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CS/CS/HB 553 — Workers’ Compensation System Administration

by Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee; Insurance and Banking Subcommittee; Rep. Hager and others (CS/SB 860 by Banking and Insurance Committee and Senator Galvano)

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Banking and Insurance Committee (BI)

The bill provides the following changes relating to the administration of workers’ compensation system in Florida:

  • Provides that stop-work orders and penalties assessed against a limited liability company (LLC) continue in force against successor companies of the LLC to the same extent (and under the same conditions) that they remain in force against successor companies of corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships.
  • Eliminates the requirement that workers’ compensation health care providers be certified by the Department of Financial Services (DFS).
  • Provides additional time for health care providers, carriers, and employers to file medical reimbursement disputes with the DFS, for carriers to respond to petitions, and for the DFS to issue a written determination.
  • Eliminates the requirements that: (1) the DFS approve the advance payment of workers’ compensation benefits in certain circumstances; (2) carriers submit reemployment status reports to the DFS for review; (3) a vocational evaluation always be conducted prior to the DFS authorizing training and education for an injured employee; and (4) the DFS serve as custodian of certain collective bargaining agreements.
  • Conforms the administrative fine under s. 440.185(9), F.S., that may be assessed against employers or carriers that violate reporting requirements with the $500 civil penalty per violation provided under s. 440.593(4), F.S., relating to electronic reporting. Currently, s. 440.185(9), F.S., provides for an administrative fine of up to $1,000 per violation and, for employers that fail to timely submit more than 10 percent of notices of injury or death within a calendar year, an administrative fine of up to $2,000 per violation. The DFS uses their authority under s. 440.185(9), F.S., to assess penalties for violations of reporting requirements, but it has never assessed a penalty greater than $500 per violation or against an employer based upon a percentage of late filings.

The elimination of the mandatory vocational evaluation pursuant to s. 440.491, F.S., will result in a reduction of $80,000 in state expenditures.

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2013.

Vote: Senate 38-1; House 114-1