Workers’ compensation legislation goes forward

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, April 28, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On April 26th the Assembly Insurance Committee heard and voted on a large number of workers’ compensation bills.  This is an extremely important year in workers’ compensation as efforts organize to roll back the reforms embodied in SB 899, Chapter 34, Statutes of 2004 (Charles Poochigian, R-Fresno).

AB 1862 by Assemblyman Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) would alter the definition of "first aid" for the purpose of reporting workers’ compensation claims.  Current law allows for certain minor injuries to be classified as "first aid" if there is a one-time treatment and a follow up visit for observation only.  AB 1862 would have allowed for more than one visit for the purposes of observation, but Assemblyman Vargas amended his bill in committee so it only calls for a study of the associated issues.  It passed the committee.  CMTA was in support of this bill.  

AB 2068 by Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) would extend the provisions of current law that allow injured workers to pre-designate their primary treating physician.  CMTA is opposed to the legislation because it also drastically alters the conditions of pre-designation.  Similarly, recent regulations on pre-designation adopted by the Division of Workers’ Compensation allow an injured worker who has pre-designated their treating physician to obtain all treatment outside of an otherwise applicable Medical Provider Network.  The bill passed out of the committee.

AB 2287 by Assemblywoman Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) would replace ACOEM with new medical treatment guidelines for approving acupuncture treatment.  CMTA is opposed to this legislation because it is not needed.  Regulations that dictate utilization review practices already allow for the use of other guidelines to rebut the ACOEM presumption if the guidelines meet certain criteria.  The guidelines in this bill do not meet those criteria and should not be used in California workers’ compensation.  The bill was passed out of the committee.

AB 2590 by Assemblyman Rick Keene (R-Chico) would have altered workers’ compensation rules to allow injured workers to pay out-of-pocket for medical treatment that has been denied because of medical guidelines.  CMTA was strongly opposed to this measure because of the associated problems it would have caused with medical liens, temporary disability and more.  The bill failed passage.

CMTA will continue to oppose legislation that seeks to weaken the reforms that were achieved through SB 899.  Employers in California have seen pure premium rates drop by nearly 40 percent, and more reductions are being recommended by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau.  Put simply, the reforms are working and need to be defended. 
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