ASIA has formed a Legislative Committee to draw up bills addressing areas in which membership has noted changes need to occur. If you have any comments/questions please contact the Chairman of that committee, John Mattox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several bills have been drawn up which we have found support and sponsorship for.
They are as follows:
The first bill would amend Ark. Code 11-9-521 and 11-9-526. This bill provides that employers who make accommodations for employees injured at work by providing light duty work that is within the employees medical restrictions is entitled to expect the employee to assume the light duty assignment until the medical restrictions are lifted. If the employee refuses they are not eligible to temporary total disability. It also provides that an employee who is on light duty and is terminated for misconduct (i.e. cussing out their supervisor) will no longer be eligible to temporary total disability.
This is SB515. The bill can be read in its entirety here: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2013/2013R/Bills/SB515.pdf
The second bill would amend Ark. Code 11-9-102, vacating the court decision that the issuance of muscle relaxants constitutes an objective finding of injury. In other words, today if an employee goes to the emergency room and is prescribed muscle relaxants solely on a patients history, but the physician then doesn’t observe any muscle spasms and has no determination of injury, the fact that muscle relaxants were prescribed constitutes the findings of an injury.
The third bill would amend Ark. Code 11-9-410. This bill would reinstate the statutory method set out by the legislature for handling subrogation in workers compensation cases. There are many cases where employers or carriers pay injured workers lost wages and medical bills on the front end of an accident then when the employer turns to the negligent third party, restitution is paid to the employee again, rather than to the employer who made the initial outlay. This would eliminate the “made whole doctrine” and restore the statutory method created by the legislature.
Please feel free to contact your representatives and advise of your support for these bills.