FIRST REGULAR SESSION
HOUSE BILL NO. 637
93RD GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES WILDBERGER (Sponsor), ROORDA, JOHNSON (61), WALSH,
CHAPPELLE-NADAL, BURNETT, HARRIS (23), YOUNG, CORCORAN, BRINGER, LIESE, BRUNS,
WALTON, BAKER (25), OXFORD, CASEY, SALVA, DARROUGH, EL-AMIN, BROWN (50), KRATKY,
HOSKINS, HENKE, KUESSNER, DOUGHERTY, ROBINSON, SKAGGS, VILLA, SPRENG, DAUS,
BOWMAN, WAGNER, WITTE, FRASER, ZWEIFEL, AULL, HUGHES, MEADOWS, BLAND, SWINGER,
GEORGE, LOW (39), WRIGHT-JONES (63), HAYWOOD, BOYKINS, MEINERS, STORCH, DONNELLY,
YAEGER, CURLS, LOWE (44), HUBBARD, SHOEMYER, PAGE, LAMPE, WHORTON, RUCKER,
SCHOEMEHL, PARSON, VOGT, HARRIS (110), LeVOTA, SELBY AND JOLLY (Co-sponsors).
Read 1st time February 24, 2005 and copies ordered printed.
STEPHEN S. DAVIS, Chief Clerk
To repeal sections 287.067 and 287.140, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections relating to workers' compensation benefits, with penalty provisions.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Sections 287.067 and 287.140, RSMo, are repealed and two new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as sections 287.067 and 287.140, to read as follows:
287.067. 1. In this chapter the term "occupational disease" is hereby defined to mean, unless a different meaning is clearly indicated by the context, an identifiable disease arising with or without human fault out of and in the course of the employment. Ordinary diseases of life to which the general public is exposed outside of the employment shall not be compensable, except where the diseases follow as an incident of an occupational disease as defined in this section. The disease need not to have been foreseen or expected but after its contraction it must appear to have had its origin in a risk connected with the employment and to have flowed from that source as a rational consequence.
2. An occupational disease is compensable if it is clearly work related and meets the requirements of an injury which is compensable as provided in subsections 2 and 3 of section 287.020. An occupational disease is not compensable merely because work was a triggering or precipitating factor.
3. "Loss of hearing due to industrial noise" is recognized as an occupational disease for purposes of this chapter and is hereby defined to be a loss of hearing in one or both ears due to prolonged exposure to harmful noise in employment. "Harmful noise" means sound capable of producing occupational deafness.
4. "Radiation disability" is recognized as an occupational disease for purposes of this chapter and is hereby defined to be that disability due to radioactive properties or substances or to Roentgen rays (X rays) or exposure to ionizing radiation caused by any process involving the use of or direct contact with radium or radioactive properties or substances or the use of or direct exposure to Roentgen rays (X rays) or ionizing radiation.
5. Disease of the lungs or respiratory tract, hypotension, hypertension, or disease of the heart or cardiovascular system, including carcinoma, may be recognized as occupational diseases for the purposes of this chapter and are defined to be disability due to exposure to smoke, gases, carcinogens, inadequate oxygen, or psychological stress of firefighters of a paid fire department and peace officers certified under chapter 590, RSMo, if a direct causal relationship is established.
6. Any employee who is exposed to and contracts any contagious or communicable disease arising out of and in the course of his or her employment shall be eligible for benefits under this chapter as an occupational disease.
7. With regard to occupational disease due to repetitive motion, if the exposure to the repetitive motion which is found to be the cause of the injury is for a period of less than three months and the evidence demonstrates that the exposure to the repetitive motion with a prior employer was the substantial contributing factor to the injury, the prior employer shall be liable for such occupational disease.
287.140. 1. In addition to all other compensation, the employee shall receive and the employer shall provide such medical, surgical, chiropractic, and hospital treatment, including nursing, custodial, ambulance and medicines, as may reasonably be required after the injury or disability, to cure and relieve from the effects of the injury, which shall include heart and lung examinations administered to firefighters of a paid fire department and peace officers certified under chapter 590, RSMo. If the employee desires, he shall have the right to select his own physician, surgeon, or other such requirement at his own expense. Where the requirements are furnished by a public hospital or other institution, payment therefor shall be made to the proper authorities. Regardless of whether the health care provider is selected by the employer or is selected by the employee at the employee's expense, the health care provider shall have the affirmative duty to communicate fully with the employee regarding the nature of the employee's injury and recommended treatment exclusive of any evaluation for a permanent disability rating. Failure to perform such duty to communicate shall constitute a disciplinary violation by the provider subject to the provisions of chapter 620, RSMo. When an employee is required to submit to medical examinations or necessary medical treatment at a place outside of the local or metropolitan area from the place of injury or the place of his residence, the employer or its insurer shall advance or reimburse the employee for all necessary and reasonable expenses; except that an injured employee who resides outside the state of Missouri and who is employed by an employer located in Missouri shall have the option of selecting the location of services provided in this section either at a location within one hundred miles of the injured employee's residence, place of injury or place of hire by the employer. The choice of provider within the location selected shall continue to be made by the employer. In case of a medical examination if a dispute arises as to what expenses shall be paid by the employer, the matter shall be presented to the legal advisor, the administrative law judge or the commission, who shall set the sum to be paid and same shall be paid by the employer prior to the medical examination. In no event, however, shall the employer or its insurer be required to pay transportation costs for a greater distance than two hundred fifty miles each way from place of treatment. In addition to all other payments authorized or mandated under this subsection, when an employee who has returned to full-time employment is required to submit to a medical examination for the purpose of evaluating permanent disability, or to undergo physical rehabilitation, the employer or its insurer shall pay a proportionate weekly compensation benefit based on the provisions of section 287.180 for such wages that are lost due to time spent undergoing such medical examinations or physical rehabilitation, except that where the employee is undergoing physical rehabilitation, such proportionate weekly compensation benefit payment shall be limited to a time period of no more than twenty weeks. For purposes of this subsection only, "physical rehabilitation" shall mean the restoration of the seriously injured person as soon as possible and as nearly as possible to a condition of self-support and maintenance as an able-bodied worker. Determination as to what care and restoration constitutes physical rehabilitation shall be the sole province of the treating physician. Should the employer or its insurer contest the determination of the treating physician, then the director shall review the case at question and issue his determination. Such determination by the director shall be appealable like any other finding of the director or the division. Serious injury includes, but is not limited to, quadriplegia, paraplegia, amputations of hand, arm, foot or leg, atrophy due to nerve injury or nonuse, and back injuries not amenable alone to recognized medical and surgical procedures.
2. If it be shown to the division or the commission that the requirements are being furnished in such manner that there is reasonable ground for believing that the life, health, or recovery of the employee is endangered thereby, the division or the commission may order a change in the physician, surgeon, hospital or other requirement.
3. All fees and charges under this chapter shall be fair and reasonable, shall be subject to regulation by the division or the commission, or the board of rehabilitation in rehabilitation cases. A health care provider shall not charge a fee for treatment and care which is governed by the provisions of this chapter greater than the usual and customary fee the provider receives for the same treatment or service when the payor for such treatment or service is a private individual or a private health insurance carrier. The division or the commission, or the board of rehabilitation in rehabilitation cases, shall also have jurisdiction to hear and determine all disputes as to such charges. A health care provider is bound by the determination upon the reasonableness of health care bills.
4. The division shall, by regulation, establish methods to resolve disputes concerning the reasonableness of medical charges, services, or aids. This regulation shall govern resolution of disputes between employers and medical providers over fees charged, whether or not paid, and shall be in lieu of any other administrative procedure under this chapter. The employee shall not be a party to a dispute over medical charges, nor shall the employee's recovery in any way be jeopardized because of such dispute.
5. No compensation shall be payable for the death or disability of an employee, if and insofar as the death or disability may be caused, continued or aggravated by any unreasonable refusal to submit to any medical or surgical treatment or operation, the risk of which is, in the opinion of the division or the commission, inconsiderable in view of the seriousness of the injury. If the employee dies as a result of an operation made necessary by the injury, the death shall be deemed to be caused by the injury.
6. The testimony of any physician or chiropractic physician who treated the employee shall be admissible in evidence in any proceedings for compensation under this chapter, subject to all of the provisions of section 287.210.
7. Every hospital or other person furnishing the employee with medical aid shall permit its record to be copied by and shall furnish full information to the division or the commission, the employer, the employee or his dependents and any other party to any proceedings for compensation under this chapter, and certified copies of the records shall be admissible in evidence in any such proceedings.
8. The employer may be required by the division or the commission to furnish an injured employee with artificial legs, arms, hands, surgical orthopedic joints, or eyes, or braces, as needed, for life whenever the division or the commission shall find that the injured employee may be partially or wholly relieved of the effects of a permanent injury by the use thereof. The director of the division shall establish a procedure whereby a claim for compensation may be reactivated after settlement of such claim is completed. The claim shall be reactivated only after the claimant can show good cause for the reactivation of this claim and the claim shall be made only for the payment of medical procedures involving life-threatening surgical procedures or if the claimant requires the use of a new, or the modification, alteration or exchange of an existing, prosthetic device. For the purpose of this subsection, "life threatening" shall mean a situation or condition which, if not treated immediately, will likely result in the death of the injured worker.
9. Nothing in this chapter shall prevent an employee being provided treatment for his injuries by prayer or spiritual means if the employer does not object to the treatment.
10. The employer shall have the right to select the licensed treating physician, surgeon, chiropractic physician, or other health care provider; provided, however, that such physicians, surgeons or other health care providers shall offer only those services authorized within the scope of their licenses. For the purpose of this subsection, subsection 2 of section 287.030 shall not apply.
11. Any physician or other health care provider who orders, directs or refers a patient for treatment, testing, therapy or rehabilitation at any institution or facility shall, at or prior to the time of the referral, disclose in writing if such health care provider, any of his partners or his employer has a financial interest in the institution or facility to which the patient is being referred, to the following:
(1) The patient;
(2) The employer of the patient with workers' compensation liability for the injury or disease being treated;
(3) The workers' compensation insurer of such employer; and
(4) The workers' compensation adjusting company for such insurer.
12. Violation of subsection 11 of this section is a class A misdemeanor.
13. (1) No hospital, physician or other health care provider, other than a hospital, physician or health care provider selected by the employee at his own expense pursuant to subsection 1 of this section, shall bill or attempt to collect any fee or any portion of a fee for services rendered to an employee due to a work-related injury or report to any credit reporting agency any failure of the employee to make such payment, when an injury covered by this chapter has occurred and such hospital, physician or health care provider has received actual notice given in writing by the employee, the employer or the employer's insurer. Actual notice shall be deemed received by the hospital, physician or health care provider five days after mailing by certified mail by the employer or insurer to the hospital, physician or health care provider.
(2) The notice shall include:
(a) The name of the employer;
(b) The name of the insurer, if known;
(c) The name of the employee receiving the services;
(d) The general nature of the injury, if known; and
(e) Where a claim has been filed, the claim number, if known.
(3) When an injury is found to be noncompensable under this chapter, the hospital, physician or other health care provider shall be entitled to pursue the employee for any unpaid portion of the fee or other charges for authorized services provided to the employee. Any applicable statute of limitations for an action for such fees or other charges shall be tolled from the time notice is given to the division by a hospital, physician or other health care provider pursuant to subdivision (6) of this subsection, until a determination of noncompensability in regard to the injury which is the basis of such services is made, or in the event there is an appeal to the labor and industrial relations commission, until a decision is rendered by that commission.
(4) If a hospital, physician or other health care provider or a debt collector on behalf of such hospital, physician or other health care provider pursues any action to collect from an employee after such notice is properly given, the employee shall have a cause of action against the hospital, physician or other health care provider for actual damages sustained plus up to one thousand dollars in additional damages, costs and reasonable attorney's fees.
(5) If an employer or insurer fails to make payment for authorized services provided to the employee by a hospital, physician or other health care provider pursuant to this chapter, the hospital, physician or other health care provider may proceed pursuant to subsection 4 of this section with a dispute against the employer or insurer for any fees or other charges for services provided.
(6) A hospital, physician or other health care provider whose services have been authorized in advance by the employer or insurer may give notice to the division of any claim for fees or other charges for services provided for a work-related injury that is covered by this chapter, with copies of the notice to the employee, employer and the employer's insurer. Where such notice has been filed, the administrative law judge may order direct payment from the proceeds of any settlement or award to the hospital, physician or other health care provider for such fees as are determined by the division. The notice shall be on a form prescribed by the division.