In order to help the public better understand the Kentucky Workers' Compensation System, the legislature in 1994 created the Workers' Compensation Ombudsman program. The role of an ombudsman is spelled out in KRS 342.329.
Generally the ombudsmen provide five functions:
Serve as a neutral and reliable information source for employees, employers, medical providers and other program participants.
Respond to inquiries and complaints about the system and participants in the program.
Advise all parties of their rights and obligations under Kentucky Workers' Compensation Law.
Perform other duties as required by the Commissioner.
In 1996, the legislature created the Workers' Compensation Specialist program to further assist the public as a low-cost means to resolve disputes as to entitlement to benefits and expedite delivery of service to injured workers. Specialists perform many of the same duties as the ombudsmen.
In addition, specialists:
Assist workers in obtaining medical reports and other documents necessary for a claim for benefits and assist in completing claim forms.
Facilitate evaluation of injured workers to ascertain the feasibility of vocational rehabilitation.
All ombudsmen and specialists are knowledgeable about Kentucky Workers' Compensation and applicable procedures. Ombudsmen and specialists are located in three sites in Kentucky.