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The Bureau Bulletin - March 2018

News and Updates from the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation | March 2018

E-Billing Requirement

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Tennessee is the ninth state to join a growing number of jurisdictions that require workers’ compensation providers and payers to exchange medical billing/payment information electronically. Provisioned by Tennessee legislation back in 2013, providers and payers must begin to exchange billing and attachment information electronically beginning for all services provided on or after July 1, 2018.

This is not new to several providers and payers as some have already established e-Billing agreements prior to the deadline, some for many years. By following industry best-practices and nationally recognized standards, we hope this requirement streamlines the process and eliminates unnecessary steps, paper, follow-up calls, and improves coordination with the claims adjuster.


Annual Physician's/Attorney Education Conference

This year’s conference will focus heavily on medical and legal causation in workers’ compensation claims and will be a one-day event at the Music City Sheraton, Nashville on Saturday, March 24, 2018. 8.75 hours of  Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and Continuing Medical Education (CME) have been approved. Contact Jay.Blaisdell@tn.gov with any questions or registration needs.


Bureau releases a new sample document for employers participating in the Drug-Free Workplace Program 

The Bureau of Worker’s Compensation along with a TN Drug-Free Review Committee brainstormed ideas to simplify the implementation process of becoming a participant of the TN Drug-Free program. In doing so, the new Employer’s Implementation Guide was developed and recently released. The document is an easy-to-read guide that walks through the process of implementing and maintaining a TN Drug-Free program. This guide provides links to new templates that participating employers can use to simplify the process of drafting their drug-free company policy. Here is an actual email we received concerning the new materials:

“I was blown away this morning at the website update on the implementation plan and sample documents. I have not gone through them all, but excited to see something new we can share with our clients ” - Amy assists TN Drug-Free participants.


E-File Court Documents via TNComp

The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation recently unveiled its new “TNComp” electronic filing platform as a more efficient way to file contested case pleadings in the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. TNComp (for External Users) allows parties to view and upload documents to the court online. Not all case files are available at this time, but cases with DCNs (Dispute Certification Notices) filed after November 1, 2017 are now available.


Save the date for the BWC Educational Conference

Mark your calendars for June 6-8, 2018. The 21st Educational Conference will be held at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Sessions catered to a variety of interests

Employers, insurance adjusters, self-insurers, third party administrators, safety and human resource managers, plaintiff and defense attorneys, healthcare providers, mediators and medical and vocational rehabilitation providers will all benefit from the information discussed at this conference. Networking opportunities and valuable seminars led by key officials will provide incredible insight into the system that strives for relentless improvement for all parties.

Attendee Registration

  • Early Bird (before May 1) $350.00
  • Regular Registration (on or after May 1) $400

Registration fee includes conference materials and special functions, including two continental breakfasts, one luncheon, one reception, and to the Kids' Chance Auction.

Registration does not include lodging. A block of rooms has been reserved at the rate of $161.00 single or double plus applicable taxes. This rate will be available through May 8, 2018, unless this block becomes fully reserved prior to this date.

Net proceeds from this event, if any, go to International Workers’ Compensation Foundation, a non-profit organization, to further its work in workers’ compensation education and outreach.


Legislative Updates

HB1491/SB1798 (Reedy – Ketron): Creates a rebuttable presumption that a firefighter’s cancer that causes a disabling health condition is a result of the firefighter’s duties. Amends TCA Title 7, Ch. 51; 50-6- and 68-102.

HB1714/SB1615 (Lynn – Johnson): Removes the requirement that every workers’ compensation insurer that provides insurance for workers’ compensation claims in Tennessee be required to maintain a claims office or to contract with a claims adjuster located within this state. Amends TCA Title 50, Ch. 6.

HB2105/SB2141 (Halford – Gresham): Allows farm and agricultural employers to accept the workers’ compensation chapter by purchasing a workers’ compensation insurance policy; allows a farm or agricultural employer to withdraw acceptance of the workers’ compensation chapter at any time by canceling or not renewing the policy and providing notice to its employees. Amends TCA 506-106.

HB2304/SB2475 (Beck – Roberts): Removes termination date on the recovery of attorney fees and other costs against an employer in a workers’ compensation action who wrongfully denies a claim by timely filing a notice of denial and then the workers’ compensation judge subsequently finds at an expedited or compensation hearing that such benefits were owed. Amends TCA 50-6-102 and 50-6-226.

HB2333/SB2544 (Cooper – Tate): Prohibits retaliatory discharge by employer or other person for conduct relating to filing a workers’ compensation claim and authorizes an action by the employee as a remedy. Amends TCA Title 50.

HB2411/SB2543 (Thompson – Tate): Prohibits retaliatory discharge of employees under the workers’ compensation law under certain circumstances and prescribes certain damages available to prevailing plaintiffs under retaliatory discharge claims. Amends TCA Title 4; Title 8 and Title 50.

HB1978/SB1967 (Marsh – Watson): Provides that a marketplace contractor who acts as a broker or representative of a customer who seeks services from a marketplace platform (such as Handy, TAKL or other marketplace platforms) is an independent contractor and not an employee of the marketplace platform. Amends Titles 50, 56 and 62.

HB2392/SB2088 (Miller – Kyle): Rewrites the Healthy Workplace Act to designate certain acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying as unlawful employment practices and to require employers to adopt policies (including penalties) prohibiting those acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 21; Title 39 and Title 50, Chapter 1.


New Office Location in Gray, TN

Today, March 1, is the first day we are open from our new office in Gray, TN. We moved our Kingsport office to Gray. The new address is 5788 Bobby Hicks Highway, Gray, Tennessee 37615-3190 . Thank you to the Johnson City American Job Center for temporarily housing us during the transition.

Image Caption: New Courtroom in the Gray office.
New Courtroom in the Gray office.

New Phone Numbers

Appeals Board Dockett for Knoxville, TN

The Appeals Board Judges are set to hear five oral arguments on April 26, 2018 in the Knoxville Supreme Court Building. 


EMEEF Annual Report

When a person is injured on the job and the employer does not have valid workers' compensation insurance, it creates an economic domino effect. Read more about this in the Annual Report on Employee Misclassification & Uninsured Employer Initiatives that was published on February 1, 2018.


Thank you for saying, ''Thank You''

When contacting the Bureau, we hope the level of customer service is above what you expect. Read some feedback we have recently received.

LisaArmstrong

"Unfortunately, in today's hectic world, it is an anomaly to have somebody efficiently and effectively do even the basic components of their job description correctly, and it is genuinely a rare occurrence to have someone go above and beyond what is minimally expected of them. I wanted to tell you that over the past several weeks, or months, I have had the absolute pleasure of dealing with Mediator Lisa Armstrong, who in my opinion is one of those genuinely rare individuals. Not only did Ms. Armstrong do her job and do it very well, she also, for no other reason than to help, did what she was able to do to help me better understand what was and what would be happening and she was instrumental in helping me get through a difficult and complicated process with which I was not at all familiar. As far as I'm concerned, Ms. Armstrong is a valuable component of your operation and an asset to the State of Tennessee and I wanted you, as her supervisor/manager to know that." 

Sincerely, E. Rose

MarthaLynnLee

"Thank you so much [Martha Lynn Lee] for taking time to share your expertise with my students and the CMC trainees. I am very grateful for your thoughtfulness and generosity, without which our training would not be possible. If there is anything you ever need from me, please let me know. It was wonderful to see you. Warm regards."

B. Jacobs, UT Law Professor

Thanks for the outstanding work, Lisa and Martha Lynn. 

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