Oklahoma: Senate passes legislation to modify compensation for soft tissue injuries
Under House Bill 1600, originally sponsored by Rep. Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa, and introduced in the Senate by President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, employees who have had surgery or have been recommended to have surgery by a physician for soft tissue injuries may petition the state Workers' Compensation Court to extend their benefits. In the legislation, the term "surgery" is defined as a medical procedure involving an incision into the skin allowing insertion of an instrument or device through the skin for treatment or diagnosis. Coffee said this prevents injections or the forcing of fluids beneath the skin from constituting a surgery.
"Various cases have occurred that reveal our workers' compensation system is in much need of reform," he said. "House Bill 1600 prevents abuse of the workers' compensation system by clarifying soft tissue surgeries, so accurate and honest claims can be made."
If surgery is not recommended or recommended and not performed within 90 days, the legislation would terminate benefits.
House Bill 1600 will now go back to the House for final approval.
June 4, 2009
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