WSR 16-16-104
[Filed August 2, 2016, 9:16 a.m.]
Original Notice.
Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 15-20-092.
Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Chapter 296-15 WAC, Workers' compensation self-insurance rules and regulations, governs employers who are permitted to self-insure their workers' compensation obligations pursuant to Title 51 RCW.
This filing modifies WAC 296-15-4316, which addresses what a self-insurer must do when a worker elects vocational option 2 benefits. The existing language must be changed to conform to the provisions of RCW 51.32.096, a new statute enacted through chapter 137, Laws of 2015 (SHB 1496).
Hearing Location(s): Department of Labor and Industries, Room S119, 7273 Linderson Way S.W., Tumwater, WA 98501-5414, on September 19, 2016, at 3:30 p.m.
Date of Intended Adoption: October 18, 2016.
Submit Written Comments to: James Nylander, P.O. Box 44890, Olympia, WA 98504-4890, e-mail, fax (360) 902-6977, by September 19, 2016.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Ginny Klapstein by September 6, 2016, TTY (800) 833-6388 or (360) 902-6748.
Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The current language in WAC 296-15-4316 states that workers who are eligible for vocational retraining have fifteen calendar days from the date the rehabilitation plan is approved to decline further services and elect option 2 benefits instead. This language conflicts with the time frame established by RCW 51.32.096. The proposed language change will align this rule with the requirements of the new law.
Reasons Supporting Proposal: This proposal is necessary to conform to the provisions of RCW 51.32.096.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 51.04.020.
Statute Being Implemented: RCW 51.32.096.
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, Implementation, and Enforcement: James Nylander, 243 Israel Road S.E., Tumwater, WA 98501, (360) 902-6907.
No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. A small business economic impact statement was determined to be unnecessary based on RCW 19.85.025(3), as this change is being made solely to comply with state law.
A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. A cost-benefit analysis was determined to be unnecessary based on RCW 34.05.328 (5)(b)(iii). As stated above, this change is being made solely to comply with state law.
August 2, 2016
Joel Sacks
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 08-06-058, filed 2/29/08, effective 3/31/08)
WAC 296-15-4316 What must the self-insurer do when the worker declines further vocational rehabilitation services and elects option 2 benefits?
When the department approves a rehabilitation plan, the department will notify the worker ((will be notified)) in writing of their right to decline further vocational rehabilitation services and elect option 2 benefits ((within fifteen calendar days)). The worker must make an election within the time frame required in WAC 296-19A-600. When the worker elects option 2 benefits, the self-insurer must take the following action within five working days of receiving the worker's request:
(1) Terminate time-loss benefits with proper notification to the worker as required in WAC 296-15-420(9);
(2) Establish the total amount of the option 2 award and a payment schedule for the option 2 benefits that begins the date time-loss is terminated;
(3) Submit a Self-Insurance Vocational Reporting Form to the department. The Self-Insurance Vocational Reporting Form must include:
(a) The total vocational services costs paid since the date the worker was found eligible for services;
(b) The option 2 election form signed by the worker; and
(c) Documentation that includes the total amount of the option 2 award and payment schedule.
(4) Commence payment of option 2 benefits to the worker according to the established payment schedule. The first payment must be made no later than fifteen days after the date time-loss is terminated. Option 2 benefits may be paid before the department issues an order.