COMMITTEE REPORT




MR. PRESIDENT:

    The Senate Committee on Pensions and Labor, to which was referred House Bill No. 1241, has had the same under consideration and begs leave to report the same back to the Senate with the recommendation that said bill be AMENDED as follows:

    Delete everything after the enacting clause and insert the following:

SOURCE: IC 22-3-3-27; (03)AM124103.1. -->     SECTION 1. IC 22-3-3-27 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003]: Sec. 27. (a) The power and jurisdiction of the worker's compensation board over each case shall be continuing and from time to time it may, upon its own motion or upon the application of either party, on account of a change in conditions, make such modification or change in the award ending, lessening, continuing, or extending the payments previously awarded, either by agreement or upon hearing, as it may deem just, subject to the maximum and minimum provided for in IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6.
    (b) Upon making any such change, the board shall immediately send to each of the parties a copy of the modified award. No such modification shall affect the previous award as to any money paid thereunder.
    (c) The board shall not make any such modification upon its own motion nor shall any application therefor be filed by either party after the expiration of two (2) years from the last day for which compensation was paid under the original award made either by agreement or upon hearing, except that applications for increased permanent partial impairment are barred unless filed within one (1) year from the last day for which compensation was paid. The board

may at any time correct any clerical error in any finding or award.
     (d) This subsection applies to the modification of a claim arising from a compensable injury that occurs after June 30, 2003. The board has authority, upon application of an employee whose temporary total disability weekly benefit has been previously determined under this article, to recompute the employee's temporary total disability weekly benefit if all the following conditions are met:
        (1) The employee suffers a subsequent period of temporary total disability that occurs at least two (2) years after the later of:
            (A) the date of the initial compensable injury; or
            (B) the last date for which temporary total disability benefits were paid for the initial compensable injury.
        (2) The employee has been continuously employed with the same employer that employed the employee on the date of the employee's initial compensable injury.
        (3) The employee:
            (A) is employed as an apprentice under a contractual provision that provides for a United States Department of Labor approved apprenticeship with scheduled skill and wage advancement over time with each skill level having a higher wage level; and
            (B) has advanced successfully through the skill levels within the periods set forth in the contractual provision.
        (4) The employee's subsequent period of disability is determined by an agreement of the parties or by the board to result from the initial compensable injury.
    (e) A recomputation of the weekly benefit amount under subsection (d) must use the average weekly wage for the fifty-two (52) week period immediately preceding the date on which the subsequent period of temporary total disability described in subsection (d)(1) began.

SOURCE: IC 22-3-7-27; (03)AM124103.2. -->     SECTION 2. IC 22-3-7-27, AS AMENDED BY P.L.235-1999, SECTION 8, IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003]: Sec. 27. (a) If the employer and the employee or the employee's dependents disagree in regard to the compensation payable under this chapter, or, if they have reached such an agreement, which has been signed by them, filed with and approved by the worker's compensation board, and afterward disagree as to the continuance of payments under such agreement, or as to the period for which payments shall be made, or as to the amount to be paid, because of a change in conditions since the making of such agreement, either

party may then make an application to the board for the determination of the matters in dispute. When compensation which is payable in accordance with an award or by agreement approved by the board is ordered paid in a lump sum by the board, no review shall be had as in this subsection mentioned.
    (b) The application making claim for compensation filed with the worker's compensation board shall state the following:
        (1) The approximate date of the last day of the last exposure and the approximate date of the disablement.
        (2) The general nature and character of the illness or disease claimed.
        (3) The name and address of the employer by whom employed on the last day of the last exposure, and if employed by any other employer after such last exposure and before disablement, the name and address of such other employer or employers.
        (4) In case of death, the date and place of death.
        (5) Amendments to applications making claim for compensation which relate to the same disablement or disablement resulting in death originally claimed upon may be allowed by the board in its discretion, and, in the exercise of such discretion, it may, in proper cases, order a trial de novo. Such amendment shall relate back to the date of the filing of the original application so amended.
    (c) Upon the filing of such application, the board shall set the date of hearing, which shall be as early as practicable, and shall notify the parties, in the manner prescribed by the board, of the time and place of hearing. The hearing of all claims for compensation on account of occupational disease shall be held in the county in which the last exposure occurred or in any adjoining county, except when the parties consent to a hearing elsewhere. Claims assigned to an individual board member that are considered to be of an emergency nature by that board member, may be heard in any county within the board member's jurisdiction.
    (d) The board by any or all of its members shall hear the parties at issue, their representatives, and witnesses, and shall determine the dispute in a summary manner. The award shall be filed with the record of proceedings, and a copy thereof shall immediately be sent by registered mail to each of the parties in dispute.
    (e) If an application for review is made to the board within thirty (30) days from the date of the award made by less than all the members, the full board, if the first hearing was not held before the full

board, shall review the evidence, or, if deemed advisable, hear the parties at issue, their representatives, and witnesses as soon as practicable, and shall make an award and file the same with the finding of the facts on which it is based and send a copy thereof to each of the parties in dispute, in like manner as specified in subsection (d).
    (f) An award of the board by less than all of the members as provided in this section, if not reviewed as provided in this section, shall be final and conclusive. An award by the full board shall be conclusive and binding unless either party to the dispute, within thirty (30) days after receiving a copy of such award, appeals to the court of appeals under the same terms and conditions as govern appeals in ordinary civil actions. The court of appeals shall have jurisdiction to review all questions of law and of fact. The board, of its own motion, may certify questions of law to the court of appeals for its decision and determination. An assignment of errors that the award of the full board is contrary to law shall be sufficient to present both the sufficiency of the facts found to sustain the award and the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the finding of facts. All such appeals and certified questions of law shall be submitted upon the date filed in the court of appeals, shall be advanced upon the docket of the court, and shall be determined at the earliest practicable date, without any extensions of time for filing briefs. An award of the full board affirmed on appeal, by the employer, shall be increased thereby five percent (5%), and by order of the court may be increased ten percent (10%).
    (g) Upon order of the worker's compensation board made after five (5) days notice is given to the opposite party, any party in interest may file in the circuit or superior court of the county in which the disablement occurred a certified copy of the memorandum of agreement, approved by the board, or of an order or decision of the board, or of an award of the full board unappealed from, or of an award of the full board affirmed upon an appeal, whereupon the court shall render judgment in accordance therewith and notify the parties. Such judgment shall have the same effect and all proceedings in relation thereto shall thereafter be the same as though such judgment has been rendered in a suit duly heard and determined by the court. Any such judgment of such circuit or superior court, unappealed from or affirmed on appeal or modified in obedience to the mandate of the court of appeals, shall be modified to conform to any decision of the industrial board ending, diminishing, or increasing any weekly payment under the provisions of subsection (i) upon the presentation to it of a certified copy of such decision.
    (h) In all proceedings before the worker's compensation board or in

a court under the compensation provisions of this chapter, the costs shall be awarded and taxed as provided by law in ordinary civil actions in the circuit court.
    (i) The power and jurisdiction of the worker's compensation board over each case shall be continuing, and, from time to time, it may, upon its own motion or upon the application of either party on account of a change in conditions, make such modification or change in the award ending, lessening, continuing, or extending the payments previously awarded, either by agreement or upon hearing, as it may deem just, subject to the maximum and minimum provided for in this chapter. When compensation which is payable in accordance with an award or settlement contract approved by the board is ordered paid in a lump sum by the board, no review shall be had as in this subsection mentioned. Upon making any such change, the board shall immediately send to each of the parties a copy of the modified award. No such modification shall affect the previous award as to any money paid thereunder. The board shall not make any such modification upon its own motion, nor shall any application therefor be filed by either party after the expiration of two (2) years from the last day for which compensation was paid under the original award made either by agreement or upon hearing, except that applications for increased permanent partial impairment are barred unless filed within one (1) year from the last day for which compensation was paid. The board may at any time correct any clerical error in any finding or award.
    (j) The board or any member thereof may, upon the application of either party or upon its own motion, appoint a disinterested and duly qualified physician or surgeon to make any necessary medical examination of the employee and to testify in respect thereto. Such physician or surgeon shall be allowed traveling expenses and a reasonable fee, to be fixed by the board. The fees and expenses of such physician or surgeon shall be paid by the state only on special order of the board or a member thereof.
    (k) The board or any member thereof may, upon the application of either party or upon its own motion, appoint a disinterested and duly qualified industrial hygienist, industrial engineer, industrial physician, or chemist to make any necessary investigation of the occupation in which the employee alleges that he was last exposed to the hazards of the occupational disease claimed upon, and testify with respect to the occupational disease health hazards found by such person or persons to exist in such occupation. Such person or persons shall be allowed traveling expenses and a reasonable fee, to be fixed by the board. The fees and expenses of such persons shall be paid by the state, only on

special order of the board or a member thereof.
    (l) Whenever any claimant misconceives the claimant's remedy and files an application for adjustment of a claim under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 and it is subsequently discovered, at any time before the final disposition of such cause, that the claim for injury or death which was the basis for such application should properly have been made under the provisions of this chapter, then the application so filed under IC 22-3-2 through IC 22-3-6 may be amended in form or substance or both to assert a claim for such disability or death under the provisions of this chapter, and it shall be deemed to have been so filed as amended on the date of the original filing thereof, and such compensation may be awarded as is warranted by the whole evidence pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. When such amendment is submitted, further or additional evidence may be heard by the worker's compensation board when deemed necessary. Nothing in this section contained shall be construed to be or permit a waiver of any of the provisions of this chapter with reference to notice or time for filing a claim, but notice of filing of a claim, if given or done, shall be deemed to be a notice or filing of a claim under the provisions of this chapter if given or done within the time required in this chapter.
     (m) This subsection applies to the modification of a claim arising from a compensable occupational disease that occurs after June 30, 2003. The board has authority, upon application of an employee whose temporary total disability weekly benefit has been previously determined under this article, to recompute the employee's temporary total disability weekly benefit if all the following conditions are met:
        (1) The employee suffers a subsequent period of temporary total disability that occurs at least two (2) years after the later of:
            (A) the date of the initial compensable occupational disease; or
            (B) the last date for which temporary total disability benefits were paid for the initial compensable occupational disease.
        (2) The employee has been continuously employed with the same employer that employed the employee on the date of the employee's initial compensable occupational disease.
        (3) The employee:

             (A) is employed as an apprentice under a contractual provision that provides for a United States Department of Labor approved apprenticeship with scheduled skill and

wage advancement over time with each skill level having a higher wage level; and
            (B) has advanced successfully through the skill levels within the periods set forth in the contractual provision.
        (4) The employee's subsequent period of disability is determined by an agreement of the parties or by the board to result from the initial compensable occupational disease.
    (n) A recomputation of the weekly benefit amount under subsection (m) must use the average weekly wage for the fifty-two (52) week period immediately preceding the date on which the subsequent period of temporary total disability described in subsection (m)(1) began.

    (Reference is to HB 1241 as printed February 28, 2003.)

and when so amended that said bill do pass .

Committee Vote: Yeas 9, Nays 0.

____________________________________

Senator Harrison, Chairperson


AM 124103/DI 102    2003