FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546, Steve@hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft
SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA), whose members represent Californians injured on the job, today called for collaboration in the implementation of SB 863. “CAAA supports the permanent disability compensation increases the Administration enacted, but we are concerned that some employees who are unable to return to their jobs will no longer be able to prove the extent of their disability," said CAAA President Larry Stern. "SB 863 makes many significant changes that will affect workers injured beginning January 1st. It is incumbent on the Brown Administration, and all stakeholders, to have in place the regulations and systems to ensure that workers receive their compensation without delay. CAAA looks forward to working with all stakeholders to accomplish this. Additionally, one particular issue that we are concerned about is the lack of judicial review of Independent Medical Review (IMR) in SB 863."
Independent Medical Review (IMR) in SB 863 does not incorporate the appeal procedure utilized by group health insurers pursuant to the Knox-Keene Act. This is of grave concern, and may be unconstitutional. CAAA also believes that with the introduction of this new IMR process, the costly and mistake-ridden Utilization Review process should be eliminated, as it is duplicative of the new IMR provision.
"We will work with extra diligence to make certain injured workers receive the promised increase in permanent disability compensation, and to minimize harm from the flaws we see in the law. We look forward to working with the Brown Administration and all members of the workers’ compensation community during this crucial period. There are entire sections of SB 863 that were written at the last minute and are undefined. It will take a broad team effort to help make sure those provisions are implemented to the benefit of injured workers," said Stern.