Medical Marijuana and Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania

Lisa Yelovich Human Resources, Insurance, News

The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act was signed by Governor Wolf on April 17, 2016, leaving employers with more questions than answers about employee use of medical marijuana. Key points of the Act note that those who are prescribed medical marijuana must have one of 17 designated “serious medical conditions” as diagnosed by a Department of Health (DOH) registered physician. First, the patient must obtain a certificate from a DOH-registered physician. They then receive an ID card from the DOH, and their name is placed in the state database. The patient is then able to get medical marijuana from a designated dispensary in their area. There are several forms of medical marijuana for patient use. These includes pill, oil, tincture or …

Workers’ Compensation Premium Increase Delayed

Denise Gillin News, Third Party Claim Administration

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) has yet to make a decision on a mid-year increase in workers’ compensation (WC) costs – despite the Nov. 1 effective date, proposed by the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau. The PCRB in August asked for a 6.06 percent increase in loss costs mid-year as a direct result of Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District). Throwing a wrench into the approval process is a recent objection and request for a hearing filed by the Pennsylvania Association for Justice (trial bar), which challenges the calculations used by the PCRB to come up with the proposed increase. By law, the PID has 180 days (until February) to consider the PCRB’s request for …

Workers’ Compensation Affected by Recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decision

Jill Root Business Insurance, Insurance, Third Party Claim Administration

A recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District), stated the American Medical Association (AMA) guide for evaluating permanent impairment to an injured worker is unconstitutional. Since 1996 Impairment Rating Evaluations (IREs) were used in the management of Workers’ Compensation claims to cap the indemnity exposure on certain claims in which an injured worker was paid Total Temporary Disability (TTD) Benefits for 104 weeks. An IRE could be performed, and if the results were below 50% whole person impairment per the most recent edition of the AMA Impairment Guidelines, then the Injured Worker’s disability status would change from total to partial and the Injured Worker, at most, would only be entitled to 500 remaining weeks of …