Last May Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 878, a bill overhauling the state’s workers’ compensation system. The measure is effective August 26, 2011, but various provisions have different operative dates. It includes a variety of changes aimed at reining in costs and getting injured workers back on the job sooner.
Among the key provisions of SB 878 are the adoption of a nationally recognized set of treatment guidelines for work-related injuries and a requirement that the fee schedule for medical reimbursement rates be reduced by 5 percent. Other provisions include limiting the number of times an injured worker may change from the treating physician chosen by the employer, requiring employers to provide medical care within 7 days and authorizing fines for not paying medical bills promptly, and retaining the Workers’ Compensation Court with an increase the number of judges from 8 to 10.
Changes to the mandatory Workers’ Compensation Notice and Instruction to Employers and Employees (Form 1A) include:
- Employers must provide services related to injury or illness that are reasonable and necessary, including diagnostic services to injured employees
- Employees affected by cumulative trauma may file a claim for workers’ compensation and such claims must be filed within 2 years of when the employee was last employed by the employer
- Employers must file Form 2 with the Workers’ Compensation Court within 10 days of notice of the injury
- Recipients of temporary total disability benefits must report in writing to the employer or insurance carrier any change in a material fact within 7 days
- Clarifies that if an employer has actual notice of an undisputed injury and the insurer fails to commence weekly temporary total disability benefit payments, the insurer shall pay the employee a penalty of 15% of the unpaid or delayed payments, and
- Information on how to obtain and file forms, including a link to the Court’s web site to obtain forms online.
Employers can comply with the posting requirement using Compliance Poster Company’s 8/2011 Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Notice and Instruction to Employers and Employees Peel ‘N Post, or the updated 8/2011 Oklahoma State & Federal All-On-One Labor Law Poster.