Its Done! Hoch Confirmed as Work Comp. Administrative Director

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, April 29, 2005 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

After four and a half hours of testimony and questioning before the Senate Rules Committee on April 27th, Andrea Hoch was confirmed by a 3-2 vote as Administrative Director, Division of Workers’ Compensation.  Senators Jim Batten (R-La Quinta) and George Runner (R-Antelope Valley) were joined by Committee Chair, Senate pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) voting in favor of her confirmation. 

Senators Debra Bowen (D-Marina del Rey) and Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) voted against her confirmation.  Bowen indicated that when she voted in favor of SB 899 (the workers’ compensation highlight of 2004 legislation by Chuck Poochigian, R-Fresno), it was premised on injured workers not being harmed.  Both Senators said they would not have voted for the bill if they had known that workers would lose benefits. 

Ms. Hoch received overwhelming support from the business community who lined up to testify on her behalf.  Employers praised her managerial and administrative skills and her ability to move very difficult and complex issues along in order to meet tight statutory deadlines to issue regulations.  As a result of her efforts, the vast majority of regulations from SB 899 have been issued and employers are already beginning to see reductions in workers’ compensation costs.

As expected, organized labor joined by the California Applicant Attorneys Association (CAAA) and Voters Injured at Work (VIAW) vigorously opposed her confirmation.  VIAW is a new group believed to be created and sponsored by CAAA.  While regulations were criticized in general, the primary focus of organized labor was on the permanent disability rating schedule (PDRS). 

Labor insists that the regulation on PDRS violates a deal struck last year between the Governor and Democratic legislative leaders that was crucial in getting SB 899 passed.  According to labor, the regulation would cut many permanent disability benefits awards by up to 70 percent.  Labor contends that the deal with the Governor was that truly injured workers benefits would not be cut by the bill.  CAAA and VIAW also sharply criticized regulations on medical provider networks, claiming that insurers are using them to deny medical treatment.

The last day that Hoch could stay in office without confirmation by the Senate would have been May 1st.  Facing this deadline, the Senate Rules Committee acted quickly to bring their recommendation for confirmation to the Senate Floor on April 28th.  The Senate voted 27-7 to confirm Ms. Hoch.

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