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House approves changes for workers’ comp medical payments

The House of Delegates has unanimously approved a plan aimed at cutting medical costs for workers injured on the job after a committee shelved a separate proposal to impose a medical fee schedule.

The fee schedule was favored by employers but opposed by both doctors and lawyers for injured workers. The fee schedule bill has been carried over to the 2015 session.

Winning approval in the House, however, is House Bill 1083 that would impose deadlines for medical payments and for resolving disputes over payment amounts. Currently doctors have no deadline for requesting additional payment for medical services provided to workers compensation patients.

The bill also would limit how much doctors can charge for other professionals who assist them in medical procedures and would provide for discounts for multiple procedures performed at the same visit.

The changes were sought by employers, including the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association.

Under the provisions of HB1083, employers or their insurance companies would have to pay doctors within 60 days of billing. Objections to a medical bill would have to be made in 45 days. Doctors would have one year to contest the sufficiency of their payment.

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