Injured workers have experienced in the last several years a massive effort to limit workers compensation benefits. This has directly harmed hardworking people and their families. We must pass a Workers’ Bill of Rights that includes the following rights for injured workers:
The right to select their own physician or, at a minimum, to be able to switch to a doctor of their choice after 30 days of treatment.
The right to a prompt hearing on any dispute within 90 days of a request. Additionally, in emergency medical or financial situations there must be a right to a hearing within 30 days to issue provisional orders on such emergency matters.
The right to have considered in their disability their loss of earning capacity along with any physical or mental impairment.
The right to an independent vocational assessment and to vocational rehabilitation if they are unable to return to their current trade. Vocational rehabilitation benefits shall be at the same rate as temporary disability benefits.
The right to an impairment rating and disability determination which assesses chronic pain and depression along with any physical impairment. The claim must be compensated if work-related activities contribute to, result in, or aggravate pain, limitation, or impairment.
If unable to return to substantial gainful work, they shall be entitled to permanent total disability benefits for as long as the disability continues.
The right to a non-party independent medical exam, paid by the insurer if there is a question concerning the treatment or opinions of the treating provider.
The right to a second opinion, paid by the insurer, with a doctor of their choice, if surgery is being recommended. Any surgery can be declined without adverse consequences.
The physician treating them shall have the presumptive right to order any diagnostic tests or evaluations. The presumption can only be overcome by clear and convincing evidence which must be furnished within 20 days of any denial.
The right to all legal entitlements for their disability without offsets.
The right to realistic cost of living increases in benefits, and to have those benefits pass to their dependents upon their death.
The right as the ultimate consumer of medical services to be informed of the doctors education, experience and contractual arrangements with insurers when treatment commences. Additionally, the state shall monitor all doctors and maintain a record of complaints by injured workers concerning doctors which can lead to removal of the doctor from the ability to treat such workers for numerous or major complaints.