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Arizona Rep. Fann sponsors workers' comp bills

Representative Karen Fann has submitted 17 bills to Arizona Legislative District One on subjects ranging from the sale of fireworks to workers' compensation. One of the bills she submitted was HB 2365. This bill requires those submitting a workers' compensation claim to meet the guidelines of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The option to appeal is available to doctors who disagree. The bill is being held in committee.

For example, even if a doctor recommends that a person undergo surgery to correct flat feet, the time off for surgery may not be covered under the new guidelines. Flat feet may not be a workplace injury.

Another bill she submitted was House Bill 2366, but was dropped because another legislator introduced a bill that is similar. It called for the allowance of doctors to share employee medical examination results with interested parties if the employee was seeking workers' compensation. Parties included the government, insurance companies and employers.

HB 2367 is another bill Rep. Fann submitted. This bill would allow insurance companies who cover workers' compensation to set up medical provider networks and require workers using the benefits to use in-network doctors. The bill would require approval of the networks by the Industrial Commission of Arizona to ensure there are enough local providers. The bill is being opposed by some unions, but would save businesses money. It is still in progress as Fann continues working with stakeholders.

One bill Rep. Fann submitted, HB 2368, passed the committee and as a result, made a few minor changes to workers' compensation laws.

HCR 2030, another bill Fann submitted, would create an amendment to the state constitution and would require voter approval. It would allow the state to deny workers' compensation when the worker was injured due to the significant influence of medical marijuana or illegal drugs.

Fann is holding this bill because she is unsure of the legality of it. Court precedent concluded that the state must prove that the injury was caused only by drugs or alcohol, not just a contributing factor. It will be interesting to see how these bills progress.

Source: Prescott Daily Courier, "Fann's bills aim to help local governments, businesses," Joanna Dodder Nellans, Feb. 16, 2012

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