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Governor Brown decides fate of several work comp bills over weekend

In workers' compensation defense news, employers and insurers across the state of California are lauding Governor Jerry Brown for vetoing a series of legislative measures over the weekend that they say would have raised work comp costs.

Specifically, they are applauding the governor's decision to veto the following bills:

  • Assembly Bill 584 (AB 584): Sponsored by Rep. Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), the bill that would have mandated that all physicians/psychologists performing utilization reviews be licensed by the state of California
  • Assembly Bill 947 (AB 947): Sponsored by Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana), the bill would have extended temporary disability payments for work-related injuries from a maximum of 104 weeks within five years to a maximum of 240 weeks within five years
  • Assembly Bill 1155 (AB 1155): Sponsored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), the bill would have mandated that any cut in work comp benefits would need to be justified by a pre-existing medical condition as opposed to genetic predispositions or "risk factors" based on race, age or sex

"The governor recognized that now is not the time to increase system costs and litigation within California's workers' compensation system," said Marjorie Berte, vice president of state affairs for the American Insurance Association (AIA). "Now is the time to create greater efficiencies to benefit workers and employers."

In addition to vetoing these bills, Governor Brown also signed the following work comp bills:

  • Assembly Bill (AB 378): Sponsored by Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana), the bill places compound drugs (i.e., those drugs specially prepared/customized by pharmacists) under the pharmacy fee schedule and limits physician reimbursement for prescribing these drugs
  • Senate Bill 684 (684): Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), the bill would mandate that all insurance carriers submitting quotes provide written, up-front notification informing California employers of their intention to utilize arbitration as the primary dispute resolution forum, as well as the employers' ability to negotiate these provisions. Furthermore, it would mandate that all California employers have the right to decide if they want to negotiate/resolve arbitration disputes in California and under California law.

"Gov. Brown said yes to an important bill that will curb abuses in the workers' compensation system and he said no to several bills that would have increased costs or made California's system more litigious," said Mark Sektnan, president of the Association of California Insurance Companies.

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

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

Related Resources:

Insurance Journal "California Gov. Brown vetoes, signs workers' comp bills" Oct. 11, 2011

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