February 15, 2022- This afternoon, Associated Industries of Missouri President and CEO Ray McCarty testified in favor of two House bills. House Bill 1715 which deals with the collateral source rule and House Bill 1716 which deals with workers' compensation.
House Bill 1715 modifies the rule for determining the admissibility of evidence of collateral source payments in civil actions. The bill prohibits any party from introducing evidence of the amount billed for medical treatment if the amount has been discounted, written off, or satisfied by payment of an amount less than the amount billed. The actual cost of medical care or treatment rendered and discounts shall be admissible evidence relevant to the potential cost of future treatment.
McCarty stated, "The only amount that should be considered in recovery of actual costs are indeed the actual costs that are incurred by the plaintiff, not amounts that were never paid." McCarty continued, "Although we corrected this in the law a few years ago, clever plaintiff attorneys have continued to introduce evidence of amounts billed that were never paid in the cost recovery phase. This bill would reinforce the original intent, that costs that were never paid are not considered in the cost recovery phase."
House Bill 1716 modifies the definition of "prevailing factor" which is used to determine if an injury, that arises out of and in the course of employment, is compensable under the Workers' Compensation Act. The prevailing factor is the primary factor, in relation to any other factor, causing the injury, the resulting medical condition, the disability, and the need for treatment.
The bill also requires consideration of any savings or insurance of the injured employee, benefits derived from the employer's insurance, and any savings or insurance procured or sponsored by the employer, when determining compensation as specified in the bill.
Administrative law judges or the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission would have authority to order employers to make payments only to the medical provider or providers to whom bills are due in cases where they determine the employer is responsible for disputed medical bills.
McCarty testified stating, "Work should be the prevailing factor in any medical treatment paid for by the employer through the workers' compensation program."
The committee took no action during the hearing, we will keep you posted on the progress of the bills.