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Weekly Legislative Update from March 4, 2016

Workers' Compensation

HB 613 & SB 986- Relating to Workers’ Compensation System Administration
On Thursday, March 3rd, HB 613, relating to Workers’ Compensation System Administration, by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-Eustis) was read for a third time and passed through the floor of the House by a vote of 115 yeas to 2 nays. After HB 613 passed through the House it was immediately sent to the Senate chamber and was considered instead of its Senate companion, SB 986, a vote was taken. HB 613 passed through the Senate floor by a vote of 40 yeas to 0 nays.

The workers’ compensation law requires an employer to obtain coverage for their “employees” that provides for lost income and all medically necessary remedial treatment, attendance, and care resulting from work related injuries and occupational diseases. The Division of Workers’ Compensation within the Department of Financial Services (DFS) provides regulatory oversight of the system. The DFS’ responsibilities include enforcing employer compliance with coverage requirements, administration of the workers’ compensation health care delivery system, collecting system data, and assisting injured workers regarding their benefits and rights.

HB 613 will now go to the desk of the Governor.

AIF supports Florida’s current workers’ compensation law and any proposed change to the workers’ compensation system- in the courtroom or Legislature- will be evaluated through the prism of coverage affordability, market stability, and employee safety.

SB 1402-Relating to Ratification of Department of Financial Services Rule
On Thursday, March 3rd, SB 1402, relating to Ratification of Department of Financial Services Rule, by Senator David Simmons (R-Longwood) was read a third time on the Senate floor and passed by a unanimous vote of 40 yeas to 0 nays.

SB 1402 addresses adoption of the current version of the Florida Worker's Compensation healthcare provider reimbursement manual. This manual has not been adopted or updated since 2008, leaving Florida well behind every other state in the amount of reimbursement it pays to healthcare providers for the treatment of injured workers.

This bill will now go to the House floor for consideration.

AIF supports legislation that will keep Florida’s Workers’ Compensation system a stable and self-executing mechanism that benefits both injured workers and Florida’s employers.