2022 Legislative Update
There were several legislative changes this session impacting workers’ compensation claims handling in Colorado.
HB22-1354: Protection of Claimant’s Mental Health Records – Effective: June 9, 2022
This bill involves a significant change in the requirements of handling an injured workers’ mental health records and became effective immediately on June 9, 2022. It prohibits disclosure of mental health records by an insurer to a 3rd party that is not necessary for medical evaluation, adjustment, or adjudication of a claim. These include substance abuse and abuse disorder records and DIME and IME reports that contain such information.
The bill also limits disclosures of mental health records to employer. The insurer may inform employers of work restrictions but cannot otherwise disclose mental health records to them. The records should be removed from an FAL that may include them. Self-insured employers are to keep separate and secure files containing mental health records and establish policies and training to comply with the requirements.
HB22-1347: Consent Bill – Effective: 8/10/2022 – Involves claims with a date of injury on or after 8/10/2022
Mileage: For round-trips over 100 miles to doctor visits, a claimant can make a written request for prepayment of mileage expenses due within 7 calendar days of the request. If claimant is prepaid mileage and does not show up to that doctor visit, then the only remedy for respondents is that the prepayment will be credited to future mileage requests. It will not be allowed to offset any indemnity benefits as mileage is considered a medical benefit.
Scheduled Impairments: For injuries that can be scheduled or nonscheduled, if a scheduled impairment rating results in a higher PPD award than the whole person impairment rating would, then respondents must admit to the scheduled impairment rating on the final admission.
Funeral Benefits: The statutory cap on funeral benefits has been raised from $7,000 to $12,500 and will be adjusted accordingly each year by Director’s Order. There is also no longer a requirement that the funeral expenses be “reasonable.”
Medical Only Claim Reporting Requirement: Claims for medical benefits only must be reported to the Division if there has been 180 days of active medical treatment. Active medical treatment does not include a gym membership or an at-home workout program. It is to involve treatment supervised by an ATP but has not otherwise been defined. The bill is not clear whether this includes claims where there has been no treatment for several months and then the claimant seeks treatment on the 180th day. We recommend contacting us for legal analysis on a case-by-case basis if you come across this issue.
HB22-1112: Notice of Injury – Effective: 8/10/2022
Claimant Report of Injury: This bill changed the time for the claimant to report the injury to the employer from 4 to 10 days.
Employer to Keep Record of the Written Report of Injury: To assert the penalty of one day’s compensation for each day failure to report the injury, the employer will have to have retained a copy of the written notice of injury. The employer is to affix the date and time notice was received and make it available to the injured worker within 7 days.
Notice to Employees Poster: The bill also changed the notice that an employer is required to post in the workplace including the change to 10-day reporting requirement. The poster must be at least 14 inches high and at least 11 inches wide and the font must also be 1/2″. An example of the poster can be found on the Division website https://codwc.app.box.com/s/v0mr2xp8jvxkbfjbgb23vk1if18pi0xz . You can contact customer service at 1-888-390-7936 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org and order a poster for $10, plus shipping.
HB22-1262 – Sunset Continue WC Regulations – Effective: 4/12/2022
The bill Continues the ability of the Director to settle second offense penalties for failure to insure. This bill doesn’t change anything significant, just highlights the continuation of certain powers held by the Director.
SB22-035 – Coverage Levels for Occupational Accident Insurance – Effective: 8/10/2022
This bill was necessary to clarify issues concerning provisions in the Colorado Motor Carrier Act regarding the definition of “similar coverage” to allow a company to provide accident coverage to CDL drivers outside of the W.C. Act. The main change in the Act provides for an owner of a commercial vehicle to elect occupational accident insurance in lieu of workers’ compensation insurance provided the occupational accident insurance has an aggregate limit of at least $1,500,000.
As always, if you have any questions, please contact one of the attorneys at Brown Gren Abraham & McCracken, LLC.