(a) The office shall, as provided by this subtitle:
(1) provide assistance to workers' compensation claimants;
(2) advocate on behalf of injured employees as a class regarding rulemaking by the commissioner and commissioner of insurance relating to workers' compensation;
(3) assist injured employees with contacting appropriate licensing boards for complaints against a health care provider; and
(4) assist injured employees with referral to local, state, and federal financial assistance, rehabilitation, and work placement programs, as well as other social services that the office considers appropriate.
(b) The office:
(1) may assess the impact of workers' compensation laws, rules, procedures, and forms on injured employees in this state; and
(2) shall, as provided by this subtitle:
(A) monitor the performance and operation of the workers' compensation system, with a focus on the system's effect on the return to work of injured employees;
(B) assist injured employees, through the ombudsman program, with the resolution of complaints pending at the division or department;
(C) assist injured employees, through the ombudsman program, in the division's administrative dispute resolution system; and
(D) advocate in the office's own name positions determined by the public counsel to be most advantageous to a substantial number of injured employees.
(b-1) The office may seek and accept grant funding to enable the office to perform its duties under this subtitle. This subsection does not authorize the office to seek or accept payment from an injured employee.
(c) The office may not appear or intervene, as a party or otherwise, before the commissioner, commissioner of insurance, division, or department on behalf of an individual injured employee, except through the ombudsman program.
Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 265 (H.B. 7), § 3.016, eff. September 1, 2005.
Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 289 (H.B. 1774), § 3, eff. September 1, 2011.