Workers’ compensation bills head to the Governor

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Aug. 27, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Although Governor Schwarzenegger has vowed to veto any legislation that arrives on his desk prior to passage of a budget, the Legislature has passed hundreds of bills, but is holding them in enrollment. Two of which would have a significant impact on California’s Workers’ Compensation system.  Throughout the legislative process, the votes for SB 1338 (Carole Migden, D-San Francisco) and SB 1115 (Migden) reflected a clear divide between Democrats and Republicans.

SB 1338 would eliminate the sunset on a provision that currently allows for employees to pre-designate their physicians for work injuries.  This would make pre-designation permanent and would impact the long-term stability of the Medical Provider Networks (MPN).  Currently MPNs allow employers to see that injured employees are treated by medical professionals with ample experience in industrial medicine and also have the knowledge needed to navigate the often complicated workers’ compensation system.

SB 1115 would prohibit apportionment on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, age, gender, marital status, sex, or genetic predisposition - something that the law already prohibits.   The bill will weaken the apportionment statute and allow judges to overrule apportionments even when they were based on findings of actual previous disability.  Attorneys will challenge apportionments to increase the permanent disability awards of their clients, leading to increased litigation and indemnity costs for employers.

CMTA strongly opposes both of these bills and will ask Governor Schwarzenegger for a veto in order to preserve the landmark workers’ compensation reforms he put in place.

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