Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission Abolished

January 4, 2006

We’ve all heard the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately, that saying could not be applied to Texas’ workers’ compensation system for the last several years. Texas’ workers’ compensation system has had some of the highest medical care costs and missed work statistics in the nation. The system has been broken for quite some time, but the legislature has recently taken significant steps to fix it.

Step one: abolish the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission. House Bill 7, which addressed what could turn out to be sweeping changes in the system, started by throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Effective September 1, 2005, workers’ compensation functions are now performed by the Division of Workers’ Compensation, which is a new arm of the Texas Department of Insurance. Albert Betts, Jr., formerly the Chief of Staff of the Texas Department of Insurance, has been appointed as the Commissioner of the Division.

In addition, the Office of Injured Employee Counsel (OIEC) has been created as a separate state agency charged with assisting injured workers. Not only will the OIEC assist injured workers with complaints they have filed through the Division, it will also provide other services, such as rehabilitation and work placement programs.

Obviously, just changing the construct of the Commission is not enough. Legislative and agency rules changes designed to have an impact on the workers’ compensation system are in the works and are expected to be forthcoming as the Division’s operations are put into place. As a result, it will probably take some time to see the full impact of House Bill 7. Be that as it may, given the ineffectiveness and bureaucracy of the Texas Workers’ Compensation system, these changes are expected to bring nothing but improvement from a system that simply was not working.

Information about newly adopted or proposed rules will be posted periodically on the Texas Department of Insurance Website (

Firm Highlights


The Trifecta: ADA, FMLA, and Workers Compensation

A look into ADA, FMLA, and Workers Compensation from both the HR and Risk Management side. How do they work together? Listen as Kevin and Senior Risk Manager of Patterson Companies, Maggie Hobbs discuss...


Flextime in the Workplace

Is flextime right for your office? How do you keep confidential information confidential when employees are working off site? Listen as Kevin Mosher talks to Bill Kelly, HR Director of Vinco, Inc., about piloting...


Interviewing Tips and Tricks


Is Sexual Orientation Discrimination Unlawful? Supreme Court to Decide!

Listen to HR attorneys Kevin Mosher and Stephanie Rojo discuss sexual orientation discrimination and transgender discrimination issues and the exciting cases before the Supreme Court.  Will SCOTUS find that federal law protects employees and...


ADA Accommodations that Come with Fur and a Tail

Boa constrictors in the workplace?  Do we have to accommodate all employee pets?  Join HR attorneys Kevin Mosher and Laura Alaniz for a fun and informative discussion on pets in the workplace.   


Paid Sick and Safe Leave

When you think of Texas do you think of mandatory paid time off laws? How would Paid Sick and Safe Leave affect your HR policies? Join Kevin and Erin McNamara as they discuss this...


Fifth Circuit Decision Secured In Civil Rights Case

Dallas partner John Ross, obtained a favorable decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of his clients, El Paso Hospital District and two of its nurses, on civil rights, constitutional, and...