HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1973

TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2014

H.D. 1

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. The legislature finds that injured workers lack the incentive to return to part-time work because the law does not require employers to timely pay the injured workers temporary partial disability benefits. When injured workers do not return to part-time work, the costs of doing business increase. The legislature further finds that fourteen calendar days from the end of the customary work week to process temporary partial disability benefits is more than enough time to process the benefits rightfully due and owed to injured workers. Accordingly, this Act creates a late payment penalty to incentivize employers to timely disburse temporary partial disability benefits.

The legislature further finds that disabled workers are often unfairly denied disability benefits because their physicians do not complete and sign a specialized form which certifies that the injured worker is entitled to compensation. This Act clarifies that a determination of eligibility for disability benefits does not depend on a specialized form certified by the treating physician, but rather an examination of the injured employee's entire file.

SECTION 2. Section 386-92, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"386-92 Default in payments of compensation, penalty. (a) If any compensation payable under the terms of a final decision or judgment is not paid by a self-insured employer or an insurance carrier within thirty-one days after it becomes due, as provided by the final decision or judgment, or if any temporary total disability benefits are not paid by the employer or carrier within ten days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, after the employer or carrier has been notified of the disability, and where the right to benefits are not controverted in the employer's initial report of industrial injury or where temporary total disability benefits are terminated in violation of section 386-31, or if temporary partial disability benefits are not paid by the employer or insurance carrier within fourteen calendar days after the end of the employee's customary work week, there shall be added to the unpaid compensation an amount equal to twenty per cent thereof payable at the same time as, but in addition to, the compensation, unless the nonpayment is excused by the director after a showing by the employer or insurance carrier that the payment of the compensation could not be made on the date prescribed therefor owing to the conditions over which the employer or carrier had no control.

(b) In addition to the compensation owed by the employer, the penalty shall be due and payable without the necessity of an order or decision from the director.

(c) An employee's eligibility for temporary total disability benefits or temporary partial disability benefits shall be determined by certification from the employee's attending physician every thirty days or by an examination of the entirety of the employee's available medical records by another physician, if the employee's attending physician is not available. The failure of an employee's attending or treating physician to certify the dates of disability in an interim report, as required under section 386-96, shall not automatically disqualify the employee from receiving temporary total disability benefits or temporary partial disability benefits. Contemporaneous certification of an employee's disability status may be waived and retroactive certification of disability may be allowed; provided that the employee's attending physician has served as the employee's previous attending physician or, if the previous attending physician is not available, another physician has an opportunity to examine the employee's previous medical records with regard to the current pending claim. Retroactive certification of disability may be requested only once and shall not be for a period exceeding twelve months prior to the date of the request. This subsection shall apply only during the period that the employee's injuries have not reached medical stabilization or the employee is enrolled in the vocational rehabilitation process."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2300.


 


 

Report Title:

Workers' Compensation; Penalty; Temporary Partial Disability Benefits; Eligibility Determination

 

Description:

Imposes a penalty on an employer who does not pay an employee temporary partial disability benefits within fourteen calendar days after the end of the employee's customary work week. Clarifies that an eligibility determination for disability benefits depends on the attending physician to certify the employee's disability every thirty days. Clarifies that the failure of the employee's physician to certify does not disqualify the employee from disability benefits. Allows one-time retroactive certification. Effective July 1, 2300. (HB1973 HD1)

 

 

 

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