CA Gov. Brown’s Work Comp Reform Details

Governor Jerry Brown signed several workers’ compensation bills including legislation that controls the costs of compound drugs. Employers and industry experts say these actions limit employer costs this year while working toward a future deal to increase permanent disability benefits. Governor Jerry Brown echoed that any work comp reform “need(s) to be addressed on a broad and balanced scale—ensuring workers receive adequate, timely benefits and treatment while also ensuring that the costs of the system are sustainable.”

Bills the governor signed:

AB 378, authored by Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana), removes financial incentives associated with prescribing expensive and questionable compound medications. It has the support of labor and employers saving potentially millions of dollars every year.

AB 228, authored by Felipe Fuentes (D-Los Angeles), allows State Compensation Insurance Fund to provide coverage to the out-of-state employees of California employers.

AB 335, authored by Jose Solorio, (D-Santa Ana), prescribes reasonable rules for notices provided to injured workers.

AB 397, authored by Bill Monning (D-Santa Cruz), requires contractors to provide proof of workers’ comp coverage to get a license renewal.

AB 585, authored by Paul Fong (D-Mountain View), provides a cancer presumption for firefighters at NASA installations.

AB 878, authored by Bill Berryhill (R-Stockton), would require a workers’ comp insurer to report a contractor’s canceled policy to the Contractors’ State License Board.

AB 1168, authored by Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), caps fees for voc rehab experts.

AB 1426, authored by Jose Solorio, (D-Santa Ana), eliminates the workers’ comp court administrator position.

SB 457, authored by Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), requires WCAB to determine on the basis of liens filed, reimbursement for benefits paid or services provided by a self-insured employee welfare benefit plan when an award is made for reimbursement for self-procured medical costs.

SB 684, authored by Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), makes changes to requirements regarding dispute resolution and arbitration agreements in workers’ comp policies.

SB 826, authored by Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), would require an administrative penalty be assessed against claims administrators for violating data reporting requirements.

Bills vetoed:

AB 947, authored by Jose Solorio, which would have increased temporary disability benefits up to 240 weeks in circumstances where surgery or recovery from surgery has occurred after the 104 week cap.

AB 211, authored by Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), would have provided vouchers for additional training for injured workers.

AB 584, authored by Paul Fong (D-Mountain View), would have required California medical licenses for UR doctors.

SB 127, authored by Bill Emmerson (R-Riverside), would have required the adoption of the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for medical bills.

AB 1155, authored by Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), which would prohibit apportionment decisions based on characterizations such as race, gender and age.

All of us a Medical Legal Experts Medical Inc., share these concerns to reduce associated with claims while expediting treatment to injured workers. If you have a case that needs an independent assessment, a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) by Medical Legal Experts Medical Inc. provides objective data to resolve treatment issues and to contain costs.