Workers’ Comp: Maximum Medical Improvement
Workers’ compensation costs would skyrocket in Connecticut under a legislative proposal requiring employers and insurers to provide unlimited medical treatment and expenses.
In the Labor Committee, SB 319 bars employees and insurers from denying medical and surgical aid, or hospital and nursing service, to an employee who has suffered an injury for which workers’ compensation is provided under current Connecticut rules, and has attained maximum medical improvement /treatment.
CBIA is urging the committee to reject SB 319 because of its untold potential costs.
Problems Not Solved
SB 319 does not solve the treatment problem faced by employers or insurers faces when an injured employee needs palliative care, or curative treatment. It also doesn’t allow patients to receive a decision and the security of future palliative or curative treatments as the current system allows for.
Despite claims by trial attorneys, Connecticut’s maximum medical improvement (MMI) workers’ compensation resolution system has been functioning well for many years. Both case law in the state, and the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission’s professional guidelines on MMI have worked well.
Current case law in Connecticut requires that medical care be curative with designated treatments. MMI does not mean that all treatment will or should be terminated at a given point. Rather, the commission’s guidelines are clear that the termination of medical care has to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Public Sector Also Opposes SB 319
As the Connecticut Council of Municipalities noted, SB 319 “would create a new unfunded mandate for towns and cities that would disrupt the workers’ compensation system and increase workers’ compensation costs.”
Agreeing is the Council of Small Towns (COST), which said that a new unfunded mandate “would prevent municipalities from concluding medical and surgical aid of hospital and nursing services to employees that have been compensated.” Local city and towns budgets are already severely strained, no need cripple local tax dollars with the indecision SB 319 presents.
Well Healed Decisions of CT Workers’ Comp Commission
CBIA recommends that the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission make the determination on continued post Maximum Medical Improvements when disputes arise.
The Commission’s Guidelines have been revised in 2004, 2005, and 2008 to reflect changes in health care needs. When hearings are required to make a decision about MMI, the commission is available to everyone.
The cost of implementing SB 319 has not been analyzed by the state’s Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA), but it is sure to show significant increases in workers’ compensation costs to both private and public sector employees in CT.
For more information, email Faith Gavin Kuhn.
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