By Brian Allen, VP Government Affairs
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), released a bulletin on August 29, 2017, aimed at ensuring a continuity of care for injured workers living in the counties impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The counties discussed in this bulletin are those listed in the Governor Abbott’s disaster proclamation.
The bulletin covers several areas of workers’ compensation, listed below:
- Directs payers to continue to provide benefit checks, medical services and supplies, and prescription medications
- Waives penalties and restrictions related to necessary emergency and non-emergency care provided out-of-network
- Extends deadlines for medical examinations
- Authorizes payments to pharmacies for up to a 90-day supply of prescriptions medications
- Calls for expedited changes of address services
The bulletin will also toll deadlines for workers’ compensation claim notification and filing, medical billing, medical and income payments, electronic data reporting and medical and income dispute filings.
Finally, the bulletin notes that first responders who are on the front line of the disaster should be given first priority status as directed by Texas Labor Code Section 504-055.
Hurricane Harvey is a disaster of monumental proportion and has disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Texans. We applaud the efforts of TDI in providing regulatory relief for injured workers and flexibility for payers working to provide ongoing services to workers whose lives were upended by the storm. In the wake of the hurricane, we hope these temporary rule changes will allow the workers’ compensation system to adapt accordingly. In maintaining care and benefits for injured workers in Texas, workers’ compensation stakeholders will be able to work together to contribute to the heroic efforts taking place now.
Mitchell is working with customers to adapt to the changes outlined in the bulletin. We will continue to provide updates as they develop. We wish our very best to the many Texans impacted by Harvey.
The full text of B-0020-17 can be found HERE.
For a full list of the affected counties, the Governor’s proclamation can be found HERE.