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9/28 - A Brief Summary of California Workers' Compensation News

Today's post will briefly examine workers' compensation defense news from around the state.

A.B. 933, a proposed bill that would require all physicians who provide services related to work comp/utilization reviews to be licensed in the state of California, was recently vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

(The following definition is provided for the uninitiated:

"A utilization review (UR) is the process used by employers or claims administrators to review treatment to determine if it is medically necessary. All employers or their workers' compensation claims administrators are required by law to have a UR program. This program is used to decide whether or not to approve medical treatment recommended by a physician which must be based on the medical treatment guidelines."- California Department of Industrial Relations)

According to Governor Schwarzenegger's veto message, the licensing requirement "would be inconsistent with how utilization review is conducted in other areas of medicine and not in line with best practices nationwide."

His statement went on to declare that "the proponents of [A.B. 933] have not demonstrated a need for this disparity in treatment."

The bill's original sponsor, Rep. Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, believed that the physician-licensing requirement would both increase worker protections and generate the necessary transparency in all utilization review decisions.

A.B. 933 was met with strong resistance by several prominent organizations, including the California Chamber of Commerce and the American Insurance Association (AIA).

Steve Suchil, western region assistant vice president for AIA, released the following statement regarding Governor Schwarzenegger's veto:

"We applaud the governor for vetoing a bill that would have added costs and delays to the treatment of injured workers. It would have done nothing to improve the actual treatment of workers. Medical guidelines are generally consistent across all 50 states." 

Stay tuned for further other developments in the area of California workers' compensation defense ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:
  
• 9/24 Legislative Update: Vetoed (Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger)
• AIA Comments on Veto of Costly California Workers' Compensation Measure  (Insurancenews.net)
• Division of Workers' Compensation - Utilization Review (California Department of Industrial Relations)

 

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