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Category: Flash Bulletins

COVID-19 IN THE WORKPLACE: Updates on Legislation

February 15, 2023 As COVID-19 continues to linger in California, it remains an ongoing concern for state lawmakers. In response to this ongoing threat, California continues to provide updated regulations as it pertains to COVID in the workplace. This article will cover the recent updates adopted by the State of California. Non-Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations Up until present, the state has been operating under Emergency Temporary Standards as it pertains to COVID-19 Prevention Regulations. On December 15, 2022, Non-Emergency COVID-19 […]

New Timeline to set QME Evaluations: Amendment to Regulations for Medical Legal Evaluations

February 7, 2023 On February 2, 2023 the Division of Workers Compensation filed with the Secretary of State changes to Regulations related to scheduling, remote health (previously known as telehealth), and requesting replacement Panel QMEs. Updates were made to Title 8, California Code of Regulations sections 31.3, 31.5, 34, 46.3 and Forms 31.5 & 108. According to the Administrative Director, the driving purpose behind these amendments is to increase availability of physicians and reduce replacement panels that cause delays in the […]

UPDATE! California’s Governor Newsom Signs New Legislation Affecting Public Safety Employees

October 6, 2022 In an expected move given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, on September 29, 2022, Governor Newsom signed into law two workers’ compensation bills, AB 1751 and SB 1127, but vetoed another bill, SB 284. The signing of AB 1751 extends the currently existing presumption of injury for certain types of public safety employees and  when an “outbreak” of COVID-19 occurs at the place of employment.  These presumptions now expire January 1, 2024 instead of January 1, 2023.  AB […]

“You’re really here for a panel dispute?” – WCJ

September 6, 2022 When Labor Code Sections 4060, 4061, 4062, 4062.1 and 4062.2 were enacted, the panel Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME) process was supposed to be simpler and less costly. As is often true, the legislation did not necessarily achieve its intended purpose. While the number of QMEs on a case may have diminished, the litigation has not necessarily decreased. We are seeing panel “wars” and the disputes involve much more than just preferred panel specialty. How many panels does […]

Steps to Prevent and Combat a Poorly Written Medical-Legal Report

August 23, 2022 The WCAB must ground its decisions in substantial evidence. We practitioners must review medical-legal reports and any doctor’s depositions to ensure the medical record, when read as a whole, constitutes substantial evidence. If a review of the report and the entire record suggests that a judge cannot reasonably support a determination, then it is the practitioner’s role to develop and execute the strategy to remedy the issue. Preparing for a Successful Medical-Legal Evaluation A successful medical-legal evaluation […]

What Happens at Work Stays at Work? Bringing Covid-19 Home to Your Spouse

July 15, 2022 (update) The California Supreme Court has announced that it will address the questions posed by the Court of Appeal in Kuciemba. Specifically, the Court will provide an answer as to whether and how the derivative injury doctrine applies to cases when an employee is exposed to COVID-19 at work, and takes the illness home to other family members. Original Post Date: May 20, 2022 There is no question COVID-19 altered our existence as humans. Worldwide, the pandemic […]

New Workers Compensation Regulations and Guidelines: What’s it Worth?

June 1, 2022 There have been significant changes in workers’ compensation regulations and guidelines recently that have arguably increased the value of claims. In April 2021, The California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers’ Compensation’s (DWC) new medical-legal fee schedule went into effect. The new fee schedule drastically increases medical-legal costs and may prompt defendants to consider whether early settlement may be more cost-effective. Additionally, earlier this year, version 3.5 of CMS’ Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set Aside Reference Guide […]

Utilization Review Denials v. Utilization Review Deferrals

June 1, 2022 Ever since utilization review (UR) became a mandatory requirement for all medical treatment requests, there have been numerous attempts to challenge not only individual UR determinations and the timeframes in which they have to be made, but the entire UR framework itself. Usually, these challenges came in the context of UR denials; however, very few if any cases have explored the idea of utilization review deferral. Deferral of utilization review pursuant to Labor Code §4610(l) and California […]

COVID-19 in the Workplace: Current Trends and Legislation

February 22, 2022 The COVID-19 pandemic remains a significant challenge in California.  As of December 2021, California experienced the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases during the entire pandemic with 18.3 new cases per 100,000 people per day, and case rates increasing nine-fold within two months.  At that time, the Delta variant was the most common variant causing those infections, but as of January 2022, the Omicron variant surpassed the Delta variant, accounting for more than 99.5 percent of new infections […]

The Rise of Rebutting the PDRS and Derailing the Path to a 100% Award

December 6, 2021 The 2021 Summer CAAA Convention took place virtually, and while we always anticipate permanent disability will be a hot topic, this year’s Convention “zoomed” straight to strategies on achieving higher permanent disability awards. The Convention focused on using vocational evidence to achieve a 100% award. This unsurprisingly coincides with the seeming reemergence of applicant attorneys using vocational evidence to significantly increase permanent disability that we are already seeing in 2021. Several foundational cases have laid the groundwork […]