CAAA PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 27, 2015
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546, Steve@hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft
Las Vegas, NV- The California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA), whose members represent Californians injured on the job, convened more than 1,000 workers’ compensation professionals in Las Vegas today for a four-day convention. The majority of attendees are advocates for Californians injured on the job. The experts will examine the continued delay and denial of 3.5 million medical treatment requests a year recommended by insurers’ own chosen doctors, the failure of the Utilization Review (UR) and Independent Medical Review (IMR) programs to expedite and fairly decide medical treatment disputes, and the need to address and cure bias against women in workers’ compensation insurance.
The advocates for Californians injured on the job will also release findings from a statewide voter opinion survey. Key findings include:
- 62% of voters are concerned that women going through menopause receive lower permanent disability compensation for injuries on the job even though those women have a 50% higher injury rate than men doing the same jobs;
- 69% of voters disapprove of the practice, currently mandatory in California’s Independent Medical Review (IMR) program, that IMR doctors do not examine the person, but still have the authority to deny recommended medical treatment.
CAAA President Bernardo de la Torre said, “Workers’ compensation insurers have erected a system of blockades between injured workers and the medical care they need to return to work. The current system denies workers the right to be examined by IMR doctors who deny recommended treatment. The voters of California overwhelmingly opposed this system, and we agree with them. That’s why we are challenging the IMR system in court.”
“Women workers face bias, including a ‘menopause penalty, that blames work injuries on hormonal changes as older women continue to work. Insurers deduct permanent disability compensation for pregnancy, and provide zero compensation for injuries like mastectomies due to breast cancer. California’s working men and women deserve better.”
CAAA is sponsoring AB 305 (Gonzalez) to address some of these instances of gender bias. The measure has passed the Assembly and is pending in the Senate.
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