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Program Focuses on Solving Workers’ Comp Issues

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After a successful pilot project, the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation rolled out a statewide program in October 2016 that has helped speed up the resolution of some disputes.

The program splits up related claim issues so that a hearing officer can decide the most far-reaching issue first. This can clear the way for secondary issues to be resolved sooner. In the pilot program, the approach helped speed resolution of many workers’ compensation disputes.

“We’re always looking for ways to stay on the cutting edge of workers’ compensation, and this process is a great example of finding a way to improve efficiency in the system,” said Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Ryan Brannan. “From what we’ve seen in the pilot project and in the statewide roll-out, the two-step approach to deciding some of the most complex issues in a dispute is a good option for system participants in many cases.”

Two-Step Program Introduced for Workers’ Comp

When an injured employee has a dispute about a claim, it often involves three issues: extent of the injury, the date that the employee reached maximum medical improvement and the impairment rating for the injury.

According to Deputy Commissioner for Hearings Kerry Sullivan, even though extent of injury is a “threshold issue” that can affect the other issues, it’s often addressed at the same time as the other issues in the dispute process.

“It can be challenging to come into a hearing and know there are so many alternatives for the hearing officer to address,” Sullivan said.

Parties in a dispute may base their arguments about impairment ratings and dates of maximum medical improvement on what they think the extent of injury should be. If the hearing officer decides a different extent of injury, then parties will often have to request more time to adjust those recommendations.

The new two-step program is voluntary, and the existing system is still used in many cases. The option to participate is presented by the presiding officer at the initial benefit review conference for cases that may benefit from the approach. The two-step approach is used only if both parties agree to it.

“The presiding officer usually knows going into the dispute whether a decision on extent of injury will move things along,” Sullivan said. “Deciding the extent of injury issue first can lead to a better outcome, a more efficient hearing, and more agreements. We’re pleased it’s been working out so well.”

The two-step program started at DWC’s Weslaco office in May 2015 and soon was expanded to Dallas. It’s now available at all 20 offices statewide.

For more information, call (512) 804-4010. blog picture of a green button with a phone receiver icon and 24h underneath

Further information on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .

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After being involved in an unfortunate accident at work, injuries and aggravated conditions resulting from the incident can often lead to a variety of painful symptoms and complications, if left untreated, along with missed days at work and lost wages. A new research study showed that workers who received regular chiropractic care experienced less work-related injuries.

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The information herein on "Program Focuses on Solving Workers’ Comp Issues" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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