Permanent Disability study and recommendations sent to Legislature

By CMTA Staff

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

The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC) on February 9th formally adopted its "Permanent Disability Rating Schedule Recommendations" study and sent it to the Legislature, despite strong objections by the employer community.  The comment period will be left open for another seven days

The study was requested by the Democratic leadership in the California Legislature.  In 2005 they requested that CHSWC complete an evaluation of the current permanent disability (PD) rating schedule and make recommendations on how to improve it.  For months CHSWC staff members have been meeting with stakeholders and attempting to ease the sudden impact of the release of their study.  Employer representatives who have worked with the commission in the past have been very skeptical of the preliminary findings.  Now that the study has been released, the skepticism has been justified.  

CMTA has many concerns with the CHSWC study:
  • First, it only evaluates summary ratings – ratings that result from relatively simple, non-litigated claims – and completely excludes the more complex consultative ratings.  Based on that limited data, they attempt to make broad statements about the performance of the entire PD system.
  • The sample size is much smaller than most studies conducted on the workers’ compensation system.  This accentuates any problems with the data.
  • The data used to evaluate loss of future earnings capacity comes from an outdated RAND study.  Since the passage of SB 899 much has changed for injured workers, and their outcomes should have improved.  This could have led to diminished loss of future earnings capacity.
  • The way data is collected in a study is very important. Conclusions of the study cannot be supported because the study and they are based on a flawed dataset.
  • The timeline to have a new PDRS published by 3/2006 and in effect by 7/1/2006 does not afford enough time for appropriate public policy debate on the merits of the proposal.
With the current deficiencies in data, the conclusions and recommendations cannot be validated.  CMTA is concerned because this study will be used as a policy making tool.  

Senator Richard Alarcon (D-Sun Valley) will hold a hearing in Van Nuys on February 24, 2006 to discuss the study and its implications.  CMTA and other employer representatives will be there to express our concerns.

Click here to view a pdf version of the CHSWC study.   
Read more Workers' compensation articles

Capitol updates archive 989898989