WCAB Urged To Continue Remote Hearings

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board commissioners heard nearly uniform support for proposals to continue allowing remote operations at the various boards and only limited support for resuming some in-person hearings. The Board’s proposal for a “meet and confer” requirement for Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund cases also received pushback from the head of the SIBTF. … Read More »

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IMR Usage Down 20% From Historical Norms

California’s independent medical review program is driving down much of the medical expense in the workers’ compensation system. But since its inception, usage has been far higher than expected. The number of IMRs – is still higher than the drafters of the Baker Workers’ Comp Reform – SB 863 expected, but full-year data for 2020 … Read More »

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Copy Service Fee Schedule Still in Play

The Division of Workers’ Compensation is reviewing pages of comments and over an hour of public testimony that offered both support and criticism of its proposal to update California’s copy service fee schedule. The proposal would increase the flat-fee payments by $45 or 25% and institute a new meet and confer process intended to cut … Read More »

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Pandemic-Related Claims Down in 2021

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau reports that claims from workplace exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus resulting in workers’ comp claims all but disappeared from March through July this year. But researchers expect a rebound in the second half of the year following the higher infection rates seen from the Delta variant. The Bureau is … Read More »

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Another Third-Party COVID-19 Claim

A California employer’s fight against an attempted third-party liability claim for COVID-19 is drawing national attention. Will it protect the workers’ compensation system’s exclusivity provision? The fight in state court mirrors another case where a federal court said workers’ compensation covers the claim, but here the trial court is prepared to let the negligence and … Read More »

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Med-Legal Costs Jump

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) is warning that costs for med-legal services are up by 67%. It happened when the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) rolled out a new med-legal fee schedule earlier this year. The Division called the new schedule a 25% pay raise for the state’s qualified medical evaluators. But the initial … Read More »

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Private Self-Insureds’ Results

Private employers that self-insure their workers’ compensation liabilities saw an uptick in claims and workers’ comp costs last year compared to 2019. Self-insured employers saw paid indemnity benefits increase by $25 million to a five-year high of $135 million. In comparison, medical costs dropped by $10 million to $132 million, according to the latest summary … Read More »

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Division Gets Pushback, Support For Draft QME Regulations

Draft regulations to boost the training and educational requirements for qualified medical evaluators (QMEs), including anti-bias training that the Division of Workers’ Compensation agreed to require of QMEs two years ago, generated significant feedback from employers and providers alike. The Division is reviewing 20-some pages of comments in preparation for starting the formal rulemaking process. … Read More »

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