The 87th Legislature adjourned sine die on May 31, 2021. Presumption for COVID-19 emerged as an issue during the session, with most of the bills filed applying to the public sector. However, HB 396 by Representative Joe Moody, would have applied to nurses. The bill passed the House and ultimately died in the Senate Business & Commerce Committee.
Legislation of interest that passed:
- HB 1752 by Representative Tom Oliverson/Senator Charles Schwertner– Amends Section 410.005, Labor Code, to allow BRCs to be held via videoconference. BRCs may be held in person upon a showing of good cause. This was a recommendation from DWC’s biennial report to the legislature. Effective June 4, 2021.
- HB 1753 by Representative Tom Oliverson/Senator Charles Schwertner– Amends Section 1305.502(a), Insurance Code to change the requirement for the DWC report card to be done biennially by 12/1, instead of annually. Repeals the requirement that DWC do the following reports: 1. Evaluation of networks, 2. Report on legislative reforms, 3. Evaluation of WC health care network. This was a recommendation from DWC’s biennial report to the legislature. Effective June 15, 2021.
- SB 22 by Senator Drew Springer/Representative Jared Patterson– Creates a presumption for COVID-19 for first responders and other emergency workers, including custodial and detention officers. The presumption applies if: the individual is employed in the area designated in a disaster declaration by the Governor under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 or another law and the disaster is related to COVID-19 or SARS Co-V2; the individual contracts the disease during the disaster declared by the Governor (March 14, 2020); and the individual was last on duty not more than 14 days before the date the person tests positive for SARS CoV-2 or COVID-19. The bill was effective June 14, 2021. If the claim was previously denied between March 13, 2020, and June 14, 2021, the employee can resubmit, and the carrier must consider it. The deadline to reprocess the claim is June 14, 2022. The law expires September 1, 2023.
- SB 713 by Senator Dawn Buckingham/Representative John Cyrier – Pushes the Sunset Advisory Commission’s review date back two years from 2023 to 2025 for DWC, TDI and the Office of Injured Employee Counsel, among other agencies. Effective June 16, 2021.
- HB 2056 by Representative Stephanie Klick/Senator Charles Perry – Adds teledentistry to current services that may be offered using telecommunications or information technology. It gives authority to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners and Texas Health and Human Services to promulgate rules. DWC anticipates rulemaking to incorporate teledentistry into their telemedicine and telehealth services rule. Effective Jan. 1, 2022.