2011 Workers' Compensation Bills
 Oct. 19, 2011

Earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown signed several workers' compensation bills into law. But, the bills he vetoed may reveal more about his perspective in regards to workers' compensation than those he signed. It appears the governor was clearly trying to avoid burdening California employers with more costs.

Included in those bills Governor Brown signed were:

AB 378 (Jose Solorio D-Santa Ana), removes financial incentives that have been associated with prescribing expensive and questionable compound medications. This cost saving bill had the support of both labor and employers.

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

AB 335 (Jose Solorio D-Santa Ana), requires that several notices for injured workers be revised by the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC).

AB 397 (Bill Monning D-Santa Cruz), requires contractors to either provide proof of workers' compensation coverage or prove they are exempt from coverage in order to renew their contractor's licenses.

AB 585 (Paul Fong D-Mountain View), extends cancer presumption for firefighters, as provided by the labor code, to include government installations.

AB 1168 (Richard Pan D-Sacramento), requires that the DWC adopt a fee schedule for expert testimony on vocational rehabilitation issues.

SB 457 (Ron Calderon D-Montebello), requires Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to make a determination as to the basis for medical lien reimbursement when treatment was provided by a self-insured employee welfare benefit plan. Such liens shall be paid pursuant to the terms of the self- insured benefit plan and not according to the official medical fee schedule.

SB 684 (Ellen Corbett D-San Leandro), changes applicable law under which disputes are resolved and arbitrated as regards workers' compensation policies. It allows California employers to arbitrate disputes that arise in California using California law even where the policy may have been written in a different state, even if that policy includes a provision for arbitration of disputes using another state's law.

SB 826 (Mark Leno D-San Francisco), requires an administrative penalty to be assessed against claims administrators if they violate data reporting requirements.

Key bills vetoed by governor Brown included:

AB 211 (Gil Cedillo D-Los Angeles), this bill would have made a modification to the provisions for supplying the Supplemental Job Displacement Voucher. It would have changed it from after a Permanent Disability award to when Temporary Disability ends. It would also have changed the voucher amount to a flat $6,000 rather than the current structured amount based on the injured worker's level of Permanente Disability.

AB 584 (Paul Fong D-Mountain View), this bill would have required any physician performing Utilization Review services be licensed to practice medicine in California. The bill would also have created a different set of standards for Workers' Compensation Utilization Review as compared to the same services applied in a Group Health plan.

AB 947 (Jose Solorio D-Santa Ana), this bill would have extended the time for payment of Temporary Total Disability beyond the 104 weeks, provided the employee underwent surgery and the period of Temporary Disability extended beyond the 104 weeks. In its original form this bill would have eliminated the 104 week limitation on Temporary Total Disability altogether, but the bill was amended to limit its application to post-surgical claims.

AB 1155 (Luis Alejo D-Salinas), this bill would have placed additional language in Labor Code Section 4663 to prevent discrimination on the basis of "immutable characteristics" such as race, gender and sexual orientation.

If you have questions on any of the legislation passed contact us at wcgroup@cmta.net.

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