Workers' Compensation; Independent Medical Examinations; Permanent Impairment Rating Examinations
Requires independent medical examinations and permanent impairment rating examinations to be performed by mutually agreed upon physicians. Effective 07/01/2008. Sunset 7/01/2011. (SD1)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-FOURTH LEGISLATURE, 2008
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. Chapter 386, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§386‑ Independent medical examination; permanent impairment rating examination; mutual agreement. (a) After an injury and after a claim is filed by the injured employee, the employer, upon mutual agreement of the parties, may appoint a qualified physician, paid by the employer, to conduct an independent medical examination of the injured employee, or a permanent impairment rating examination of the injured employee, and make a report to the employer.
If the parties cannot agree on a physician to perform the independent medical examination, or permanent impairment rating examination, the employer may request in writing that the director, from the director's list of qualified physicians, appoint a physician licensed in a relevant medical specialty, licensed to practice in Hawaii, and willing to undertake such examination within seven calendar days of the director's receipt of the request. Any physician mutually selected by the employer and employee or selected by the director shall examine the employee within thirty days of selection. The director shall keep and maintain a list of qualified physicians including their respective qualifications.
In no event shall an independent medical examination and a permanent impairment rating examination be combined into a single medical examination unless the injured employee consents in writing prior to the scheduling of the examinations.
In no event shall the director, appellate board, or court order more than one employer requested independent medical examination and one permanent impairment rating per case, unless valid reasons exist with regard to the medical progress of the employee's treatment.
If an employee unreasonably refuses to submit to, or in any way unreasonably obstructs an examination, the employee's right to claim compensation for the work injury shall be suspended until the unreasonable refusal or obstruction ceases and no compensation shall be payable for the period during which the refusal or obstruction continues. The cost of conducting the ordered independent medical examination shall be limited to the complex consultation charges governed by the medical fee schedule established pursuant to section 386-21(c).
(b) Every physician selected to perform independent medical examinations or permanent impairment rating examinations as provided in subsection (a) shall be currently licensed in Hawaii; provided that for claimants whose residency is not Hawaii, the physicians performing the independent medical examination or permanent impairment rating shall be licensed in the state where the claimant resides for a period of five consecutive years immediately preceding the examination.
(c) When an injured employee has attained medical stability as determined by the injured employee's attending physician, the employer may appoint a physician, paid by the employer and selected by agreement of the parties, who shall conduct a permanent impairment rating examination of the injured employee pursuant to section (a).
For the purposes of this subsection, "medical stability" means that the injured employee's medical condition is well stabilized so that no further improvement in the injured employee's work injury can be expected from further medical treatment and continued medical care will only prevent deterioration of the condition."
SECTION 2. Section 386-79, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.
§386-79 Medical examination by
employer's physician. After an injury and during the period of
disability, the employee, whenever ordered by the director of labor and
industrial relations, shall submit to examination, at reasonable times and
places, by a duly qualified physician or surgeon designated and paid by the
employer. The employee shall have the right to have a physician or surgeon
designated and paid by the employee present at the examination, which right,
however, shall not be construed to deny to the employer's physician the right
to visit the injured employee at all reasonable times and under all reasonable
conditions during total disability. If an employee refuses to submit to, or in
any way obstructs such examination, the employee's right to claim compensation
for the work injury shall be suspended until the refusal or obstruction ceases
and no compensation shall be payable for the period during which the refusal or
obstruction continues. In cases where the employer is dissatisfied
with the progress of the case or where major and elective surgery, or either,
is contemplated, the employer may appoint a physician or surgeon of the
employer's choice who shall examine the injured employee and make a report to
the employer. If the employer remains dissatisfied, this report may be
forwarded to the director. Employer requested examinations under this
section shall not exceed more than one per case unless good and valid reasons
exist with regard to the medical progress of the employee's treatment. The
cost of conducting the ordered medical examination shall be limited to the
complex consultation charges governed by the medical fee schedule established
pursuant to section 386-21(c)."]
SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2008, and shall be repealed on July 1, 2011.