The Vermont Statutes Online
The statutes were updated in November, 2018, and contain all actions of the
2018 legislative session.
§ 640. Medical benefits; assistive devices; home and automobile modifications
(a) An employer subject to the provisions of this chapter shall furnish to an injured employee reasonable surgical, medical, and nursing services and supplies, including prescription drugs and durable medical equipment. The employer shall provide assistive devices and modification to vehicles and residences reasonably necessary to permit an injured worker who is determined to have or expected to suffer a permanent disability, such as an ambulatory disability as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 2900 or blindness as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 2900, that substantially and permanently prevents or limits the worker's ability to continue to live at home or perform basic life functions. In determining what devices and modifications are reasonably necessary, consideration shall be given to factors that include ownership of the residence to be modified, the length of time the worker is expected to utilize and benefit from the devices or modifications, and the extent to which the devices or modifications enhance or improve the worker's independent functioning. The employer shall also furnish reasonable hospital services and supplies, including surgical, medical, and nursing services while the injured employee is confined in a hospital for treatment and care.
(b) An employer may designate the treating health care provider to initially treat an injured employee immediately following a compensable injury. Thereafter, the employee may select another health care provider upon giving the employer written notice of the employee's reasons for dissatisfaction with the health care provider designated by the employer and the name and address of the health care provider selected by the employee. The Commissioner may permit an employer to refuse to reimburse a health care provider selected by the employee if notice required in this subsection is not provided to the employer unless the failure to provide notice is due to excusable neglect or inadvertence.
(c) An employer shall not withhold any wages from an employee for the employee's absence from work for treatment of a work injury or to attend a medical examination related to a work injury. If the employee selects a new health care provider in accordance with subsection (b) of this section, the employer shall have the right to require other medical examinations as provided in this chapter.
(d) The liability of the employer to pay for medical, surgical, hospital, and nursing services and supplies, prescription drugs, and durable medical equipment provided to the injured employee under this section shall not exceed the maximum fee for a particular service, prescription drug, or durable medical equipment as provided by a schedule of fees and rates prepared by the Commissioner. The reimbursement rate for services and supplies in the fee schedule shall include consideration of medical necessity, clinical efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and safety, and those services and supplies shall be provided on a nondiscriminatory basis consistent with workers' compensation and health care law. The Commissioner shall authorize reimbursement at a rate higher than the scheduled rate if the employee demonstrates to the Commissioner's satisfaction that reasonable and necessary treatment, prescription drugs, or durable medical equipment is not available at the scheduled rate. An employer shall establish direct billing and payment procedures and notification procedures as necessary for coverage of medically-necessary prescription medications for chronic conditions of injured employees, in accordance with rules adopted by the Commissioner.
(e) In the case of a work-related, first-aid-only injury, the employer shall file the first report of injury with the Department of Labor. The employer shall file the first report of injury with the workers' compensation insurance carrier or pay the medical bill within 30 days. If the employer contests a claim, a first report of injury shall be forwarded to the Department of Labor and the insurer within five days of notice. If additional treatment or medical visits are required or if the employee loses more than one day of work, the claim shall be promptly reported to the workers' compensation insurer, which shall adjust the claim. "Work-related, first-aid-only-treatment" means any one-time treatment that generates a bill for less than $750.00 and for which the employee loses no time from work except for the time for medical treatment and recovery not to exceed one day of absence from work. (Amended 1959, No. 36, eff. March 12, 1959; 1961, No. 148, § 1; 1967, No. 122, § 5; 1989, No. 165 (Adj. Sess.); 1993, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1999, No. 41, § 1; 2003, No. 132 (Adj. Sess.), § 11, eff. May 26, 2004; 2007, No. 208 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 2017, No. 74, § 41.)