Fifty shades of Brown (part 2): Temporary rule changes

Michael H. Jones

On April 10, 2017, the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division (WCD) issued WCD Admin. Order 17-052, adopting temporary changes to OAR 436 divisions -10, -30, and -35, bringing WCD’s claim closure rules into conformance with Brown v. SAIF, 361 Or 241 (2017). (Click here to read the Supreme Court decision.)

These temporary rules reverse the Appellate Review Unit’s (ARU) policy of adjudicating notices of closure based on conditions it deemed “directly resulting from the work injury,” regardless of whether those conditions had been claimed or accepted. The temporary rules make it clear the ARU will now adjudicate notices of closure based solely on the accepted condition(s) and any direct medical sequelae, consistent with the Brown decision. Likewise, permanent impairment will be rated only with regard to the accepted condition(s) and any direct medical sequelae.

The temporary rules apply to all closing exams, notices of closure and requests for reconsideration pending before the ARU as of April 11, 2017. However, this is but a fraction of Brown’s overall impact. WCD is holding a rulemaking advisory committee meeting to address rule changes necessary in response to Brown, currently scheduled for Thursday, April 20, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. Two of our attorneys will be present to weigh in on behalf of employers, insurers and third party administrators.

In the meantime, the attorneys at Reinisch Wilson Weier PC are always available to field any questions about the impacts of the Brown case.

Click here to read our blog regarding the Supreme Court decision.