HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1961

TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2014

H.D. 2

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. Section 386-79, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"386-79 [Medical examination by employer's physician.] Requested mutual examination. [After an injury and during the period of disability, the employee, whenever ordered by the director of labor and industrial relations, shall submit to examination, at reasonable times and places, by a duly qualified physician or surgeon designated and paid by the employer. The employee shall have the right to have a physician or surgeon designated and paid by the employee present at the examination, which right, however, shall not be construed to deny to the employer's physician the right to visit the injured employee at all reasonable times and under all reasonable conditions during total disability.

If an employee refuses to submit to, or in any way obstructs such examination, the employee's right to claim compensation for the work injury shall be suspended until the refusal or obstruction ceases and no compensation shall be payable for the period during which the refusal or obstruction continues.

In cases where the employer is dissatisfied with the progress of the case or where major and elective surgery, or either, is contemplated, the employer may appoint a physician or surgeon of the employer's choice who shall examine the injured employee and make a report to the employer. If the employer remains dissatisfied, this report may be forwarded to the director.

Employer requested examinations under this section shall not exceed more than one per case unless good and valid reasons exist with regard to the medical progress of the employee's treatment. The cost of conducting the ordered medical examination shall be limited to the complex consultation charges governed by the medical fee schedule established pursuant to section 386-21(c).] (a) Following an injury and after a claim is filed by the injured employee, the employer, upon mutual agreement of the parties, may appoint a qualified physician, paid by the employer, to conduct an independent medical examination or a permanent impairment rating examination of the injured employee and make a report to the employer.

(b) The cover letter to the physician selected to perform the examination under this section shall notify the physician that the physician has been mutually selected to conduct an independent examination by the parties. The cover letter shall be transmitted to the injured worker at least five working days before the appointment. The employee or the employee's representative shall be promptly provided with a copy of the report of the independent medical examination or permanent impairment rating examination.

(c) A physician selected pursuant to this section to perform an independent medical examination or permanent impairment rating examination shall be willing to undertake the examination and shall be paid for by the employer. The selected physician shall be currently licensed pursuant to chapter 453 or 442 to practice in Hawaii; except that upon approval by the director, a physician who resides outside of the State of Hawaii and is licensed in another state as a physician equivalent to a license under chapter 453 or 442, may be selected if there is no State of Hawaii-licensed physician available in a specialty to conduct the examination. If the employee does not reside in Hawaii, a physician who resides outside the State of Hawaii and is licensed in the state of the out-of-state employee's residence as a physician equivalent to a license under chapter 453 or 442 may be selected.

If the parties are unable to reach a mutual agreement within five working days, the parties shall jointly prepare a list of five physicians. Within the five-working day period, the employee shall appoint the first physician, the employer shall appoint the second, and the process shall continue until there is a list of five physicians. The parties shall alternatively strike a physician from the list. The employer shall strike first, the employee shall strike next, and the process shall continue until only one physician remains who shall conduct the examination and prepare a report.

Any physician mutually selected by the employer and employee shall examine the employee within forty-five calendar days of the selection or appointment process or as soon as practicably possible.

(d) In no event shall an independent medical examination and a permanent impairment rating examination be combined into a single medical examination unless the employee consents in writing prior to the scheduling of the examination of the final independent selected physician.

In no event shall the director, appellate board, or court order more than one requested independent medical examination and one permanent impairment rating examination per case, unless valid reasons exist with regard to the medical progress of the employee's treatment or where major surgery and elective surgery, or either, is contemplated. In such case, the process of selecting a physician by mutual agreement under this section shall apply.

(e) If an employee refuses to submit to, or in any way unreasonably interferes with the examination, the employee's right to claim compensation for the work injury shall be suspended until the refusal or obstruction ceases and no compensation shall be payable for the period during which the unreasonable interference continues. The cost of conducting the ordered independent medical examination or permanent impairment rating examination shall be limited to the complex consultation charges governed by the medical fee schedule established pursuant to section 386-21(c).

(f) When an employee has attained medical stability as determined by the injured employee's attending physician, the employer may appoint a physician, paid by the employer and selected by agreement of the parties, who shall conduct a permanent impairment rating examination of the injured employee pursuant to subsection (c).

For the purposes of this subsection, "medical stability" means that no further improvement in the employee's work-related condition can reasonably be expected from curative health care or the passage of time.

(g) Whenever an employee is requested or ordered to undergo an independent medical examination, the employer shall provide notice approved by the director that:

(1) Informs the employee of the employee's rights and obligations with regard to independent medical examinations; and

(2) Provides the employee with instructions on how to participate in the process for independent medical examinations as established in this section."

SECTION 2. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2112; provided that this Act shall be repealed on June 30, 2018, and section 386-79, Hawaii Revised Statutes, shall be reenacted in the form in which it read on the day before the effective date of this Act.


 


 

Report Title:

Workers' Compensation; Medical Examinations; Mutual Agreement

 

Description:

Requires independent medical examinations and permanent impairment rating examinations for workers' compensation claims to be performed by physicians mutually agreed upon by employers and employees. Allows for the use of an out-of-state physician under certain conditions. Effective 07/01/2112. Sunset 06/30/2018. (HD2)

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.