Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/20/1997 01:34 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
        HB  41 IMPAIRMENT RATING GUIDES FOR WORKERS COMP                      
                                                                              
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN  called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee                
 meeting to order at 1:34 p.m. and announced  HB 41  to be up for              
 consideration.                                                                
                                                                               
  MS. JANET SEITZ,  Staff to Representative Rokeberg, sponsor,                 
 explained that this legislation is necessary because now under  the           
 regulations procedure it can take a long time for the newest                  
 version of the guides to be adopted for use by the Worker's Comp              
 Board.  For example, until April of last year they were using a               
 1988 guide when the 1993 guide had already been published.                    
                                                                               
 She said Representative Rokeberg thinks the process to get the                
 regulations in place is prohibitive and the new guides are valuable           
 because of new medical technology and diagnostic procedures.                  
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  asked how often the book comes out.  MS. SEITZ               
 responded that there is no set time.                                          
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  asked if they used to have to adopt the guides by             
 statute.  MS. SEITZ deferred to Mr. Paul Grossi, Director, Workers            
 Compensation.                                                                 
                                                                               
  MR. GROSSI  explained that HB 41 allows them to adopt the most               
 recent version of the AMA Guides without going through the                    
 regulatory process which is currently what they have to do.                   
                                                                               
 Number 81                                                                     
                                                                               
  MR. GARREY PESKA,  ASHNHA, supported HB 41 because it clarifies the          
 process by which the guidelines will be adopted.                              
  SENATOR KELLY  asked the difference between the CS and the original          
 bill on the House side.  MR. GROSSI replied that the CS establishes           
 a specific date for the most recent guide to go into effect.  There           
 was the fear of litigation regarding which guide would actually be            
 in effect during the 90-day period.                                           
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  asked if the Board was able to pick a date that is           
 immediate in terms of the implementation.  MR. GROSSI replied that            
 the Board would try to give enough notice to everybody to allow the           
 various parties to purchase the newest guide and get set up.                  
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  said it appears we are throwing ourselves on the              
 mercy of the AMA and he wasn't sure that was a wise thing to do,              
 but he didn't think he would be against it.                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  said he thought we had already done that by adopting         
 previous statutes.  SENATOR KELLY responded that if the Board can             
 delay taking new guidelines for years and years, then they hadn't             
 done it.                                                                      
                                                                               
  MR. DWIGHT PERKINS,  Department of Labor, said he thought that it            
 was something that just didn't get done and it was seen by the new            
 administration as something that needed to be addressed as soon as            
 possible.                                                                     
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  asked who was the last commissioner.  MR. PERKINS             
 replied Commissioner Mahlen.                                                  
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  moved to pass HB 41 from committee with individual           
 recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.             

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