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Oklahoma State Senate
President Pro Tempore
Sen. Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City
State Capitol Room 422
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 521-5636

For Immediate Release: April 19, 2010

Sen. Glenn Coffee
Sen. Glenn Coffee

Bipartisan approval given to bills

Oklahomans are three steps closer to seeing relief in our state’s Worker’s Compensation system with the passage of three reform bills in the State Senate.

Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, sponsor of House Bills 1611, 2652 and 2659, said these bills would not only protect rights of Oklahoma workers, but also move towards a more business-friendly climate in our state.

“We have said countless times that Oklahoma’s Worker’s Compensation system has been in need of reform for years,” said Pro Tem Coffee. “Oklahomans deserve a system that is fair and efficient and protects the rights of injured workers.”

House Bill 2652 is the omnibus Worker’s Compensation bill and includes the following:

Defines “major cause” and “compensable injury”;

Exempts employers from liability for injuries arising outside the course of employment;

Requires the Administrator of the Worker’s Compensation Court to hire a vocational rehabilitation director;

Improves Oklahoma’s treatment guidelines by establishing the American Medical Association’s guidelines as the criteria for compensation.

House Bill 1611 allows individuals who have had surgery for soft tissue injury due to a physician recommendation to petition the Court to extend their benefits. In addition, extended benefits are terminated if surgery is not recommended or is recommended but not performed. The provisions in HB 1611 prevent employees from permanent impairment benefits unless medical evidence exists of a permanent anatomical abnormality.

House Bill 2659 creates the position of Medical Director of the Worker’s Compensation Court, and requires the Medical Director to have a medical license in order to serve. HB 2659 also lays out the duties of the Director, which is generally to oversee the medical maintenance of claimants.

Coffee added that several stakeholders have participated in communication on this bill, including those in the business, medical and legal communities. Pro Tem Coffee commended Representative Dan Sullivan on his work with this legislation, and applauded the bipartisan support of each bill.

“The Oklahoma Legislature took a strong stand today that will aid in developing accountability and efficiency within the Workers’ Compensation system,” said Coffee.

All three bills head to the House for final passage.

For more information, contact:
Sen. Coffee: (405) 521-5636

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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