2017 New Mexico Worker’s Comp Update

2017 has brought some legislative changes for New Mexico Workers Comp Law. One of the updates reported in the Albuquerque Business journal is good news for business owners. The cost of Worker’s Comp premiums has come down through a combined effort on the part of insurers, employers and medical providers.

According to the Office of Superintendent of Insurance, costs could drop by an average of 9 percent in 2017, marking the second year in a row New Mexico businesses will see an average drop in the pure premium portion — the portion of the premium employers pay insurers to cover claims costs for job-related injuries and death.

http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2016/10/24/nm-workers-compensation-costs-to-drop-again-in.html

The New Mexico State Workers’ Compensation Administration posted their response to public comments regarding the 2017 Fee Schedule and Billing Instructions. The Administration commented on the use of cannabis for medical reasons in the work comp population.

Whether medical cannabis is reasonable and necessary for treatment of a work place injury will depend on each individual case. As with any other dispute under the Act, the parties may utilize the WCA’s dispute resolution process to resolve any disagreement regarding the reasonableness and necessity of medical cannabis usage among the workers’ compensation population and will consider changes in the future as needed.

New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration

Governor Martinez Signed Senate Bill 155. This bill, sponsored by Senator Jacob Candelaria tries to clarify worker’s entitlement to disability benefits when an employee refuses to return to work after an injury.

The new law would also allow for fines of up to $10,000 against employers who terminate workers for pre-textual reasons in order to avoid payment of benefits to the worker, or as retaliation against the worker for simply seeking benefits.

Senate Bill 155

The Albuquerque Journal reviews Bill 155 here. The sponsor of the bill, Senator Jacob Candelaria is quoted saying. “It’s commonsense,” he said of the changes. “It’s not about political party or ideology.” The bill was designed to protect employers from misconduct on behalf of an employee after they have returned from workers comp leave.

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