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Panel Hears from Injured Workers, Advocates: SB 899 “Appalling” Impact on Injured Worker Medical Care and Disability Compensation
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
 
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546, Steve@hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft 
 
 
 
LOS ANGELES, CA - Injured workers and their advocates told the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Director Christine Baker, and Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) Director Rosa Moran, yesterday the horrors they have faced since the enactment of SB 899.
 
"I injured my back in 1999. Ever since SB 899 was enacted, I have experienced unnecessary delays and denials. My medicine, therapy, and surgery have all been denied," said Michael McClendon, injured worker from Bellflower. "I have to go to court to order the insurer to approve treatment, even though I have been rated 100% disabled with medical and home care."
 
"SB 899 has had an appalling impact on injured worker medical care and disability compensation," said Brad Chalk, president of the California Applicants' Attorneys Association (CAAA). SB 899 has led to record-low medical care and permanent disability compensation for Californians injured on the job.
 
Permanent Disability cuts of 50% and higher have been imposed on injured workers under SB 899, placing California near the bottom of US states in compensating permanent effects of work injuries.
 
"Under SB 899, injured workers have seen their disability compensation plummet to near the bottom of the 50 states. Medical care has been delayed and denied to the point that many physicians will no longer treat injured workers," said Chalk, whose members represent those injured at work. "This is contrary to what was promised, and it is urgent the legislature and administration remedy this horrible situation for Californians who are injured while working."
 
"The only costs that are increasing are so-called 'cost containment' expenses - primarily the cost of Utilization Review (UR) and bill review - and medical-legal costs," said Chalk. "This is an area where reform is needed. The legislature needs to examine how insurers abuse UR to delay and deny legitimate medical care."
 
Permanent disability compensation has been drastically cut
Multiple independent studies, including studies conducted by the California Commission on Health, Safety and Workers Compensation (CHSWC), and the Administration itself, have documented fifty to seventy percent cuts in compensation for permanent disabilities.
 
Insurance carrier profits skyrocketed under Schwarzenegger's law
"Since 2004, when SB 899 was enacted, the largest portion of employers' premiums has gone to insurers' profits and expenses, not to injured workers' care or compensation for their permanent disabilities. Less than half of the premium collected from employers since 2004 has gone to provide care and compensation for injured workers, while insurance companies have recorded record high profit levels and pocketed more than $26 billion in profits," said Jesse Ceniceros President of VotersInjuredatWork.org (VIAW).
 
 
Posted 04-17-2012 11:09 AM by caaaAdmin

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