General Assembly: 75 (1994 Regular GA) - Chapter 1065 - Workers’ compensation — miscellaneous provisions


Published: 1994-04-13

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CH. 1064 LA WS OF THE SEVENTY -FIFTH G.A., 1994 SESSION

CHAPTER 1064 WORKERS' COMPENSATION MEDIATION

S.F.2244 CONFIDENTIALITY

140

AN ACT providing for the confidentiality of certain information provided in workers' compensation mediation.

Be It Enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa:

Section 1. Section 22.7, Code Supplement 1993, is amended by adding the following new subsection:

NEW SUBSECTION. 31. Memoranda, work products, and case files of a mediator and all other confidential communications in the possession of a mediator, as provided in chapter 86. Information in these confidential communications is subject to disclosure only as provided in section 86.44, notwithstanding any other contrary provision of this chapter.

Sec. 2. NEW SECTION. 86.44 CONFIDENTIALITY. All verbal or written information relating to the subject matter of an agreement and trans-

mitted between any party to a dispute and a mediator to resolve a dispute pursuant to this chapter or chapter 85, 85A, or 85B, during any stage of a mediation or a dispute resolution process conducted by a mediator as provided in this section, whether reflected in notes, memoranda, or other work products in the case files, is a confidential communication except as otherwise expressly provided in this chapter. Mediators involved in a mediation or a dis- pute resolution process shall not be examined in any judicial or administrative proceeding regarding confidential communications and are not subject to judicial or administrative proc- ess requiring the disclosure of confidential communications.

For purposes of this section, "mediator" means a chief deputy industrial commissioner or deputy industrial commissioner acting in the capacity to resolve a dispute pursuant to this chapter or chapter 85, 85A, or 85B, or an employee of the division of industrial services involved during any stage of a process to resolve a dispute.

Approved April 13, 1994

CHAPTER 1065 WORKERS' COMPENSATION - MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

S.F.2245

AN ACT relating to workers' compensation by limiting debt collection of certain health care charges, by providing wage replacement for certain injured workers receiving treatment, by modifying the minimum weekly benefit amount for death, permanent partial disabil- ity, or a total disability, by providing for payment of temporary partial disability benefits in certain situations, and by providing an employer credit for the overpayment of certain benefits to employees.

Be It Enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa:

Section 1. Section 85.27, Code 1993, is amended by adding the following new unnumbered paragraph:

NEW UNNUMBERED PARAGRAPH. While a contested case proceeding for determina- tion of liability for workers' compensation benefits is pending before the industrial commis- sioner relating to an injury alleged to have given rise to treatment, no debt collection, as defined by section 537.7102, shall be undertaken against an employee or the employee's dependents for the collection of charges for that treatment rendered an employee by any health service

141 LA WS OF THE SEVENTY -FIFTH G.A., 1994 SESSION CH. 1065

provider. However, the health service provider may send one itemized written bill to the employee setting forth the amount of the charges in connection with the treatment after notifi- cation of the contested case proceeding.

Sec. 2. Section 85.27, Code 1993, is amended by adding the following new unnumbered paragraph:

NEW UNNUMBERED PARAGRAPH. If, after the third day of incapacity to work follow- ing the date of sustaining a compensable injury which does not result in permanent partial disability, or if, at any time after sustaining a compensable injury which results in permanent partial disability, an employee, who is not receiving weekly benefits under section 85.33 or section 85.34, subsection 1, returns to work and is required to leave work for one full day or less to receive services pursuant to this section, the employee shall be paid an amount equiva- lent to the wages lost at the employee's regular rate of pay for the time the employee is required to leave work. The employer shall make the payments under this paragraph as wages to the employee after making such deductions from the amount as legally required or customarily made by the employer from wages. Payments made under this paragraph shall be required to be reimbursed pursuant to any insurance policy covering workers' compensation. Payments under this paragraph shall not be construed to be payment of weekly benefits.

Sec. 3. Section 85.31, subsection 1, unnumbered paragraph 2, Code 1993, is amended to read as follows:

The weekly benefit amount shall not exceed a weekly benefit amount, rounded to the nearest dollar, equal to sixty six a-IHl twe thirds two hundred percent of the statewide average weekly wage paid employees as determined by the department of employment services under section 96.19, subsection 36, and in effect at the time of the injury. Hevlever, as ef Jlliy 1, ~ Jlliy 1, W1'h Jlliy 1, l4rnh a-IHl Jlliy 1, l-98l, the maximum weekly beftefit ameunt reunded w the nearest Sellar- shall be inereased 56 that- it ~ 6Ile hundred pereent, 6Ile hundred thfft.y- three a-IHl ene third pereent, 6Ile hundred sixty six a-IHl twe thirds pereent a-IHl tw6 hundred pereent, respeetively, ef the statewide average weekly wage as determined ab&ve. The mini- mum weekly benefit amount shall be equal to the weekly benefit amount of a person whose gross weekly earnings are thirty-five percent of the statewide average weekly wage, 6i' W the spendable weekly- earnings at the empleyee, whiehever are less. Such compensation shall be in addition to the benefits provided by sections 85.27 and 85.28.

Sec. 4. Section 85.33, subsection 3, Code 1993, is amended to read as follows: 3. If an employee is temporarily, partially disabled and the employer for whom the employee

was working at the time of injury offers to the employee suitable work consistent with the employee's disability the employee shall accept the suitable work, and be compensated with temporary partial benefits. If the employee refuses to accept the suitable work with the same employer, the employee shall not be compensated with temporary partial, temporary total, or healing period benefits during the period of the refusal. !! ~uitable work ~ not offered by the employer for whom the employee was working at the time of the injury and the employee who ~ temporarily partially disabled elects to perform work with ll, different employer, the employee shall be compensated with temporary partial benefits.

Sec. 5. Section 85.34, subsection 2, unnumbered paragraph 1, Code 1993, is amended to read as follows:

Compensation for permanent partial disability shall begin at the termination of the healing period provided in subsection 1 ef t.ffis see-tieft. The compensation shall be in addition to the benefits provided by sections 85.27 and 85.28. The compensation shall be based upon the extent of the disability and upon the basis of eighty percent per week of the employee's average weekly- spendable weekly earnings, but not more than a weekly benefit amount, rounded to the nearest dollar, equal to sixty ene a-IHl ene third one hundred eighty-four percent of the statewide aver- age weekly wage paid employees as determined by the department of employment services

CH. 1065 LA WS OF THE SEVENTY -FIFTH G.A., 1994 SESSION 142

under section 96.19, subsection 36, and in effect at the time of the injury. HeweveF, as ei' J-tHy- 1, ±9'fflt J-tHy-1, 19'7+t J-tHy-1, l!rnh and J-tHy-1, 1981, the maximum weekly beftefit ameuftt, FeulHled te the BeaFeSt dellaP shall be iHeFeased 56 that it ~ HiHety twe peFeeHt, ene hUHdFed twenty- tw6 aHd twe thiFds peFeeHt, ene hUHdFed fifty thFee aHd eRe thiFd peFeeHt, aHd ene hUHdFed eighty feuF peFeeHt, Fespeetively, ei' the statewide aveFage weekly- wage as deteFmiHed aOOve. The minimum weekly benefit amount shall be equal to the weekly benefit amount of a person whose gross weekly earnings are thirty-five percent of the statewide average weekly wage, eF- te the speHdable weekly- eaFHiHgs ei'the empleyee, whieheveF at'e less. HeweveF, if the empleyee is a mffiep eF- a full time studeHt ~ the age ei' tweHty five ffi aft aeeFedited edueatieHal iHstitutieH, the miHimum weekly- beHefi.t ameuftt, shall be equal te the weekly- beftefit ameuHt ei' a pei'S6H wftese gpess weekly- eaFnings at'e thiFty five peFeeHt ei'the statewide aveF- age weekly- wage.- For all cases of permanent partial disability compensation shall be paid as follows:

Sec. 6. Section 85.34, subsection 3, unnumbered paragraph 1, Code 1993, is amended to read as follows:

Compensation for an injury causing permanent total disability shall be upon the basis of eighty percent per week of the employee's average weekly- spendable weekly earnings, but not more than a weekly benefit amount, rounded to the nearest dollar, equal to sixty six and twe thiFds two hundred percent of the statewide average weekly wage paid employees as deter- mined by the department of employment services under section 96.19, subsection 36, and in effect at the time of the injury. HeweveF, as ei' J-tHy- 1, 19'tw, J-tHy- 1, W1'7t J-tHy- 1, l-9-19t and J-tHy- 1, 1981,- the maximum weekly- beHefi.t ameuHt FeuHded te the HeaFest 00lfaF shall be iHeFeased 56 that it ~ ene hUHdFed peFeeHt, ene hUHdFed thiFty thFee aHd eHe thiFd peP- eeBt, ene hUHdFed sixty six aHd twe thiFds peFeeHt aHd tw6 hUHdFed peFeeHt, Fespeeti'lely, ei' the statewide aveFage weekly wage as deteFmiHed abeve. The minimum weekly benefit amount is equal to the weekly benefit amount of a person whose gross weekly earnings are thirty-five percent of the statewide average weekly wage, eF- te the speHdable weekly- eaFniHgs ei' the empleyee, whieheveF at'e less. HeweveF, if the empleyee is a miHeF- eF- a full time studeHt tmdeF- the age ei' twenty five ffi aft aeeFedited edueatieHal iHstitutieH the minimum weekly- beHefi.t aHl6't:Hlt shall be ett-ual te the weekly- beHefit. ameuHt ei' a pei'S6H wftese gpess weekly- eaFHings at'e thiFty five peFeeHt ei' the statewide aveFage weekly- wage.- The weekly compensation is payable during the period of the employee's disability.

Sec. 7. Section 85.34, Code 1993, is amended by adding the following new subsection: NEW SUBSECTION. 5. RECOVERY OF EMPLOYEE OVERPAYMENT. If an employee

is paid any weekly benefits in excess of that required by this chapter and chapters 85A, 85B, and 86, the excess paid by the employer shall be credited against the liability of the employer for any future weekly benefits due pursuant to subsection 2, for a subsequent injury to the same employee. An overpayment can be established only when the overpayment is recognized in a settlement agreement approved under section 86.13, pursuant to final agency action in a contested case which was commenced within three years from the date that weekly benefits were last paid for the claim for which the benefits were overpaid, or pursuant to final agency action in a contested case for a prior injury to the same employee. The credit shall remain available for eight years after the date the overpayment was established. If an overpayment is established pursuant to this subsection, the employee and employer may enter into a writ- ten settlement agreement providing for the repayment by the employee of the overpay- ment. The agreement is subject to the approval of the industrial commissioner. The employer shall not take any adverse action against the employee for failing to agree to such a written settlement agreement.

Approved April 13, 1994