Workers compensation is a no-fault insurance program administered by the State of Colorado. Available to most employees in Colorado, legislation to create the program was enacted in 1915 and the rules and guidelines that govern the program continue to evolve in response to the needs of injured workers and changes in current medical practice.
In 2012, the Colorado General Assembly amended portions of the Workers’ Compensation Act. While certain amendments were effective that year, others became effective early this year. Some of the amendments include the following:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment guidelines: Revised in November, 2012, these comprehensive new treatment guidelines were effective January 14 of this year. Revisiting general and specific principles of TBI treatment, these medical guidelines are essential for workers diagnosed with a mild to severe brain injury.
- Utilization standards: Effective as of January 1 of this year, this rule establishes standard terminology, procedure and dispute resolution mechanisms necessary to administer medical guidelines and the current medical fee schedule.
- Medical fee schedule: Also effective January 1, 2013, the fee schedule defines and establishes maximum fees payable for medical services under the workers comp program.
- Workers compensation premium surcharges: Signed in May 2012 and effective on July 1, 2012, this Act assigns premium surcharges to insurers to fund criminal investigations associated with insurance fraud.
Other recent amendments provided a life expectancy chart and addressed the authority of the Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation to impose penalties on insurers relative to compliance audits.
While constituting fine print, these revisions detail important rules for those needing help after injury in the workplace. Though many rules have changed, the intent remains what it was in 1915 — compensation and medical service for injured workers to recover and return to work when possible.