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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Under Bill, WA Workers Could Record Med Exams in Injury Cases

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Friday, January 20, 2023   

Washington state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would address some workers' concerns about the thoroughness of medical exams performed in worker's compensation cases.

House Bill 1068 would allow workers to record examinations of their injuries, which are known as independent medical exams or "compelled exams."

Joe Kendo, chief of staff for the Washington State Labor Council, which is made up of about 600 local unions representing more than 500,000 workers, said this bill would create the same standards for worker's compensation as other insurance cases.

"By allowing recordings, by allowing somebody who is not the worker's attorney to attend the examination," he said, "we'll get a much clearer record and will ensure that the docs who are doing the compelled examination are doing a thorough exam."

In a hearing on the legislation, Carolyn Logue with the Washington IME Coalition expressed concerns on behalf of some medical providers. She said it would lead to fewer doctors who are willing to do the exams, which could slow down the process.

Kendo said doctors' reports would be more complete if they included a recording for reference. He said workers have expressed concerns that providers are not performing the necessary examinations to assess their injuries, and disagreeing with the assessments can be an uphill battle.

"When the worker is appealing their claim, this is the evidence that they're having to bring before the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals," he said, "and then it just becomes worker versus the doctor in a very contentious setting and that's a lot for a worker to overcome."

Kendo said workers' livelihoods often are on the line in these cases.

"Their ability to retain their wage replacement benefits or get the medical treatment they need hinges on the opinion of these docs who aren't their usual attending physician or they're not the specialist that is treating their workplace injury," he said. "So there's a lot on the line."

An executive session in the House Committee on Labor and Workplace Standards for this bill is scheduled for today.


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