Should the COVID-19 Presumption Be Permanent?

The Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee passed on a 4-1 vote a bill to extend several rebuttable presumptions to frontline workers in acute care hospitals, including a permanent presumption for COVID-19 infections. The bill, SB 213 by committee chair Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose), covers a range of infectious diseases, cancers, musculoskeletal injuries, … Read More »

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CHSWC Commissioners Pull Study Over Labor’s Concerns

Instead of approving the adoption of a research report on musculoskeletal injuries among California firefighters, the Commission on Health, Safety and Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC) instead pulled the study from its website. Commissioners are now demanding a new tete-a-tete with the report’s authors. Labor representatives to the Commission prompted the move because of  concerns about the … Read More »

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Pressure’s Building For Automatic RTW Fund Payments

Labor representatives to the Commission on Health, Safety and Workers’ Compensation are increasing pressure on the Department of Industrial Relations to increase payouts from California’s $120 million Return-to-Work Supplemental fund. A recent study opines the program is being grossly underutilized. The commissioners maintain that the best way to improve the situation – rather than to … Read More »

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DWC Faces Pushback Over Med-Legal Billing Proposal

The Division of Workers’ Compensation’s draft proposal to update the state’s medical-legal billing regulations is generating strong pushback from California’s workers’ comp provider community. Published informally on its forum page, the Division was flooded with hundreds of pages of comments. Such postings typically generate only a few dozen pages. Shall we follow the money. The … Read More »

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State Looks To Regional Pricing For Physicians

The Division of Workers’ Compensation is proposing to adopt a new physician payment schedule that will adjust payments to where in the state a doctor practices medicine. The move would end the state’s use of a single, average payment modifier in favor to the multiple modifiers that the federal Medicare system uses to adjust rates … Read More »

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Workers’ Comp Anti-Fraud Efforts Probed

The California Department of Insurance, the Department of Industrial Relations, and some of California’s district attorneys are bracing themselves for an expansive audit of their workers’ compensation anti-fraud efforts. The scope of the audit suggests that enforcement efforts, specifically the investigation and prosecution of fraud cases are a significant focus. The funds to pay for … Read More »

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Wage Replacement Improved After Reforms, Study Finds

A key goal of the SB 863 workers’ comp reforms was to put more indemnity benefit payments into the pockets of injured workers. New research confirms the reform legislation was a success on this front. Data from researchers at Rand show that compensation for permanent partial disabilities are at levels not seen since before the … Read More »

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Senator Asks For Fraud Fighting Review

Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Los Angeles) is demanding a comprehensive review of the state’s anti-fraud efforts. Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) considered but then backed away from a demand for a formal audit of the same. The chairs of the Assembly and Senate committees overseeing workers’ compensation issues are taking a keen interest in the state’s billion … Read More »

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