Permanent disability regulations delayed

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Oct. 22, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

At the annual Association of Workers’ Compensation Professionals’ Workers’ Compensation Conference recently, Carrie Nevans, the acting Administrative Director for the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), announced that the implementation of the permanent disability (PD) regulations would be delayed until July.

Earlier this year, DWC proposed regulations that would have resulted in a 16 percent increase in benefits and a 3.9 percent impact on the pure premium rate to take affect this fall.  However, several factors, including the delay of Ms. Nevans confirmation, put the regulations on hold.

Ms. Nevans also announced that the proposed regulations would be modified to eliminate the age adjustment to the PD schedule.  The California Applicants’ Attorneys Association asked DWC to collect more data before making a decision on it.  CMTA supported the adjustment because it would have addressed benefit equity.  We were assured that benefit dollars would be targeted to those injured workers that are most impacted by their industrial injuries.  

Based on data collected in 2001 and 2002, DWC concluded that the oldest (55 and up) and youngest workers (under 20) experience the greatest proportional wage loss when injured on the job. In its original rules proposal, DWC suggested creating formulas to adjust disability ratings to account for this disproportional loss.

Other items pending on DWC’s schedule include: Qualified Medical Examiner regulations, Medical Provider Network notices, and Electronic Adjudication Court Management System.  DWC also continues their effort to improve the "return to work" system including possible legislation to expand the use of supplemental job displacement benefit vouchers for items such as transportation, tools, and computers.

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