S-3603.3  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 6724



State of Washington   57th Legislature        2002 Regular Session


By Senators Keiser, Long, Thibaudeau, Prentice, Roach and Kohl‑Welles


Read first time 01/29/2002.  Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce & Financial Institutions.

Including mental health professionals under industrial insurance.

    AN ACT Relating to mental health professionals under industrial insurance; amending RCW 51.04.030; and providing an effective date.




    Sec. 1.  RCW 51.04.030 and 1998 c 230 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) The director shall supervise the providing of prompt and efficient care and treatment, including care provided by physician assistants governed by the provisions of chapters 18.57A and 18.71A RCW, acting under a supervising physician, ((and)) including chiropractic care, and care provided by a mental health professional licensed under Title 18 RCW, to workers injured during the course of their employment at the least cost consistent with promptness and efficiency, without discrimination or favoritism, and with as great uniformity as the various and diverse surrounding circumstances and locations of industries will permit and to that end shall, from time to time, establish and adopt and supervise the administration of printed forms, rules, regulations, and practices for the furnishing of such care and treatment:  PROVIDED, That the medical coverage decisions of the department do not constitute a "rule" as used in RCW 34.05.010(16), nor are such decisions subject to the rule-making provisions of chapter 34.05 RCW except that criteria for establishing medical coverage decisions shall be adopted by rule after consultation with the workers' compensation advisory committee established in RCW 51.04.110:  PROVIDED FURTHER, That the department may recommend to an injured worker particular health care services and providers where specialized treatment is indicated or where cost effective payment levels or rates are obtained by the department:  AND PROVIDED FURTHER, That the department may enter into contracts for goods and services including, but not limited to, durable medical equipment so long as state-wide access to quality service is maintained for injured workers.

    (2) The director shall, in consultation with interested persons, establish and, in his or her discretion, periodically change as may be necessary, and make available a fee schedule of the maximum charges to be made by any physician, surgeon, chiropractor, hospital, druggist, physicians' assistants as defined in chapters 18.57A and 18.71A RCW, acting under a supervising physician, mental health professional licensed under Title 18 RCW, or other agency or person rendering services to injured workers.  The department shall coordinate with other state purchasers of health care services to establish as much consistency and uniformity in billing and coding practices as possible, taking into account the unique requirements and differences between programs.  No service covered under this title, including services provided to injured workers, whether aliens or other injured workers, who are not residing in the United States at the time of receiving the services, shall be charged or paid at a rate or rates exceeding those specified in such fee schedule, and no contract providing for greater fees shall be valid as to the excess.  The establishment of such a schedule, exclusive of conversion factors, does not constitute "agency action" as used in RCW 34.05.010(3), nor does such a fee schedule constitute a "rule" as used in RCW 34.05.010(16).

    (3) The director or self-insurer, as the case may be, shall make a record of the commencement of every disability and the termination thereof and, when bills are rendered for the care and treatment of injured workers, shall approve and pay those which conform to the adopted rules, regulations, established fee schedules, and practices of the director and may reject any bill or item thereof incurred in violation of the principles laid down in this section or the rules, regulations, or the established fee schedules and rules and regulations adopted under it.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  This act takes effect July 1, 2002.


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