March 10, 2021
Workers' Comp in the 2021 Texas Legislature
362 Words, a 2-Minute Read
Texas policymakers and many physicians point to the Texas Legislature’s 2005 reform of the Workers’ Comp system as the turning point that made Texas’ program the envy of many other states. Since that time, policymakers have rarely introduced legislative and regulatory changes.
But that doesn’t mean that the program is perfect: TOA has heard from a number of orthopaedic surgeons who are frustrated by the prior authorization hurdles implemented by the carriers.
The Next Two Months: A Look at the Guidelines in the Texas Legislature
State Rep. Jared Patterson (R-Frisco) filed legislation – HB 3042 – that would allow the TDI-DWC commissioner to review and change the treatment, return-to-work and any other guidelines at any time of her choosing through the rule-making process.
The bill will receive a healthy debate in this year’s Texas Legislature to determine what changes, if any, are necessary to enhance the guidelines to ensure that injured employees have access to outstanding care. And much of the debate is likely to carry over into the summer when the Texas Sunset Commission begins its job.
Summer 2021 to 2023: A Major Look at Workers’ Comp
The Texas Sunset Commission is tasked with completing a thorough examination of each state agency and department at regular intervals of approximately six years and making recommendations to the Texas Legislature. In the case of TDI-DWC, the Texas Legislature will complete its Sunset review of the program in 2023.
The Sunset staff will begin its review of TDI-DWC this summer, which will be followed by the Sunset Commission's vote on the staff recommendations before the 2023 Texas Legislature. The Legislature will then be tasked with opening up the entire Workers’ Comp statute to take into account the Sunset Commission’s analysis and recommendations.
The Sunset process will be the opportunity for policymakers and physicians to take a deeper dive into inappropriate pre-authorization hurdles by carriers and to determine what legislative changes should be made by the 2023 Texas Legislature.
Other Bills: Dozens of Them
Click here to view TOA's bill tracker, which tracks the dozens of bills that relate to orthopaedics.
Click here to view TOA's musculoskeletal primer for state lawmakers.
Click here to send an e-mail about opioid policy to your state lawmakers.