S.B. No. 1814
  relating to return-to-work coordination services and a
  return-to-work reimbursement program for employers participating
  in the workers' compensation system.
         SECTION 1.  Subsection (a), Section 413.021, Labor Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  An insurance carrier shall, with the agreement of a
  participating employer, provide the employer with return-to-work
  coordination services on an ongoing basis as necessary to
  facilitate an employee's return to employment, including on receipt
  of a notice that an injured employee is eligible to receive
  temporary income benefits.  The insurance carrier shall notify the
  employer of the availability of the return-to-work reimbursement
  program under Section 413.022 [coordination services].  [In
  offering the services, insurance carriers and the division shall
  target employers without return-to-work programs and shall focus
  return-to-work efforts on workers who begin to receive temporary
  income benefits.]  The insurance carrier shall evaluate a
  compensable injury in which the injured employee sustains an injury
  that could potentially result in lost time from employment as early
  as practicable to determine if skilled case management is necessary
  for the injured employee's case.  As necessary, case managers who
  are appropriately certified [licensed to practice in this state]
  shall be used to perform these evaluations.  A claims adjuster may
  not be used as a case manager.  These services may be offered by
  insurance carriers in conjunction with the accident prevention
  services provided under Section 411.061.  Nothing in this section
  supersedes the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement
  between an employer and the employer's employees, and nothing in
  this section authorizes or requires an employer to engage in
  conduct that would otherwise be a violation of the employer's
  obligations under the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C.
  Section 151 et seq.).
         SECTION 2.  The heading to Section 413.022, Labor Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         SECTION 3.  Subsection (a), Section 413.022, Labor Code, is
  amended by amending Subdivision (2) and adding Subdivision (3) to
  read as follows:
               (2)  "Eligible employer" means any employer, other than
  this state or a political subdivision subject to Subtitle C, who
  [employs at least two but not more than 50 employees on each
  business day during the preceding calendar year and who] has
  workers' compensation insurance coverage and who:
                     (A)  employed at least two but not more than 50
  employees on each business day during the preceding calendar year;
                     (B)  is a type of employer designated as eligible
  to participate in the program by the commissioner.
               (3)  "Program" means the return-to-work reimbursement
  program established under this section.
         SECTION 4.  Subsections (b), (c), (c-1), and (g), Section
  413.022, Labor Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (b)  The commissioner shall establish by rule a
  return-to-work reimbursement [pilot] program designed to promote
  the early and sustained return to work of an injured employee who
  sustains a compensable injury.  The commissioner, by rule, may
  expand eligibility to participate in the program to types of
  employers who are not described by Subsection (a)(2)(A).
         (c)  The [pilot] program shall reimburse from the account an
  eligible employer for expenses incurred by the employer to make
  workplace modifications necessary to accommodate an injured
  employee's return to modified or alternative work.  Reimbursement
  under this section to an eligible employer may not exceed $5,000
  [$2,500].  The expenses must be incurred to allow the employee to
  perform modified or alternative work within doctor-imposed work
  restrictions.  Allowable expenses may include:
               (1)  physical modifications to the worksite;
               (2)  equipment, devices, furniture, or tools; and
               (3)  other costs necessary for reasonable
  accommodation of the employee's restrictions.
         (c-1)  The commissioner by rule shall establish an optional
  preauthorization plan for eligible employers who participate in the
  [pilot] program.  To participate in the preauthorization plan, an
  employer must submit a proposal to the division, in the manner
  prescribed by the division, that describes the workplace
  modifications and other changes that the employer proposes to make
  to accommodate an injured employee's return to work.  If the
  division approves the employer's proposal, the division shall
  guarantee reimbursement of the expenses incurred by the employer in
  implementing the modifications and changes from the account unless
  the division determines that the modifications and changes differ
  materially from the employer's proposal.  If determined to be a
  public purpose by the commissioner, and in accordance with rules
  adopted by the commissioner, the division may provide the employer
  an advance of funds under this subsection. Reimbursement or an
  advance of funds under this subsection is subject to the limit
  imposed under Subsection (c).
         (g)  The commissioner shall adopt rules as necessary to
  implement this [This] section [expires September 1, 2009].
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2009.
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1814 passed the Senate on
  April 16, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0.
  Secretary of the Senate    
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1814 passed the House on
  May 20, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 129, Nays 11, two
  present not voting.
  Chief Clerk of the House