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January 2005, Vol. 128, No.1
Changes in workers' compensation laws in 2004
In 2004, a major legislative reform package was passed in California. The total cost of administering the Workers’ Compensation Program will now be borne by the employer community through surcharges levied by the Director of Industrial Relations. Temporary disability benefits are now limited to 104 weeks within a period of 2 years from the date of commencement of temporary disability payments, but may be extended to 240 weeks for certain injuries. Beginning in 2005, employers may establish medical provider networks in an attempt to improve medical care for injured employees by providing them with a choice of physicians. The apportionment of permanent disability is now based on causation, and an employer is only liable for the portion of disability directly caused by the injury.
In Georgia, the Subsequent Injury Trust Fund will cease to reimburse self-insured employers and insurers for a claim made on a subsequent injury occurring after June 30, 2008. In Louisiana, for injuries occurring between July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2007, an employer who retains in his employment an employee with a permanent partial disability shall be reimbursed from the Second Injury Fund for all weekly compensation payments payable after the first 130 weeks of payment. In New Jersey, the method for computing death benefits was changed from a sliding scale to just one benefit rate of 70 percent of wages for one or more dependents. In Washington, a licensed advanced registered nurse practitioner is now authorized to examine, diagnose, and treat injured workers covered by industrial insurance. In Wisconsin, physician assistants and advanced practice nurse prescribers have been added to the list of medical professionals authorized to conduct workers’ compensation examinations of employees.
This excerpt is from an article published in the January 2005 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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