Update on Past Bills
Things are plugging along down at the Capitol as the session is speeding towards the finish line of May 9, 2018. Most significantly, the budget for the 2018-2019 years is on its way to the Governor, meaning that many of the bills with a fiscal note are now up for debate.
Both bills discussed last month – SB 18-062 Snow Removal Service Liability Limitation and SB 18-171 Marketplace Contractor Workers’ Compensation Unemployment – have been moving forward, pending the approval of the budget. Now that the budget is set for signature, we can anticipate that these two bills will be set for final votes in the near future.
There appears to be a lot of debate left on SB 18-171, as it was subject to a lengthy debate on April 10, 2018 regarding the balancing of protection of workers versus the flexibility of being an independent contractor. The bill only narrowly moved on after amendments were undertaken to reduce the burden on low income workers and to bar certain professions and union projects for operating under marketplace apps.
Out-of-State Employers: Creation of Reciprocity in Workers’ Comp
A new bill of interest was introduced on March 20, 2018 with bipartisan support (Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D), Sen. Owen Hill (R), Rep. Jon Becker (R), and Sen. Daniel Kagen (D) are primary sponsors). The bill aims to create an exemption from the Workers’ Compensation Act for out-of-state employers whose employee are injured while working temporarily in Colorado. Under this new provision, the home state’s workers’ compensation laws would be the sole remedy for this situation.
The bill would allow the Division of Workers’ Compensation to enter into agreements with other states to carry out the application of the workers’ compensation laws of those other states. The central states looking at reciprocity under this new bill are Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.
This bill appears to have tremendous support from the business community, who assert that this type of reciprocity law will save them significantly by operating in Colorado without the need to purchase supplemental insurance.
The Out-of-State Employers bill is next up for debate on April 16, 2018.
Division IME Process Overhaul
Rule 11 is finally up for a facelift! The proposed rule adds significant changes to the old rule, most of which are favorable. While there are procedural changes (i.e. timeline for the striking process and a new organizational mechanism for submitting medical records), perhaps the most meaningful change is with respect to the payment for the Division IME appointment. This rule will oust the $675 flat fee (which was then subject to a nearly arbitrary additional amount if significant medical records were submitted) and will streamline the fee schedule based on time since date of injury and number of body parts. For example, under the proposed rule, a Division IME will now cost $2,000 if more than five years have passed since the date of injury, or if five or more body regions are included.
A rule hearing is scheduled for April 25, 2018; we anticipate that a large part of the debate at this hearing will center around the fee schedule as its increased amounts could have an alleged negative effect on claimants.
Would you like to know more? Contact Jessica Grimes at email@example.com or 720.488.9586.