Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Promulgates New Rule on Employer Workers’ Compensation Obligations

Effective March 22, 2015, Tennessee (“TN”) employers must immediately provide an injured employee, other than a minor injury which requires no medical treatment, with a panel of physicians that meets the statutory requirements for treatment of the injury.

In addition, employers must also provide the injured employee with a new medical panel of appropriate specialists within three (3) business days when the treating physician makes a referral to a specific specialist. Employers should ensure that they keep copies of the referrals. Receipt of the referral shall be accomplished whenever a copy of the referral is received at the employer’s or carrier’s place of business by facsimile, email, post, hand delivery, or commercial delivery service.

TN employers will be assessed a civil penalty up to $5,000.00 for failing to provide employees with a panel of physicians within five (5) business days from the date the employer had first knowledge of the injury or if the employer provides a panel of physicians that does not meet the statutory requirements on more than one (1) occasion for the same injury.

Other penalties can range from $50.00 up to $5,000.00 against any person or entity for any of the following acts:

  • Failing to attend a scheduled alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding;
  • Arriving more than thirty (30) minutes late to a scheduled ADR proceeding
    without previously notifying the mediator of their tardiness;
  • Denying or discontinuing benefits for a claim of temporary disability or medical
    benefits without first performing a reasonable investigation;
  • Providing medical providers on a panel that the party knew, should have known,
    or had good reason to believe, would not be able to provide treatment for the
    injured employee;
  • Providing medical providers on a panel in an untimely manner;
  • Failing to comply within a reasonable amount of time with any appropriate
    request or directive of an ombudsman;
  • Failing to provide timely documents as required by the statute or regulations;
  • Failing to provide a representative with authority to settle a case at an ADR
    proceeding; or
  • Failing to comply with any order of a Workers’ Compensation Judge in a timely
    fashion or who performed any act that constitutes contempt of court.

For more information about the new obligations under the TN Division of Workers’ Compensation, please visit: http://www.tn.gov/sos/rules_filings/12-22-14.pdf. Find out more about C2’s Federal and State Government Regulation Services.