In 2012, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals decided Hale v. W.Va. OIC, et al., 724 S.E.2d 752. In Hale, claimant had a compensable claim for a back injury. Claimant was later diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and other psychiatric illnesses. The treating physician submitted a Diagnosis Update seeking to add depression as a Workers' Compensation compensable condition, and the claim administrator denied the request on several grounds, most pertinent of which was that the initial diagnosis and treatment were not pre-authorized, as required by administrative rule.
In past sessions, several bills were proposed that would have dismantled statutory reforms to the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Act and returned West Virginia to the days of "liberal" evidentiary interpretation in Workers' Compensation matters. Notably, these bills would have eliminated the medical management rule known as "Rule 20" and given the treating physician almost complete discretion and authority to offer any treatment and add any conditions to the claim; eliminated the preponderance of the evidence standard for evidentiary interpretation and reinstated the "rule of liberality;" and created or re-created benefits which are not currently payable. Similar measures have been introduced this session, but it is not expected that any of these proposals will gain traction.