CHSWC to hold forum on 24-hour health care

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Nov. 10, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC) will hold a roundtable discussion on 24-hour health care on December 7, 2006 in Oakland.  CHSWC is a joint labor and management commission appointed by the Governor, Senate Pro-Tempore and Assembly Speaker.  The purpose of the commission is to study issues related to workers’ compensation and industrial safety.

24-hour care is a plan that calls for the combination of workers’ compensation medical treatment and group health into one line of insurance.  Instead of having two separate levels of medical insurance for industrial and non-industrial injuries, an employee would just have one insurer to deal with.  The theory is that combining the administrative functions of the two systems would reduce costs for employers and make it simpler for employees.

The proposal raises the following questions:

  • What do we do with the indemnity portions of workers’ compensation insurance?  Do we also seek a way to combine temporary disability, permanent disability and SDI?  The legal challenges to combining employer and employee funded benefit systems into one insurance package are significant and would require considerable legal review and revision of existing statute. 
  • Would employers be required to purchase 24-hour care policies for their employees, or would traditional workers’ compensation policies be available?  If there was a mandate for 24 hour care, then wouldn’t it be the same as an employer mandate to provide health care insurance?
  • Would the fee-schedule that dictates the price of treatment under workers’ compensation apply to this new system?  If not, what would the cost-implications be? 
  • How would we combine and align the various specific aspects of group health and workers’ compensation insurance?  Both areas operate independently on meticulously precise levels of legislation, regulation and case law.  With these situations as complicated as they are, would we actually be able to combine the systems?

Reducing costs in the health care system is a key goal for CMTA.  However, it is unclear whether the savings that could be achieved through 24-hour care would outweigh the potential risks of such massive reform.

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