State of Arizona
First Regular Session
SENATE BILL 1332
amending section 23‑722.04, Arizona Revised Statutes; repealing section 23-941.01, Arizona Revised Statutes; amending title 23, chapter 6, article 3, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding a new section 23-941.01; amending section 23-1062, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to workers' compensation.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Section 23-722.04, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
23-722.04. Unemployment insurance information; disclosure; violation; classification
A. The department or the office of economic opportunity may disclose unemployment insurance information to the following entities:
1. Any federal, state or local governmental agency in the investigation of fraud relating to public programs or the misuse of public monies.
2. Divisions of the department, including the employment and rehabilitation services administrations, for program and research purposes.
3. The workforce Arizona council for program performance, regional planning and other program and research purposes.
4. The department of education to evaluate adult education program performance and for other primary and adult education program and research purposes.
5. The Arizona board of regents, universities under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents and community college districts to evaluate program performance and for other program and research purposes.
6. The United States department of labor, or its agents, or the United States census bureau, or its agents, as required by law or in connection with the requirements imposed as a result of receiving federal funding.
7. Department contractors or subcontractors, or their agents, for the sole purpose of providing for the processing, storage and transmission of information. This disclosure must be consistent with this section.
8. The industrial commission of Arizona, department of insurance or attorney general for use by those agencies, or their agents or contractors, in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of workers' compensation fraud.
B. On the request of one of the entities prescribed specified in subsection A of this section to the department or the office of economic opportunity, the department or the office of economic opportunity shall disclose unemployment insurance information to the entity pursuant to guidelines established by the workforce data task force established by section 41‑5404 and pursuant to a written data sharing agreement with the requesting entity in a form determined by the workforce data task force pursuant to the laws of this state and applicable federal regulations. The department or the office of economic opportunity may disclose the unemployment insurance information only after the requesting entity has demonstrated that the information will be kept confidential, except for those purposes for which the information was provided to the requesting entity, and that the requesting entity has security safeguards in place to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of the information.
C. Except as otherwise allowed by law or as otherwise authorized by agreement between the department of economic security and the United States department of labor, the department of economic security or the office of economic opportunity may not use federal unemployment insurance grant monies to pay for any costs incurred in processing and handling requests for disclosure of unemployment insurance information. The department of economic security and the office of economic opportunity, in consultation with the workforce data task force, shall establish a rate structure that complies with 20 Code of Federal Regulations section 603.8 for costs incurred in processing requests for disclosure of unemployment insurance information.
D. The requesting entity may not make public any unemployment insurance information that identifies an individual or the individual's employer. Any unauthorized disclosure, including security breaches, shall be reported to the department and the office of economic opportunity immediately. Any person who knowingly discloses confidential unemployment insurance information in violation of this section without prior written authorization from the department or the office of economic opportunity or authorization as otherwise provided by law is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.
E. The office of economic opportunity may use unemployment insurance information to perform economic analysis analyses, for the development of labor market information and a state workforce evaluation data system and for other program and research purposes.
F. This section does not prohibit disclosure that is required or allowed by federal law.
Sec. 2. Repeal
Section 23-941.01, Arizona Revised Statutes, is repealed.
Sec. 3. Title 23, chapter 6, article 3, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section 23-941.01, to read:
23-941.01. Settlement of accepted claims; exception; definition
A. The interested parties to a claim may:
1. Settle and release all or any part of an accepted claim for compensation, benefits, penalties or interest.
2. If the period of disability is terminated by the carrier or self‑insured employer, negotiate a full and final settlement.
B. Any full and final settlement shall:
1. Be in writing.
2. Be signed by the carrier or self‑insured employer and the employee or the employee's authorized representative.
3. Include the following attestations:
(a) The employee understands the rights settled and released by the agreement and was represented by counsel certified as a specialist in workers' compensation.
(b) The employee has been provided information from the carrier or self‑insured employer that outlines any reasonable anticipated future medical, surgical and hospital benefits relating to the claim and the projected cost of those benefits and that provides an explanation of how those projected costs were determined.
(c) The employee is able to handle the monies received in the settlement and, if appropriate, has an investment plan or plan to deposit the monies into a separately administered account.
(d) The parties have considered and taken reasonable steps to protect any interests of medicare, medicaid and the United States department of veterans affairs.
(e) The parties have conducted a search for and taken reasonable steps to satisfy any identified medical liens.
4. Include a description of the employee's medical conditions that have been identified and contemplated at the time of the settlement agreement.
C. A full and final settlement is not valid and enforceable unless the full and final settlement is approved by the commission. When determining whether to approve a settlement, the commission shall consider whether the settlement is in the best interests of the employee based on the following criteria:
1. Whether the employee's injuries are stabilized.
2. The permanency of the employee's injuries.
D. A lump sum settlement payment shall be made to the employee within fifteen days after the award approving the settlement becomes final.
E. The carrier or self‑insured employer shall notify the attending physician of the approval of a full and final settlement if the full and final settlement terminates the employee's entitlement to medical benefits. Unless medical benefits rendered before the approval date of the full and final settlement are subject to a dispute or payment for the treatment was included in the full and final settlement agreement, the carrier or self‑insured employer remains responsible for payment for the treatment not covered by the full and final settlement agreement as provided by this chapter.
F. Notwithstanding subsection A of this section, a full and final settlement may not be negotiated to settle issues resulting in total and permanent disability pursuant to section 23-1045, subsections C and D.
G. A full and final settlement agreement may not include the settlement of claims unrelated to the claim for compensation, benefits, penalties and interest.
H. This section does not apply to the settlement of claims that have been denied.
I. For the purposes of this section, "full and final settlement" means a settlement in which the injured employee or, if the injured employee is deceased, the employee's estate, surviving spouse or dependent waives any future entitlement to benefits on the claim and any future right to change the claim pursuant to section 23-1044, subsection F or reopen the claim pursuant to section 23-1061, subsection H.
Sec. 4. Section 23-1062, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
23-1062. Medical, surgical, hospital benefits; translation services; travel expenses; commencement of compensation; method of compensation
A. Promptly, on notice to the employer, every injured employee shall receive medical, surgical and hospital benefits or other treatment, nursing, medicine, surgical supplies, crutches and other apparatus, including artificial members, reasonably required at the time of the injury, and during the period of disability. Such benefits shall be termed "medical, surgical and hospital benefits"."
B. Medical, surgical and hospital benefits include translation services, if needed. A carrier, self‑insurance pool or employer that does not direct care pursuant to section 23‑1070 may choose the translator if the translator is certified by an outside agency and is not an employee of the carrier, self‑insurance pool or employer. If the carrier, self‑insurance pool or employer is unable to locate a certified translator for the particular language or dialect needed, the parties may agree on a translator who is not a certified translator.
C. Compensation for medical, surgical and hospital benefits shall include reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses if the employee must travel more than twenty‑five miles from the employee's place of residence to obtain medical care for the injury.
C. D. The first installment of compensation is to be paid no later than the twenty‑first day after written notification by the commission to the carrier of the filing of a claim unless the right to compensation is denied. Thereafter, compensation shall be paid at least once each two weeks during the period of temporary total disability and at least monthly thereafter. Compensation shall not be paid for the first seven days after the injury. If the incapacity extends beyond the period of seven days, compensation shall begin on the eighth day after the injury, but if the disability continues for one week beyond such seven days, compensation shall be computed from the date of the injury.
D. E. Compensation shall be made by negotiable instrument, payable immediately on demand or, at the election of the employee and if offered by the employer or carrier, by another commonly accepted method for transferring money by banking institutions, including electronic fund transfers to the employee's account or a prepaid debit card account that is established for the purpose of making direct electronic payment to the employee.
Sec. 5. Industrial commission of Arizona; review of authorization process; delayed repeal
A. On or before December 31, 2017, the industrial commission of Arizona shall review and determine a process for streamlining the authorization process for treatment that is within the evidence‑based medical treatment guidelines.
B. This section is repealed from and after June 30, 2018.