NEWS UPDATE: In prior posts we have kept you updated on the legislation known as SB 200, regarding changes in the current workers’ compensation system, which has been circulating through Tennessee’s General Assembly.
The proposal, introduced by Gov. Bill Haslam, intends to make filing a workers’ compensation claim easier and more efficient by selecting an appointed commission to handle these types of cases, rather than the state government.
On Monday, April 29, this proposal was officially signed into law.
Gov. Haslam approved “The Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Reform Act” after it was easily passed by both the state Senate and House, and was primarily carried through by members of the Republican Party.
In response to the new law, Ron Jackson, the Southeast region vice president of the American Insurance Association (AIA), provided a brief statement conveying their support: “AIA applauds Gov. Haslam for signing SB 200 into law and for his continued leadership throughout the legislative process. The Act is the right approach to providing much needed reform to Tennessee’s workers’ compensation system.”
Those opposed to the Reform Act, primarily Democratic lawmakers, insist that it does not address the problem of rising medical costs that are associated with workers comp claims.
“I’m afraid we’ll see it in a year or two and have to do something else with it,” commented Tennessee Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh about SB 200. “I don’t think this is going to turn out to be something very positive.”
Regardless, SB 200 was quickly and decisively passed by Tennessee lawmakers with a vote of 28-2.
What does the new legislation mean to you?
Essentially, the SB 200 will not cause any changes to how workers who are injured on the job are to go about filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, according to the bill’s primary sponsor, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga, SB 200 will provide Tennessee citizens with:
- Fewer delays
- Faster medical treatment
- Easier to follow claims process
- Better support when problems arise
For employers, the new legislation is expected to provide:
- Cost reduction
- More efficient claim handling