      (A)  off-label use of a narcotic, opium-based controlled                                           
06            substance, or other controlled substance described in AS 17.30.200(a)                                        
07            prescribed to the employee;                                                                                  
08                      (B)  use of a narcotic or opium-based controlled substance or                                      
09            the prescription of a combination of narcotics or opium-based controlled                                     
10 substances at or exceeding a 120 milligram morphine equivalent dose a day;                                              
11            and                                                                                                          
12 (C)  prescription of a long-acting or controlled-release opioid                                                         
13            for acute pain;                                                                                              
14 (2)  the justification for the use of the controlled substance and a                                                    
15 treatment plan that includes a description of measures that the physician will                                          
16 implement to monitor and prevent the development of abuse, dependence, addiction,                                       
17       or diversion by the employee; and                                                                                 
18 (3)  a medication agreement, a plan for subsequent follow-up visits,                                                    
19 random drug testing, and documentation that the medication regime is providing relief                                   
20       that is demonstrated by clinically meaningful improvement in function.                                            
21 (c)  If a drug test under (b)(3) of this section reveals inconsistent results, the                                      
22 physician shall, within five business days after receiving the inconsistent results,                                    
23 provide a written report to the employer and office of administrative hearings setting                                  
24       out a treatment plan to address the inconsistent drug test results.                                               
25 (d)  If the result of an inquiry to the Board of Pharmacy under (a) of this                                             
26 section reveals that the employee is receiving a controlled substance described in                                      
27 AS 17.30.200(a) from another undisclosed health care provider, the physician shall,                                     
28 within five business days after receiving the results, on a form prescribed by the board,                               
29       report the results to the employer.                                                                               
30 (e)  If an employee resides outside the state and receives treatment from an                                            
31 out-of-state physician for a compensable injury, the employer is not liable for                                         
01 providing prescription medications that require reporting under this section if the out-                                
02 of-state physician fails to comply with this section. If the other state has a controlled                               
03 substances monitoring program, the out-of-state physician shall submit an inquiry to                                    
04 the out-of-state database and report to the employer and office of administrative                                       
05       hearings as prescribed under this section.                                                                        
06            (f)  This section does not apply to prescription medications administered to the                             
07       employee while the employee is receiving inpatient hospital treatment.                                            
08            (g)  The employer or office of administrative hearings may require a physician                               
09       to comply with this section, notwithstanding the existence of a prior award addressing                            
10 medical maintenance benefits for prescription medications. An insurer or employer is                                    
11 not liable for bad faith or unfair claims processing under AS 21.36 for an act taken in                                 
12       compliance with or consistent with this section.                                                                  
13            (h)  If a physician fails to comply with this section,                                                       
14 (1)  the employer is not liable for payment of the physician's services                                                 
15       until the physician complies with this section; and                                                               
16 (2)  the employer may request a change of physician after making a                                                      
17 written request to the physician to comply with this section and identifying the area of                                
18 noncompliance; if a change of physician is ordered and the order becomes final, the                                     
19 employee shall select a physician whose practice includes pain management and who                                       
20       agrees to comply with this section.                                                                               
21            (i)  In this section,                                                                                        
22                 (1)  "clinically meaningful improvement in function" means                                              
23                      (A)  a clinically documented improvement in range of motion;                                       
24 (B)  an objective increase in the performance of activities of                                                          
25            daily living; or                                                                                             
26                      (C)  a return to gainful employment.                                                               
27                 (2)  "inconsistent results" means                                                                       
28 (A)  the employee's reported medications or the parent drugs or                                                         
29            metabolites are not detected; or                                                                             
30 (B)  controlled substances are detected that are not reported by                                                        
31            the employee;                                                                                                
01 (3)  "off-label use" means use of a prescription medication by a                                                        
02 physician to treat a condition other than the use for which the drug was approved by                                    
03       the United States Food and Drug Administration.                                                                   
04    * Sec. 37. AS 23.30.097(d) is amended to read:                                                                     
05 (d)  Payment for medical treatment under this chapter, excluding                                                    
06 prescription charges or transportation for medical treatment, is not due                                            
07 immediately or on demand. An employer shall pay an employee's bills for medical                                     
08 treatment under this chapter, excluding prescription charges or transportation for                                      
09 medical treatment, within 30 days after the date that the employer receives the                                         
10 provider's bill and [OR] a completed report as required by AS 23.30.095(c),                                         
11 regardless of whether the employer has earlier notice that medical treatment has                                    
12       been prescribed for the employee [WHICHEVER IS LATER].                                                        
13    * Sec. 38. AS 23.30.097(g) is amended to read:                                                                     
14 (g)  Unless the employer controverts a charge, the employer shall reimburse an                                          
15 employee's prescription charges under this chapter within 30 days after the employer                                    
16 receives the employee's request for reimbursement, the health care provider's                                       
17 completed report and an itemization of the prescription charges for the employee.                                       
18 Unless the employer controverts a charge, an employer shall reimburse any                                               
19 transportation expenses for medical treatment under this chapter within 30 days after                                   
20 the employer receives the health care provider's completed report and an itemization                                    
21 of the dates, destination, and transportation expenses for each date of travel for                                      
22 medical treatment. If the employer does not plan to make or does not make payment or                                    
23 reimbursement in full as required by this subsection, the employer shall notify the                                     
24 employee and the employee's health care provider in writing that payment will not be                                    
25 made timely and the reason for the nonpayment. The notification must be provided not                                    
26       later than the date that the payment is due under this subsection.                                                
27    * Sec. 39. AS 23.30.100(d) is amended to read:                                                                     
28            (d)  Failure to give notice does not bar a claim under this chapter                                          
29 (1)  if the employer, an agent of the employer in charge of the business                                                
30 in the place where the injury occurred, or the carrier had knowledge of the injury or                                   
31 death and the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] determines that the                                         
01       employer or carrier has not been prejudiced by failure to give notice;                                            
02                 (2)  if the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] excuses the                                   
03       failure on the ground that for some satisfactory reason notice could not be given;                                
04                 (3)  unless objection to the failure is raised before the office of                                 
05       administrative hearings [BOARD] at the first hearing of a claim for compensation in                           
06       respect to the injury or death.                                                                                   
07    * Sec. 40. AS 23.30.105(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
08            (a)  The right to compensation for benefits [DISABILITY] under this chapter                              
09       is barred unless a claim for it is filed within two years after the employee has                                  
10 knowledge of the nature of the employee's disability or need for medical treatment                                  
11 and its relation to the employment [AND AFTER DISABLEMENT]. However, the                                                
12 maximum time for filing the claim in any event other than arising out of an                                             
13 occupational disease shall be four years from the date of injury, and the right to                                      
14 compensation for death is barred unless a claim therefor is filed within one year after                                 
15 the death, except that, if payment of compensation has been made without an award on                                    
16 account of the injury or death, a claim may be filed within two years after the date of                                 
17 the last payment of benefits under AS 23.30.041, 23.30.180, 23.30.185, 23.30.190,                                       
18 23.30.200, or 23.30.215. In [IT IS ADDITIONALLY PROVIDED THAT, IN] the                                              
19 case of latent defects pertinent to and causing compensable disability, the injured                                     
20 employee has full right to claim as shall be determined by the office of administrative                             
21       hearings [BOARD], time limitations notwithstanding.                                                           
22    * Sec. 41. AS 23.30.107(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
23 (b)  Medical or rehabilitation records, and the employee's name, address, social                                        
24 security number, electronic mail address, and telephone number contained on any                                         
25 record, in an employee's file maintained by the division or held by the board, the                                  
26 office of administrative hearings, or the commission are not public records subject to                              
27 public inspection and copying under AS 40.25.100 - 40.25.295. This subsection does                                      
28       not prohibit                                                                                                      
29 (1)  the reemployment benefits administrator, the division, the board,                                                  
30 the office of administrative hearings, the commission, or the department from                                       
31 releasing medical or rehabilitation records in an employee's file, without the                                          
01       employee's consent, to a [PHYSICIAN PROVIDING MEDICAL SERVICES                                                    
02       UNDER AS 23.30.095(k) OR 23.30.110(g), A] party to a claim filed by the employee,                                 
03       or a governmental agency; or                                                                                      
04                 (2)  the quoting or discussing of medical or rehabilitation records                                     
05       contained in an employee's file during a hearing on a claim for compensation [OR IN                               
06       A DECISION OR ORDER OF THE BOARD OR COMMISSION].                                                                  
07    * Sec. 42. AS 23.30.108 is amended to read:                                                                        
08            Sec. 23.30.108. Prehearings on discovery matters; objections to requests                                   
09       for release of information; sanctions for noncompliance. (a) If an employee objects                             
10 to a request for written authority under AS 23.30.107, the employee must file a                                         
11 petition with the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] seeking a protective                                    
12 order within 14 days after service of the request. If the employee fails to file a petition                             
13 and fails to deliver the written authority as required by AS 23.30.107 within 14 days                                   
14 after service of the request, the employee's rights to benefits under this chapter are                                  
15       suspended until the written authority is delivered.                                                               
16 (b)  If a petition seeking a protective order is filed, the board shall notify the                                  
17 office of administrative hearings, and the office of administrative hearings shall                                  
18 set a prehearing within 21 days after the filing date of the petition. At a prehearing                                  
19 conducted by the office of administrative hearings, the office of administrative                                    
20 hearings [THE BOARD'S DESIGNEE, THE BOARD'S DESIGNEE] has the                                                       
21 authority to resolve disputes concerning the written authority. If the office of                                    
22 administrative hearings [BOARD OR THE BOARD'S DESIGNEE] orders delivery                                             
23 of the written authority and if the employee refuses to deliver it within 10 days after                                 
24 being ordered to do so, the employee's rights to benefits under this chapter are                                        
25 suspended until the written authority is delivered. During any period of suspension                                     
26 under this subsection, the employee's benefits under this chapter are forfeited unless                                  
27 the board, or the court determining an action brought for the recovery of damages                                       
28 under this chapter, determines that good cause existed for the refusal to provide the                                   
29       written authority.                                                                                                
30 (c)  At a prehearing on discovery matters conducted by the office of                                                
31 administrative hearings, the office of administrative hearings [BOARD'S                                             
01 DESIGNEE, THE BOARD'S DESIGNEE] shall direct parties to sign releases or                                                
02 produce documents, or both, if the parties present releases or documents that are likely                                
03 to lead to admissible evidence relative to an employee's injury. If a party refuses to                                  
04 comply with an order by the office of administrative hearings [BOARD'S                                              
05 DESIGNEE OR THE BOARD] concerning discovery matters, the office of                                                  
06 administrative hearings [BOARD] may impose appropriate sanctions in addition to                                     
07 any forfeiture of benefits, including dismissing the party's claim, petition, or defense.                               
08 [IF A DISCOVERY DISPUTE COMES BEFORE THE BOARD FOR REVIEW OF                                                            
09 A DETERMINATION BY THE BOARD'S DESIGNEE, THE BOARD MAY NOT                                                              
10 CONSIDER ANY EVIDENCE OR ARGUMENT THAT WAS NOT PRESENTED                                                                
11 TO THE BOARD'S DESIGNEE, BUT SHALL DETERMINE THE ISSUE SOLELY                                                           
12 ON THE BASIS OF THE WRITTEN RECORD.] The decision by the office of                                                  
13 administrative hearings [BOARD] on a discovery dispute shall be made within 30                                      
14 days. [THE BOARD SHALL UPHOLD THE DESIGNEE'S DECISION EXCEPT                                                            
15 WHEN THE BOARD'S DESIGNEE'S DETERMINATION IS AN ABUSE OF                                                                
16       DISCRETION.]                                                                                                      
17 (d)  If the employee files a petition seeking a protective order to recover                                             
18 medical and rehabilitation information that has been provided but is not related to the                                 
19 employee's injury, and the office of administrative hearings [BOARD OR THE                                          
20 BOARD'S DESIGNEE] grants the protective order, the office of administrative                                         
21 hearings [BOARD OR THE BOARD'S DESIGNEE GRANTING THE                                                                
22 PROTECTIVE ORDER] shall direct [THE DIVISION, THE BOARD, THE                                                            
23 COMMISSION, AND] the parties to return to the employee, as soon as practicable                                          
24 following the issuance of the protective order, all medical and rehabilitation                                          
25 information, including copies, in their possession that is unrelated to the employee's                                  
26       injury under the protective order.                                                                                
27 (e)  If the office of administrative hearings [BOARD OR THE BOARD'S                                                 
28 DESIGNEE] limits the medical or rehabilitation information that may be used by the                                      
29 parties to a claim, either by an order on the record or by issuing a written order, the                                 
30 division, [THE BOARD,] the commission, and a party to the claim may request and an                                      
31 employee shall provide or authorize the production of medical or rehabilitation                                         
01 information only to the extent of the limitations of the order. If information has been                                 
02 produced that is outside of the limits designated in the order, the office of                                       
03 administrative hearings [BOARD OR THE BOARD'S DESIGNEE] shall direct the                                            
04 party in possession of the information to return the information to the employee as                                     
05       soon as practicable following the issuance of the order.                                                          
06    * Sec. 43. AS 23.30.110(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
07 (a)  Subject to the provisions of AS 23.30.105, a claim for benefits or a                                           
08 petition for other relief shall [COMPENSATION MAY] be filed with the office of                                  
09 administrative hearings [BOARD] in accordance with [ITS] regulations adopted by                                 
10 the board at any time after the first seven days of disability following an injury, or at                           
11 any time after death. The parties shall make requests with the office of                                            
12 administrative hearings on all matters, except those under AS 23.30.012 and                                         
13 23.30.247 [, AND THE BOARD MAY HEAR AND DETERMINE ALL                                                               
14       QUESTIONS IN RESPECT TO THE CLAIM].                                                                               
15    * Sec. 44. AS 23.30.110(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
16 (b)  Within 10 days after a claim is filed, the office of administrative hearings                               
17 [BOARD], in accordance with its regulations, shall notify the employer and any other                                    
18 person, other than the claimant, whom the office of administrative hearings                                         
19 [BOARD] considers an interested party that a claim has been filed. The notice may be                                    
20 served personally upon the employer or other person, or sent by registered or                                       
21       electronic mail.                                                                                              
22    * Sec. 45. AS 23.30.110(c) is amended to read:                                                                     
23 (c)  Before a hearing is scheduled, the party seeking a hearing shall file a                                            
24 request for a hearing together with an affidavit stating that the party has completed                                   
25 necessary discovery, obtained necessary evidence, and is prepared for the hearing. An                                   
26 opposing party shall have 10 days after the hearing request is filed to file a response. If                             
27 a party opposes the hearing request, the office of administrative hearings [BOARD                                   
28 OR A BOARD DESIGNEE] shall, within 30 days of the filing of the opposition,                                     
29 conduct a prehearing [PRE-HEARING] conference and set a hearing date consistent                                 
30 with affording both parties an opportunity to conduct discovery and adequate                                        
31 time to prepare for the hearing and to schedule witnesses. If opposition is not filed,                              
01 a hearing shall be scheduled not [NO] later than 60 days after the receipt of the                                   
02 hearing request. The office of administrative hearings [BOARD] shall give each                                      
03 party at least 10 days' notice of the hearing, either personally or by certified mail.                                  
04 After a hearing has been scheduled, the parties may not stipulate to change the hearing                                 
05 date or to cancel, postpone, or continue the hearing, except for good cause as                                          
06 determined by the office of administrative hearings [BOARD]. After completion of                                    
07 the hearing, the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] shall close the hearing                              
08 record. If a settlement agreement is reached by the parties less than 14 days before the                                
09 hearing, the parties shall appear at the time of the scheduled hearing before the office                            
10 of administrative hearings to state the terms of the settlement agreement. Within 30                                
11 days after the hearing record closes, the office of administrative hearings [BOARD]                                 
12 shall file its decision. If the employer controverts a claim on a board-prescribed                                      
13 controversion notice and the employee does not request a hearing within two years                                       
14       following the filing of the controversion notice, the claim is denied.                                            
15    * Sec. 46. AS 23.30.110(d) is amended to read:                                                                     
16 (d)  At the hearing the claimant and the employer may each present evidence in                                          
17 respect to the claim or petition and may be represented by any person authorized by                             
18       regulation of the board [IN WRITING] for that purpose.                                                        
19    * Sec. 47. AS 23.30.110(e) is amended to read:                                                                     
20 (e)  The order rejecting the claim or making the award, referred to in this                                             
21 chapter as a compensation order, shall be filed in the office of the board, or office of                            
22 administrative hearings consistent with this chapter, and a copy of it shall be sent                                
23 [BY REGISTERED MAIL] to the claimant and [TO THE] employer electronically or                                        
24       by registered mail to [AT] the last known address of each.                                                    
25    * Sec. 48. AS 23.30.110(h) is amended to read:                                                                     
26 (h)  The filing of a hearing request under (c) of this section suspends the                                             
27 running of the two-year time period specified in (c) of this section. However, if the                                   
28 employee subsequently requests a continuance of the hearing and the request is                                          
29 approved by the office of administrative hearings [BOARD], the granting of the                                      
30 continuance renders the request for hearing inoperative, and the two-year time period                                   
31 specified in (c) of this section continues to run again from the date of the [BOARD'S]                                  
01 notice by the office of administrative hearings to the employee of the [BOARD'S]                                    
02 granting by the office of administrative hearings of the continuance and of its effect.                             
03 If the employee fails to again request a hearing before the conclusion of the two-year                                  
04       time period in (c) of this section, the claim is denied.                                                          
05    * Sec. 49. AS 23.30.115 is amended to read:                                                                        
06 Sec. 23.30.115. Attendance and fees of witnesses. (a) A person is not                                                 
07 required to attend as a witness in a proceeding before the office of administrative                                 
08 hearings or the board at a place more than 100 miles from the person's place of                                     
09 residence, unless the person's lawful mileage and fee for one day's attendance is first                                 
10 paid or tendered to the person; but the testimony of a witness may be taken by                                          
11       deposition or interrogatories according to the Rules of Civil Procedure.                                        
12 (b)  A witness summoned in a proceeding before the office of administrative                                         
13 hearings or the board or whose deposition is taken shall receive the same fees and                                  
14       mileage as a witness in the superior court.                                                                       
15    * Sec. 50. AS 23.30.120(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
16 (a)  In a proceeding for the enforcement of a claim for compensation under this                                         
17 chapter, once the employee has established a preliminary link between                                               
18 employment or employment injury and the resulting condition, disability, or need                                    
19 for medical treatment through objective relevant medical evidence, it is presumed                                   
20 [, IN THE ABSENCE OF SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY,] that                                                        
21                 (1)  the claim comes within the provisions of this chapter;                                             
22                 (2)  sufficient notice of the claim has been given;                                                     
23 (3)  the injury was not proximately caused by the intoxication of the                                                   
24 injured employee or proximately caused by the employee being under the influence of                                     
25       drugs unless the drugs were taken as prescribed by the employee's physician;                                      
26 (4)  the injury was not occasioned by the wilful intention of the injured                                               
27       employee to injure or kill self or another.                                                                       
28    * Sec. 51. AS 23.30.120(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
29 (b)  If delay in giving notice is excused by the office of administrative                                           
30 hearings [BOARD] under AS 23.30.100(d)(2), the burden of proof of the validity of                                   
31       the claim shifts to the employee notwithstanding the provisions of (a) of this section.                           
01    * Sec. 52. AS 23.30.120 is amended by adding new subsections to read:                                              
02 (d)  An employee may not establish a preliminary link under (a) of this section                                         
03 solely by disproving other possible causes or explanations for how the injury, disease,                                 
04       resulting condition, disability, or need for medical treatment occurred.                                          
05 (e)  After the employee establishes a preliminary link, the presumption of                                              
06 compensability under (a) of this section may be rebutted by presentation of objective                                   
07 relevant medical evidence that it is more likely than not that the compensable injury is                                
08 not, or is no longer, the major contributing cause of the condition, disability, or need                                
09 for medical treatment, even if there is no clear alternative explanation or known cause                                 
10       of the compensable injury.                                                                                        
11 (f)  Once the presumption has been rebutted under (e) of this section, the                                              
12 employee must prove the claim by clear and convincing objective relevant medical                                        
13       evidence.                                                                                                         
14    * Sec. 53. AS 23.30.122 is amended to read:                                                                        
15 Sec. 23.30.122. Credibility of witnesses. Only the office of administrative                                         
16 hearings and the [THE] board have the [HAS THE SOLE] power to determine the                                     
17 credibility of a witness. A finding by the office of administrative hearings or the                                 
18 board concerning the weight to be accorded a witness's testimony, including medical                                     
19 testimony and reports, is conclusive even if the evidence is conflicting or susceptible                                 
20 to contrary conclusions. The findings of the office of administrative hearings and                                  
21 the board are subject to the same standard of review as a jury's finding in a civil                                     
22       action.                                                                                                           
23    * Sec. 54. AS 23.30.122 is amended by adding new subsections to read:                                              
24 (b)  The office of administrative hearings may not afford a physician's opinion                                         
25 more weight merely because the physician is the employee's treating physician. The                                      
26 office of administrative hearings may not give less weight to an employer's medical                                     
27 evaluator merely because that physician has not seen the employee as frequently as the                                  
28 treating physician. The probative value of an employer's medical evaluator opinion on                                   
29 causation, the extent of disability, impairment, ability to work, or need for medical                                   
30 treatment is evidence to be considered on a footing equal to all other proof in the case.                               
31 The office of administrative hearings shall consider the following factors in affording                                 
01       weight to a medical expert's opinion:                                                                             
02                 (1)  whether the medical expert's opinion is based on objective medical                                 
03       evidence that meets the criteria of Rule 702, Federal Rules of Evidence, and all United                           
04       States Supreme Court case law applicable to that rule;                                                            
05                 (2)  whether the medical opinion is consistent with the medical record                                  
06       as a whole;                                                                                                       
07                 (3)  how independent the medical expert's opinion is from inappropriate                                 
08       influences from the employee or employer;                                                                         
09                 (4)  whether the medical expert is board certified in the medical expert's                              
10 specialty and whether the opinion of the medical expert is within the medical expert's                                  
11       specialty; and                                                                                                    
12 (5)  the degree to which the medical expert presents an explanation and                                                 
13 relevant evidence to support an opinion, particularly with review of prior medical                                      
14       reports, physical examinations, radiology, or other diagnostic or laboratory tests.                               
15 (c)  In deciding medical issues on causation, degree of impairment, ability to                                          
16 work, physical capacities, or past and future medical treatment, the office of                                          
17 administrative hearings and the board may not rely on lay testimony. Lay testimony                                      
18 may only be relied on to decide factual disputes that do not involve causation, degree                                  
19 of impairment, ability to work, physical capacities, or past and future medical                                         
20       treatment.                                                                                                        
21    * Sec. 55. AS 23.30.125(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
22 (a)  A compensation order becomes effective when filed with the office of                                               
23 administrative hearings [THE BOARD] as provided in AS 23.30.110, and, unless                                        
24 proceedings to reconsider, suspend, or set aside the order are instituted as provided in                                
25       this chapter, the order becomes final on the 31st day after it is filed.                                          
26    * Sec. 56. AS 23.30.125(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
27 (b)  Notwithstanding other provisions of law, a decision or order of the office                                     
28 of administrative hearings or the board is subject to review by the commission as                                   
29       provided in this chapter.                                                                                         
30    * Sec. 57. AS 23.30.125(c) is amended to read:                                                                     
31 (c)  If a compensation order is not in accordance with law or fact, the order                                           
01 may be suspended or set aside, in whole or in part, through proceedings in the                                          
02 commission brought by a party in interest against all other parties to the proceedings                                  
03 before the office of administrative hearings [BOARD]. The payment of the amounts                                    
04 required by an award may not be stayed pending a final decision in the proceeding                                       
05 unless, upon application for a stay, the commission, on hearing, after not less than                                    
06 three days' notice to the parties in interest, allows the stay of payment, in whole or in                               
07 part, where the party filing the application would otherwise suffer irreparable damage.                                 
08 Continuing future periodic compensation payments may not be stayed without a                                            
09 showing by the appellant of irreparable damage and the existence of the probability of                                  
10 the merits of the appeal being decided adversely to the recipient of the compensation                                   
11 payments. The order of the commission allowing a stay must contain a specific                                           
12 finding, based on [UPON] evidence submitted to the commission and identified by                                     
13 reference to the evidence, that irreparable damage would result to the party applying                                   
14       for a stay and specifying the nature of the damage.                                                               
15    * Sec. 58. AS 23.30.127(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
16 (a)  A party in interest may appeal a compensation order issued by the board or                                     
17 the office of administrative hearings to the commission within 30 days after the                                    
18 compensation order is filed [WITH THE OFFICE OF THE BOARD] under                                                        
19 AS 23.30.110. The director may intervene in an appeal. If a party in interest is not                                    
20 represented by counsel and the compensation order concerns an unsettled question of                                     
21 law, the director may file an appeal to obtain a ruling on the question by the                                          
22       commission.                                                                                                       
23    * Sec. 59. AS 23.30.127(e) is amended to read:                                                                     
24 (e)  If a request for reconsideration of a [BOARD] decision of the board or                                         
25 the office of administrative hearings was timely filed with the office of                                           
26 administrative hearings or the board, the notice of appeal must be filed within 30                                  
27 days after the reconsideration decision is mailed to the parties or the date the request                                
28 for reconsideration is considered denied in the absence of any action on the request,                                   
29       whichever is earlier.                                                                                             
30    * Sec. 60. AS 23.30.128(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
31 (a)  An appeal from a decision of the board or the office of administrative                                         
01 hearings under this chapter, and other proceedings under this section, shall be heard                               
02 and decided by a three-member panel of the commission. An appeal panel of the                                           
03 commission must include the chair of the commission. The chair of the commission                                        
04 shall assign two members to each appeal, including one commission member                                                
05 classified as representing employees and one commission member classified as                                            
06 representing employers. Acts, decisions, and orders of the commission panel in the                                      
07 appeal or related proceeding shall be considered the acts, decisions, and orders of the                                 
08 full commission. The matter on appeal shall be decided on the record made before the                                    
09 board or the office of administrative hearings, a transcript or recording of the                                    
10 proceedings before the board or the office of administrative hearings, and oral                                     
11 argument and written briefs allowed by the commission. Except as provided in (c) of                                     
12 this section, new or additional evidence may not be received with respect to the                                        
13       appeal.                                                                                                           
14    * Sec. 61. AS 23.30.128(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
15 (b)  The commission may review discretionary actions, findings of fact, and                                             
16 conclusions of law by the board or the office of administrative hearings in hearing,                                
17 determining, or otherwise acting on a compensation claim or petition. The                                               
18 [BOARD'S] findings of the board or the office of administrative hearings                                            
19 regarding the credibility of testimony of a witness before the board or the office of                               
20 administrative hearings are binding on the commission. The [BOARD'S] findings of                                    
21 fact of the board or the office of administrative hearings shall be upheld by the                                   
22 commission if supported by substantial evidence in light of the whole record. In                                        
23 reviewing questions of law and procedure, the commission shall exercise its                                             
24       independent judgment.                                                                                             
25    * Sec. 62. AS 23.30.129(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
26 (a)  Notwithstanding the provisions of AS 44.62.560, orders of the office of                                        
27 administrative hearings and the commission issued under this chapter may not be                                 
28 appealed to the superior court. Consistent with AS 22.05.010(b), final decisions of the                                 
29 commission may be appealed to the supreme court, and other orders may be reviewed                                       
30       by the supreme court as provided by the Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure.                                      
31    * Sec. 63. AS 23.30.130 is amended to read:                                                                        
01 Sec. 23.30.130. Modification of awards. (a) Upon [ITS OWN INITIATIVE,                                                 
02 OR UPON] the application of any party in interest on the ground of a change in                                          
03 conditions, including, for the purposes of AS 23.30.175, a change in residence, or                                      
04 because of a mistake in its determination of a fact, the board or the office of                                     
05 administrative hearings may, before one year after the date of the last payment of                                  
06 compensation benefits under AS 23.30.180, 23.30.185, 23.30.190, 23.30.200, or                                           
07 23.30.215, whether or not a compensation order has been issued, or before one year                                      
08 after the rejection of a claim, review a compensation case under the procedure                                          
09 prescribed with [IN] respect to [OF] claims in AS 23.30.110. Under AS 23.30.110, the                        
10 board or the office of administrative hearings may issue a new compensation order                                   
11 that [WHICH] terminates, continues, reinstates, increases, or decreases the                                         
12       compensation, or award compensation.                                                                            
13 (b)  A new order does not affect compensation previously paid, except that an                                           
14 award increasing the compensation rate may be made effective from the date of the                                       
15 injury, and if part of the compensation due or to become due is unpaid, an award                                        
16 decreasing the compensation rate may be made effective from the date of the injury,                                     
17 and payment made earlier in excess of the decreased rate shall be deducted from the                                     
18 unpaid compensation, in the manner the board or the office of administrative                                        
19       hearings determines.                                                                                          
20    * Sec. 64. AS 23.30.135 is amended to read:                                                                        
21 Sec. 23.30.135. Procedure before the board and the office of                                                      
22 administrative hearings. (a) In making an investigation or inquiry or conducting a                                  
23 hearing, the board or the office of administrative hearings is not bound by common                                  
24 law or statutory rules of evidence or by technical or formal rules of procedure, except                                 
25 as provided by this chapter. The board or the office of administrative hearings may                                 
26 make its investigation or inquiry or conduct its hearing in the manner by which it may                                  
27 best ascertain the rights of the parties. Declarations of a deceased employee                                           
28 concerning the injury in respect to which the investigation or inquiry is being made or                                 
29 the hearing conducted shall be received in evidence and are, if corroborated by other                                   
30       evidence, sufficient to establish the injury.                                                                     
31 (b)  All testimony given during a hearing before the board and the office of                                        
01       administrative hearings shall be recorded, but need not be transcribed unless further                         
02       review is initiated. Hearings before the board and the office of administrative                               
03       hearings shall be open to the public.                                                                         
04    * Sec. 65. AS 23.30.145 is repealed and reenacted to read:                                                         
05 Sec. 23.30.145. Attorney fees. (a) Fees for legal services rendered with respect                                      
06 to a claim are not valid unless approved by the office of administrative hearings.                                      
07 Except as provided under (b) of this section, attorney fees may not exceed the                                          
08 following percentage of the contested amount of compensation benefits secured as a                                      
09       result of a claim filed by an attorney:                                                                           
10                 (1)  25 percent of the settlement amount between the parties;                                           
11 (2)  30 percent of the amount awarded by the office of administrative                                                   
12       hearings after a hearing or upon appeal to the commission;                                                        
13 (3)  35 percent of the amount awarded after a successful appeal to the                                                  
14       Alaska Supreme Court.                                                                                             
15 (b)  If a written offer to settle an issue pending before the office of                                                 
16 administrative hearings is made at least 30 days before a hearing on the claim, for                                     
17 purposes of calculating the amount of attorney fees to be paid under (a) of this section,                               
18 only the amount of benefits awarded to the employee above the amount specified in                                       
19 the offer to settle may be considered. If multiple issues are pending before the office                                 
20 of administrative hearings, the offer to settle must address each issue and clearly state                               
21 whether or not the offer on each issue is severable. Any written offer to settle must be                                
22 kept confidential and not disclosed to the office of administrative hearings until after                                
23 the final decision on the merits of the case has been decided. After the final decision                                 
24 on the merits of the case has been issued, the parties shall file the offer to settle with                              
25 the office of administrative hearings so that the office of administrative hearings can                                 
26       award appropriate attorney fees and costs.                                                                        
27 (c)  Attorney fees and costs may be paid in a lump sum on the present value of                                          
28       the settlement or adjudicated amount.                                                                             
29 (d)  In this section, "benefits secured" does not include medical benefits                                              
30       awarded three or more years after the date of injury.                                                             
31    * Sec. 66. AS 23.30.155(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
01 (b)  The first installment of compensation becomes due on the 14th day after                                            
02 the employer has knowledge of the injury or death. On this date all compensation then                                   
03 due shall be paid. Subsequent compensation shall be paid in installments, every 14                                      
04 days, except where the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] determines that                                    
05       payment in installments should be made monthly or at some other period.                                           
06    * Sec. 67. AS 23.30.155(j) is amended to read:                                                                     
07 (j)  If an employer has made advance payments or overpayments of                                                        
08 compensation, the employer is entitled to be reimbursed by withholding up to 20                                         
09 percent out of each unpaid installment or installments of compensation due. More than                                   
10 20 percent of unpaid installments of compensation due may be withheld from an                                           
11       employee                                                                                                          
12 (1)  when the only benefit remaining is a lump-sum payment of                                                       
13       permanent partial impairment benefits; or                                                                     
14 (2)  upon approval of the office of administrative hearings [ONLY                                                   
15       ON APPROVAL OF THE BOARD].                                                                                        
16    * Sec. 68. AS 23.30.155(m) is amended to read:                                                                     
17 (m)  On or before March 1 of each year, the insurer or adjuster shall file a                                            
18 verified annual report on a form prescribed by the director stating the total amount of                                 
19 all compensation by type, the number of claims received and the percentage                                              
20 controverted, medical and related benefits, vocational rehabilitation expenses, legal                                   
21 fees, including a separate total of fees paid to attorneys and fees paid for the other                                  
22 costs of litigation, and penalties paid on all claims during the preceding calendar year.                               
23 If the annual report is timely and complete when received by the division and provides                                  
24 accurate information about each category of payments, the director shall review the                                     
25 timeliness of the insurer's or adjuster's reports filed during the preceding year under (c)                             
26 of this section. If, during the preceding year, the insurer or adjuster filed at least 99                               
27 percent of the reports on time, the penalties assessed under (c) of this section shall be                               
28 waived. If, during the preceding year, the insurer or adjuster filed at least 97 percent of                             
29 the reports on time, 75 percent of the penalties assessed under (c) of this section shall                               
30 be waived. If, during the preceding year, the insurer or adjuster filed 95 percent of the                               
31 reports on time, 50 percent of the penalties assessed under (c) of this section shall be                                
01 waived. If, during the preceding year, the insurer's or adjuster's reports have not been                                
02 filed on time at least 95 percent of the time, none of the penalties assessed under (c) of                              
03 this section shall be waived. The penalties that are not waived are due and payable                                     
04 when the insurer or adjuster receives notification from the director regarding the                                      
05 timeliness of the reports. If the annual report is not filed by March 1 of each year, the                               
06 insurer or adjuster shall pay a civil penalty of $100 for the first day the annual report is                            
07 late and $10 for each additional day the report is late. [IF THE ANNUAL REPORT IS                                       
08 INCOMPLETE WHEN FILED, THE INSURER OR ADJUSTER SHALL PAY A                                                              
09       CIVIL PENALTY OF $1,000.]                                                                                         
10    * Sec. 69. AS 23.30.155(o) is amended to read:                                                                     
11 (o)  The director shall promptly notify the division of insurance if the office of                                  
12 administrative hearings [BOARD] determines that the employer's insurer has                                          
13 frivolously or unfairly controverted compensation due under this chapter. After                                         
14 receiving notice from the director, the division of insurance shall determine if the                                    
15       insurer has committed an unfair claim settlement practice under AS 21.36.125.                                     
16    * Sec. 70. AS 23.30.175(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
17 (a)  The weekly rate of compensation for disability or death may not exceed                                             
18 the maximum compensation rate, may not be less than 22 percent of the maximum                                           
19 compensation rate, and initially may not be less than $110; however, if the office of                               
20 administrative hearings [BOARD] determines that the employee's spendable weekly                                     
21 wages are less than $110 a week as computed under AS 23.30.220, or less than 22                                         
22 percent of the maximum compensation rate a week in the case of an employee who                                          
23 has furnished documentary proof of the employee's wages, it shall issue an order                                        
24 adjusting the weekly rate of compensation to a rate equal to the employee's spendable                                   
25 weekly wages. If the employer can verify that the employee's spendable weekly wages                                     
26 are less than 22 percent of the maximum compensation rate, the employer may adjust                                      
27 the weekly rate of compensation to a rate equal to the employee's spendable weekly                                      
28 wages without an order of the office of administrative hearings [BOARD]. If the                                     
29 employee's spendable weekly wages are greater than 22 percent of the maximum                                            
30 compensation rate, but 80 percent of the employee's spendable weekly wages is less                                      
31 than 22 percent of the maximum compensation rate, the employee's weekly rate of                                         
01 compensation shall be 22 percent of the maximum compensation rate. Prior payments                                       
02 made in excess of the adjusted rate shall be deducted from the unpaid compensation in                                   
03 the manner the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] determines. In any case,                                   
04 the employer shall pay timely compensation. In this subsection, "maximum                                                
05 compensation rate" means 120 percent of the average weekly wage, calculated under                                       
06       (d) of this section, applicable on the date of injury of the employee.                                            
07    * Sec. 71. AS 23.30.180 is amended to read:                                                                        
08 Sec. 23.30.180. Permanent total disability. (a) In case of total disability                                           
09 adjudged to be permanent, 80 percent of the injured employee's spendable weekly                                     
10 wages shall be paid to the employee during the continuance of the total disability until                            
11 the employee begins receiving social security, pension, or other retirement                                         
12 benefits. If a permanent partial disability award has been made before a permanent                                  
13 total disability determination, permanent total disability benefits must be reduced by                                  
14 the amount of the permanent partial disability award, adjusted for inflation, in a                                      
15 manner determined by the board. Loss of both hands, or both arms, or both feet, or                                      
16 both legs, or both eyes, or of any two of them, in the absence of conclusive proof to                                   
17 the contrary, constitutes permanent total disability. In all other cases permanent total                                
18 disability is determined in accordance with the facts. In making this determination the                                 
19       market for the employee's services shall be                                                                     
20                 (1)  area of residence;                                                                                 
21                 (2)  area of last employment;                                                                           
22                 (3)  the state of residence; and                                                                        
23                 (4)  the State of Alaska.                                                                               
24 (b)  Failure to achieve remunerative employability [AS DEFINED IN                                                       
25       AS 23.30.041(r)] does not, by itself, constitute permanent total disability.                                    
26    * Sec. 72. AS 23.30.185 is amended to read:                                                                        
27 Sec. 23.30.185. Compensation for temporary total disability. In case of                                               
28 disability total in character but temporary in quality, 80 percent of the injured                                       
29 employee's spendable weekly wages shall be paid to the employee during the                                              
30 continuance of the disability. Temporary total disability benefits may not be paid for                                  
31 any period of disability occurring after the date of medical stability and for more                                 
01       than an aggregate total of 104 weeks for each claim.                                                          
02    * Sec. 73. AS 23.30.190 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:                                             
03            (e)  An employee who returns to work for the same employer in a position that                                
04       pays a wage equal to or greater than that paid at the time of injury is not eligible to                           
05       receive permanent partial impairment benefits under this section.                                                 
06    * Sec. 74. AS 23.30.200(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
07 (b)  The wage-earning capacity of an injured employee is determined by the                                              
08 actual spendable weekly wage of the employee if the actual spendable weekly wage                                        
09 fairly and reasonably represents the wage-earning capacity of the employee. The                                         
10 office of administrative hearings [BOARD] may, in the interest of justice, fix the                                  
11 wage-earning capacity that is reasonable, having due regard to the nature of the injury,                                
12 the degree of physical impairment, the usual employment, and other factors or                                           
13 circumstances in the case that may affect the capacity of the employee to earn wages                                    
14 in a disabled condition, including the effect of disability as it may naturally extend into                             
15       the future.                                                                                                       
16    * Sec. 75. AS 23.30.215(d) is amended to read:                                                                     
17 (d)  Compensation under this chapter to aliens not residents, or about to                                               
18 become nonresidents, of the United States or Canada is the same in amount as                                            
19 provided for residents, except that dependents in a foreign country are limited to                                      
20 widow or widower and child or children, or if there is no widow or widower and child                                    
21 or children, to surviving father or mother whom the employee has supported, either                                      
22 wholly or in part, for a period of one year before the date of injury. The office of                                
23 administrative hearings [BOARD], at its option, or upon the application of the                                      
24 insurance carrier, may commute all future installments of compensation to be paid to                                    
25 an alien dependent who is not a resident of the United States or Canada by paying or                                    
26 causing to be paid to the alien dependent one-half of the commuted amount of the                                        
27 future installments of compensation as determined by the office of administrative                                   
28       hearings [BOARD].                                                                                             
29    * Sec. 76. AS 23.30.220(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
30 (a)  Computation of compensation under this chapter shall be on the basis of an                                         
31 employee's spendable weekly wage at the time of injury. An employee's spendable                                         
01       weekly wage is the employee's gross weekly earnings minus payroll tax deductions.                                 
02       An employee's gross weekly earnings shall be calculated as follows:                                               
03                 (1)  if at the time of injury the employee's earnings are calculated by the                             
04       week, the weekly amount is the employee's gross weekly earnings;                                                  
05                 (2)  if at the time of injury the employee's earnings are calculated by the                             
06       month, the employee's gross weekly earnings are the monthly earnings multiplied by                                
07       12 and divided by 52;                                                                                             
08                 (3)  if at the time of injury the employee's earnings are calculated by the                             
09       year, the employee's gross weekly earnings are the yearly earnings divided by 52;                                 
10 (4)  if at the time of injury the employee's earnings are calculated by the                                             
11 day, by the hour, or by the output of the employee, then the employee's gross weekly                                    
12 earnings are 1/50 of the total wages that the employee earned from all occupations                                      
13 during either of the two calendar years immediately preceding the injury, whichever is                                  
14       most favorable to the employee;                                                                                   
15 (5)  if at the time of injury the employee's earnings have not been fixed                                               
16 or cannot be ascertained, the employee's earnings for the purpose of calculating                                        
17 compensation are the usual wage for similar services when the services are rendered                                     
18       by paid employees;                                                                                                
19 (6)  if at the time of injury the employee's earnings are calculated by the                                             
20 week under (1) of this subsection or by the month under (2) of this subsection and the                                  
21 employment is exclusively seasonal or temporary, then the gross weekly earnings are                                     
22 1/50 of the total wages that the employee has earned from all occupations during the                                    
23       12 calendar months immediately preceding the injury;                                                              
24 (7)  when the employee is working under concurrent contracts with two                                                   
25 or more employers, the employee's earnings from all employers is considered as if                                       
26       earned from the employer liable for compensation;                                                                 
27 (8)  if an employee when injured is a minor, an apprentice, or a trainee                                                
28 in a formalized training program, as determined by the office of administrative                                     
29 hearings [BOARD], whose wages under normal conditions would increase during the                                     
30 period of disability, the projected increase may be considered by the office of                                     
31 administrative hearings [BOARD] in computing the gross weekly earnings of the                                       
01 employee; if the minor, apprentice, or trainee would have likely continued that                                         
02 training program, then the compensation shall be the average weekly wage at the time                                    
03       of injury rather than that based on the individual's prior earnings;                                              
04 (9)  if the employee is injured while performing duties as a volunteer                                                  
05 ambulance attendant, volunteer police officer, or volunteer firefighter, then,                                          
06 notwithstanding (1) - (6) of this subsection, the gross weekly earnings for calculating                                 
07 compensation shall be the minimum gross weekly earnings paid a full-time ambulance                                      
08 attendant, police officer, or firefighter employed in the political subdivision where the                               
09 injury occurred, or, if the political subdivision has no full-time ambulance attendants,                                
10 police officers, or firefighters, at a reasonable figure previously set by the political                                
11 subdivision to make this determination, but in no case may the gross weekly earnings                                    
12 for calculating compensation be less than the minimum wage computed on the basis of                                     
13       40 hours work a [PER] week;                                                                                   
14 (10)  if an employee is entitled to compensation under AS 23.30.180                                                     
15 and the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] determines that calculation of                                    
16 the employee's gross weekly earnings under (1) - (7) of this subsection does not fairly                                 
17 reflect the employee's earnings during the period of disability, the office of                                      
18 administrative hearings [BOARD] shall determine gross weekly earnings by                                            
19 considering the nature of the employee's work, work history, and resulting disability,                                  
20 but compensation calculated under this paragraph may not exceed the employee's                                          
21       gross weekly earnings at the time of injury.                                                                      
22    * Sec. 77. AS 23.30.250(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
23 (b)  If the office of administrative hearings [BOARD], after a hearing, finds                                       
24 that a person has obtained compensation, medical treatment, or another benefit                                          
25 provided under this chapter, or that a provider has received a payment, by knowingly                                    
26 making a false or misleading statement or representation for the purpose of obtaining                                   
27 that benefit, the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] shall order that person                                 
28 to make full reimbursement of the cost of all benefits obtained. Upon entry of an order                                 
29 authorized under this subsection, the office of administrative hearings [BOARD]                                     
30 shall also order that person to pay all reasonable costs and attorney fees incurred by                                  
31 the employer and the employer's carrier in obtaining an order under this section and in                                 
01 defending any claim made for benefits under this chapter. If a person fails to comply                                   
02 with an order of the office of administrative hearings [BOARD] requiring                                            
03 reimbursement of compensation and payment of costs and attorney fees, the employer                                      
04 may declare the person in default and proceed to collect any sum due as provided                                        
05       under AS 23.30.170(b) and (c).                                                                                    
06    * Sec. 78. AS 23.30.260(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
07            (a)  A person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, is punishable                                 
08       for each offense by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more                                
09       than one year, or by both, if the person                                                                          
10 (1)  receives a fee, other consideration, or a gratuity on account of any                                               
11 services rendered for representation or advice with respect to a claim, unless the                                      
12 consideration or gratuity is approved by the office of administrative hearings                                      
13       [BOARD] or the court; or                                                                                          
14 (2)  makes it a business to solicit employment for a lawyer or for the                                                  
15       person making the solicitation with respect to a claim or award for compensation.                                 
16    * Sec. 79. AS 23.30 is amended by adding new sections to read:                                                     
17 Sec. 23.30.285. Group practice. (a) Notwithstanding AS 23.30.097, to qualify                                          
18 for reimbursement from an employer, a group practice that provides medical treatment                                    
19       to an employee under this chapter must comply with this section.                                                  
20 (b)  A group practice that provides medical treatment to an employee under                                              
21 this chapter must be a single business entity that has at least two physicians who are                                  
22 members of the group, whether employees or owners. Each physician who is a                                              
23 member of the group practice must furnish substantially the full range of patient care                                  
24 services that the physician routinely furnishes, including medical care, consultation,                                  
25 diagnosis, and treatment, through the joint use of shared office space, facilities,                                     
26       equipment, and personnel.                                                                                         
27 (c)  If an employee seeks medical treatment under this chapter from a group                                             
28 practice, at least 75 percent of the total patient care services of the group practice must                             
29 be furnished by physicians who are members of the group practice and be billed under                                    
30 a billing number assigned to the group practice, and the amounts received must be                                       
31 treated as receipts of the group practice. The board shall prescribe by regulation a                                    
01       method for measuring whether a group practice meets the requirements of this                                      
02       subsection.                                                                                                       
03 (d)  The overhead expenses of, and income from, the group practice must be                                              
04 distributed according to methods that are determined before the receipt of payment for                                  
05 the services giving rise to the overhead expense or producing the income. Nothing in                                    
06 this section prevents a group practice from adjusting its compensation methodology                                      
07       prospectively.                                                                                                    
08            (e)  The group practice must be a unified business that has                                                  
09                 (1)  centralized decision-making by a body representative of the group                                  
10 practice that maintains control over the assets and liabilities, including budgets,                                     
11       compensation, and salaries, of the group practice; and                                                            
12                 (2)  consolidated billing, accounting, and financial reporting.                                         
13 (f)  A physician who is a member of the group practice may not directly or                                              
14 indirectly receive compensation based on the volume or value of referrals, except as                                    
15       provided in (g) of this section.                                                                                  
16 (g)  A physician in the group practice may be paid a share of overall profits of                                        
17 the group practice, as permitted by regulations adopted by the board, if the share is not                               
18 determined in any manner that is directly related to the volume or value of referrals of                                
19 medical treatment provided under this chapter by the physician. A physician in the                                      
20 group practice may be paid a productivity bonus based on services personally                                            
21 performed, services incident to the personally performed services, or both, if the bonus                                
22 is not determined in any manner that is directly related to the volume or value of                                      
23       referrals of medical treatment provided under this chapter.                                                       
24 (h)  In this section, "group practice" means a single legal entity operating                                            
25 primarily for the purpose of being a physician group practice in any organizational                                     
26 form recognized in this state, including a partnership, professional corporation, limited                               
27 liability company, foundation, nonprofit corporation, faculty practice plan, or similar                                 
28       association.                                                                                                      
29 Sec. 23.30.290. Certain referrals prohibited. (a) A physician who has a                                               
30 direct or indirect financial relationship, as defined by the board by regulation, with                                  
31 another physician, a group practice under AS 23.30.285, or other entity that furnishes                                  
01 medical services to employees covered by this chapter, or who has an immediate                                          
02 family member who has a direct or indirect financial relationship with another                                          
03 physician, a group practice under AS 23.30.285, or other entity that furnishes medical                                  
04 services to employees covered by this chapter, may not make a referral to that                                          
05 physician, group practice, or other entity for the furnishing of medical services to                                    
06 employees covered by this chapter. A physician's prohibited financial relationship                                      
07 with an entity that furnishes medical services is not imputed to the physician's group                                  
08 practice under AS 23.30.285 or members or staff of the group practice, but a referral                                   
09 made by a physician's group practice or members or staff of the group practice may be                                   
10 imputed to the physician, if the physician directs the group practice or members or                                     
11 staff of the group practice to make the referral or if the physician controls referrals                                 
12       made by the group practice or members or staff of the group practice.                                             
13 (b)  An entity that furnishes medical services under a referral that is prohibited                                      
14 by (a) of this section may not present or cause to be presented a claim or bill under this                              
15 chapter to an employer, insurer, third-party payer, or other person for the medical                                     
16       services performed under the prohibited referral.                                                                 
17 (c)  Except as provided in (e) of this section, no payment may be made for                                              
18       medical services furnished under a prohibited referral.                                                           
19 (d)  An entity that collects payment for medical services that were performed                                           
20 under a prohibited referral shall refund all collected amounts on a timely basis, as                                    
21       prescribed by regulation by the board.                                                                            
22 (e)  Payment may be made to an entity that submits a claim for medical                                                  
23       services if the                                                                                                   
24 (1)  entity did not have actual knowledge of, and did not act in reckless                                               
25 disregard or deliberate ignorance of, the identity of the physician who made the                                        
26       referral of the medical services to the entity; and                                                               
27                 (2)  claim otherwise complies with applicable federal and state law.                                    
28            (f)  In this section, "medical services" means                                                               
29                 (1)  clinical laboratory services;                                                                      
30 (2)  physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech language                                                        
31       pathology services;                                                                                               
01                 (3)  radiology and other imaging services;                                                              
02                 (4)  radiation therapy services and supplies;                                                           
03                 (5)  durable medical equipment and supplies;                                                            
04                 (6)  parenteral and enteral nutrients, equipment, and supplies;                                         
05                 (7)  prosthetics, orthotics, and prosthetic devices and supplies;                                       
06                 (8)  home health services;                                                                              
07                 (9)  outpatient prescription drugs; and                                                                 
08                 (10)  inpatient and outpatient hospital services.                                                       
09    * Sec. 80. AS 23.30.395(2) is amended to read:                                                                     
10 (2)  "arising out of and in the course of employment" includes                                                          
11 employer-required or supplied travel to and from a remote job site; activities                                          
12 performed at the direction or under the control of the employer; and employer-                                          
13 sanctioned activities at employer-provided facilities if the activities are a major                                 
14 contributing cause of the death, disease, or resulting condition, disability, or need                               
15 for medical treatment; but excludes recreational league activities sponsored by the                                 
16 employer, unless participation is required as a condition of employment, and activities                                 
17       of a personal nature away from employer-provided facilities;                                                      
18    * Sec. 81. AS 23.30.395(3) is amended to read:                                                                     
19 (3)  "attending physician" means one of the following designated by the                                                 
20       employee under AS 23.30.095(a) [OR (b)]:                                                                          
21                      (A)  a licensed medical doctor;                                                                    
22                      (B)  a licensed doctor of osteopathy;                                                              
23                      (C)  a licensed dentist or dental surgeon;                                                         
24 (D)  a licensed physician assistant acting under supervision of a                                                       
25            licensed medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy;                                                             
26                      (E)  a licensed advanced practice registered nurse; or                                             
27                      (F)  a licensed chiropractor;                                                                      
28    * Sec. 82. AS 23.30.395 is amended by adding a new paragraph to read:                                              
29 (43)  "office of administrative hearings" means the office of                                                           
30       administrative hearings established under AS 44.64.010.                                                           
31    * Sec. 83. AS 44.64.030(a) is amended by adding a new paragraph to read:                                           
01                 (51)  AS 23.30 (Alaska Workers' Compensation Act).                                                      
02    * Sec. 84. AS 23.30.005(f), 23.30.095(b), 23.30.095(i), 23.30.095(k), 23.30.110(g),                                
03 23.30.121, 23.30.135(a), 23.30.155(h), 23.30.224(b), 23.30.224(e), and 23.30.224(f) are                                 
04 repealed.                                                                                                               
05    * Sec. 85. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                         
06 read:                                                                                                                   
07       APPLICABILITY. Sections 8 - 84 of this Act apply to claims for injuries filed on or                               
08 after the effective dates of those sections.                                                                            
09    * Sec. 86. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                         
10 read:                                                                                                                   
11 TRANSITION: CLAIMS. (a) The Alaska Workers' Compensation Board shall hear                                               
12 and decide claims filed under AS 23.30.110 before the effective date of secs. 43 - 48 of this                           
13 Act as that statute read on the day before the effective date of secs. 43 - 48 of this Act.                             
14 (b)  A claim for benefits or petition for other relief under AS 23.30 that has not been                                 
15 filed with the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board before the effective date of secs. 43 - 48                            
16 of this Act shall be filed with the office of administrative hearings (AS 44.64.010) after the                          
17 effective date of secs. 43 - 48 of this Act in accordance with AS 23.30.110, as amended by                              
18 secs. 43 - 48 of this Act.                                                                                              
19    * Sec. 87. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                         
20 read:                                                                                                                   
21 TRANSITION: REGULATIONS. (a) The Department of Labor and Workforce                                                      
22 Development may adopt regulations necessary to implement the changes made by this Act.                                  
23 The regulations take effect under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act), but not before the                           
24 effective date of the sections being implemented.                                                                       
25 (b)  The chief administrative law judge of the office of administrative hearings                                        
26 (AS 44.64.010) may adopt regulations necessary to establish procedures for administrative                               
27 hearings required by the changes made by this Act. The regulations take effect under                                    
28 AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act), but not before the effective date of the sections                              
29 being implemented.                                                                                                      
30    * Sec. 88. Section 87 of this Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c).                                  
31    * Sec. 89. Sections 1, 3, and 36 of this Act take effect July 17, 2017.                                            
01    * Sec. 90. Sections 2 and 4 of this Act take effect July 1, 2021.