Important Update as of September 22, 2022: SB 319 passed in Committee and now goes to the full Pennsylvania House, which is scheduled to return to Harrisburg on October 24, 2022. There are only six voting session days left in the 2021-2022 session. Opposition to this bill has been described as “formidable.” Now is a good time for those interested stakeholders to have their voices heard by contacting immediately their Pennsylvania House legislators to convey their opinion on restoring full employer subrogation rights.
There is a timely opportunity for all Pennsylvania employers, insurers and third-party administrators to impact a Legislative vote taking place this Wednesday, September 21, 2022. Specifically, in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the House Labor and Industry Committee has scheduled a voting meeting to consider restoring full third-party subrogation rights. You may recall that in 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court materially compromised those rights by deciding the leading case of Whitmoyer v. WCAB (Mountain Country Meats), 186 A.3d 947 (Pa. 2018). In Whitmoyer, the Supreme Court found that the employer was not entitled to collect anticipatory subrogation as to future medical benefits for someone who continues to treat, but who also secured a third-party recovery. To follow is what is about to happen, procedurally.
The House’s Labor and Industry Committee will now consider SB 319, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry’s legislation to address the Whitmoyer decision and restore an employer’s full subrogation rights. The House version of this Bill passed the same Committee along party lines some time ago, and SB 319 passed the Pennsylvania Senate last year. If the Senate Bill passes the House Labor and Industry Committee and then the full House, unamended, the legislation would then go directly to the Governor. Additional information from the PA Chamber can be found here.
As important stakeholders in the Pennsylvania worker’s compensation system, all employers, insurers and third-party administrators should make their voices heard by way of their government affairs offices or any other method that conveys support for this important Committee vote.
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