Employers in New Jersey have long controlled workers compensation costs by having some measure of control over the medical care supplied to their employees for work-related injuries. A recent New Jersey Senate Bill seeks to change that.
Senate Bill 3375 would limit employer control to just the choice of the initial authorized physician. Thereafter, employers “may not delay or deny authorization for any treatment, diagnostic studies, procedures, therapies or medications recommended by an authorized medical care provider”. This effectively makes independent medical examinations pointless as a mechanism to stop inappropriate treatment.
The Bill also prohibits the employer from de-authorizing a medical care provider “without first securing an order from a judge of compensation.”
In New Jersey, employers and their insurers have the right to communicate directly with authorized medical care providers. This Bill would require employers and their insurers to notify the employee and their representatives (lawyers) with the date, time and substance of the communication, as well as a copy of all written communications. This includes requests for medical records. There is no similar communication requirement for the employee’s lawyers.
The Bill also greatly expands the amount of legal and expert fees that can be collected if an employee’s lawyer wins certain motions.
Employers and insurers are banding together in New Jersey to stop this Bill from becoming law. The Graham Company has become a part of and will be supporting this effort. Please let us know if you are interested in signing on so that this Bill may be defeated and that employers and their insurers may retain the right to control the medical care supplied to employees who sustained work-related injuries.
If you interested in adding your company name to this effort, please email your Graham claims consultant, account manager, or Peter Prinsen, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at firstname.lastname@example.org.