Ease delays in medical treatment and remove discrimination. That's the crux behind two of CAAA's sponsored bills being heard in committee this week, both scheduled for April 24th.
As reported last year in a study released by the Workers' Compensation Research Institute, California ranks as the slowest state in the nation for workers obtaining medical care from date-of-injury to date-of-treatment following the initial medical exam.
We sponsored Assembly Bill 1107 (Chu, D-San Jose) to help alleviate some of those delays so injured workers can obtain the medical care they need in a timely manner, heal and get back to work to take care of their families. The bill comes up for a vote in the Assembly Insurance Committee on Wednesday.
Another problem is the ability of physicians to use race, gender and national origin in determining the percentage of disability due to "other factors" in apportionment. Women who contract breast cancer as a result of working conditions will receive less benefits than a man who contracts testicular cancer from those same conditions. An African American could have their benefits significantly reduced simply because African Americans are more prone to high blood pressure, yet the injured worker in question could be completely healthy with normal blood pressure.
Senate Bill 731 (Bradford, D-Gardena) would prohibit the consideration of race, sex, age, sexual identity, religious creed or other genetic factors in determining the approximate percentage of disability caused by other factors before and after the industrial injury occurs. The bill will be heard in the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee, also on Wednesday, where two of our strongest advocates will be giving testimony.
The Legislature is given exclusive plenary power over California's workers' compensation system. We're asking legislators to exercise that power to better serve their most vulnerable constituents and protect injured workers.