WSR 07-22-093

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

LABOR AND INDUSTRIES

[ Filed November 6, 2007, 8:53 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 07-19-082.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Industrial insurance, WAC 296-20-1101 Hearing aids and masking devices.

Hearing Location(s): Department of Labor and Industries, 7273 Linderson Way S.W., Tumwater, WA 98501, on December 13, 2007, at 9:00 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: January 19, 2008.

Submit Written Comments to: Bob Mayer, Department of Labor and Industries, Tumwater, WA 98501, e-mail MAYR235@LNI.WA.GOV, fax (360) 902-4249, by December 18, 2007.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Bob Mayer by December 6, 2007, TTY (360) 902-5797 or fax (360) 902-4249.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The proposed changes will amend the above mentioned WACs to make the changes identified in this section.

The proposed revision will add language to the current rule regarding the current linear analog hearing aid replacement policy that became effective September 17, 2007. The purpose of this rule making is to ensure uniform compliance with the current linear analog hearing aid replacement policy.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: This proposal will illustrate the intent to ensure the current linear analog hearing aid replacement policy is complied with uniformly. The proposal also illustrates the efforts to improve the hearing capabilities of injured workers who have been issued linear analog hearing aids through their hearing loss claims.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 51.04.020, 51.36.080, 7.68.030, 7.68.080.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Name of Proponent: Department of labor and industries, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Bob Mayer, Tumwater, Washington, (360) 902-5021; Implementation and Enforcement: Robert Malooly, Tumwater, Washington, (360) 902-4209.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. These rules relate only to internal governmental operations that are not subject to violation by a nongovernment party, and per RCW 34.05.328 (5)(b)(ii) is exempt from the small business economic impact statement requirement.

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. These rules relate only to internal governmental operations that are not subject to violation by a nongovernment party, and per RCW 34.05.328 (5)(b)(ii) is exempt from the cost-benefit analysis requirement.

November 6, 2007

Judy Schurke

Director

OTS-1127.1


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 80-29, filed 12/23/80, effective 3/1/81)

WAC 296-20-1101   Hearing aids and masking devices.   The department or self-insurer is responsible for replacement or repair of hearing aids damaged or lost due to an industrial accident only to the extent of restoring the damaged item to its condition at time of the accident. If the hearing aid is repairable and the worker determines he prefers replacement, the department or self-insurer is responsible only to the extent of the cost to repair the original and the worker is responsible for the difference between repair and replacement costs.

When the department or self-insurer has accepted a hearing loss condition either as a result of industrial injury or occupational exposure, the department or self-insurer will furnish a hearing aid (hearing aids when bilateral loss is present) when prescribed or recommended by a physician.

The department or self-insurer will bear the cost of repairs or replacement due to normal wear and the cost of battery replacement for the life of the hearing aid.

If the worker has been issued a linear analog hearing aid and it becomes inoperable or if the worker is unable to hear, the department or self-insurer will replace the linear analog hearing aid with a nonlinear digital or nonlinear analog hearing aid in accordance with existing medical aid rules and fee schedules and at no cost to the worker even if the linear analog hearing aid is repairable.

In cases of accepted tinnitus, the department or self-insurer may provide masking devices under the same provisions as outlined for hearing aids due to hearing loss.

Provision of masking devices and hearing aids require prior authorization.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 51.04.020(4), 51.04.030, and 51.16.120(3). 81-01-100 (Order 80-29), 296-20-1101, filed 12/23/80, effective 3/1/81.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office