Volume 40 - Issue 44 - November 4, 2021
State of Kansas
Department of Labor
Division of Workers Compensation
Notice of Hearing on Proposed Administrative Regulations
The Kansas Department of Labor will conduct a public hearing to consider the proposed Workers Compensation regulations: K.A.R. 51-3-20, 51-9-10, 51-9-18, 51-9-19, 51-11-7, and 51-19-2. The public hearing will be held at 11:00 a.m. January 12, 2022, in the auditorium of Memorial Hall, 120 SW 10th Ave., Topeka, KS 66612.
This 60-day notice of the public hearing shall constitute a public comment period for the purpose of receiving written public comments on the proposed rules and regulations. All interested parties may submit written comments prior to the hearing to the Workers Compensation Division, 401 SW Topeka Blvd., Suite 2, Topeka, KS 66603-3105 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All interested parties will be given a reasonable opportunity to present their views orally regarding the adoption of the proposed regulations during the public hearing. In order to provide all parties an opportunity to present their views, it may be necessary to request that each participant limit any oral presentation to five minutes.
Any individual with a disability may request an accommodation in order to participate in the public hearing and may request the proposed regulations and economic impact statements in an accessible format. Requests for accommodation to participate in the hearing should be made at least five working days in advance of the hearing by contacting the state’s ADA Coordinator, Anthony Fadale at 785-296-1389 or Anthony.email@example.com.
Copies of the proposed regulations and the Economic Impact Statement for the proposed regulations can be requested by submitting an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure the subject line of the email request states which proposed regulation(s) is being requested.
Summaries of the proposed regulations and their economic impact follow. (Note: Statements indicating that a regulation is “not anticipated to have any economic impact” are intended to indicate that no economic impact on the Department of Labor, other state agencies, state employees, or the general public has been identified.)
K.A.R. 51-3-20. Notification of termination of benefits. This proposed regulation would require employers or their insurance carriers to notify an injured worker when they stop paying benefits and provide their reason for doing so. No economic impact is anticipated.
K.A.R. 51-9-10. Medical bills, reports, and treatment. This proposed regulation requires employers to share with the worker any written communication with their doctor or hospital within 10 days. Verbal communication with the worker’s treating physician or their staff would require a specific release by the worker, and the worker would be given an opportunity to participate. This would require any report of verbal communications prepared by the employer’s attorney be provided to the worker within 10 days of receipt of the report. This proposed regulation would enhance communication between the parties and medical providers with little or no additional costs.
K.A.R. 51-9-18. Designating the authorized treating physician. This proposed regulation would apply after an employer has chosen a physician to treat an injured worker. Once the employer has chosen a treating physician, the employer would not be able to change that physician without the agreement of the injured worker. If the worker does not agree, then the case would go to a preliminary hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for resolution. No economic impact is anticipated.
K.A.R. 51-9-19. Neutral evaluation; causation. When ALJs make a referral to a physician for a neutral evaluation, this proposed regulation would require the ALJ to request that the physician include information regarding the cause of an injury as required by statute. No economic impact is anticipated.
K.A.R. 51-11-7. Average weekly wage. The average weekly wage of a worker is determined by looking at the actual earnings of a worker for the 26 weeks prior to the date of accident and then dividing by 26. This proposed regulation would reduce the number of weeks by one week for every five regular or scheduled days a worker does not receive compensation during the base period. No economic impact is anticipated.
K.A.R. 51-19-2. Post-award applications; “costs.” This proposed regulation would allow injured workers to seek reimbursement for the cost of obtaining an expert opinion from a doctor and the doctor’s expert witness fee during post-award proceedings. If approved by the ALJ, these exam and deposition costs would be assessed to the employer and the employer’s insurance carrier.
It is estimated that implementation and compliance could potentially total $500,000 per year. In 2019, there were 699 post-award medical applications were filed. The fee schedule allows $400 for the first hour of an exam and $400 per hour for deposition costs. Per K.S.A. 44-510k, an administrative law judge has discretion in assessing costs so costs may be denied if the request wasn’t appropriate.
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