On August 3, 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month, which is now more commonly referred to as National Native American Heritage Month.
This month, we celebrate indigenous peoples past and present and dedicate ourselves to honoring Native American culture, sovereignty, and determination.
As we celebrate the holiday season, we at Mullen & Filippi are grateful for the contributions that each of you bring to our community and our nation.
DWC EXTENDS EMERGENCY REGULATION 46.3 THROUGH JANUARY 18, 2023
On October 19, 2022, the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) announced that emergency regulation Section 46.3, which became effective on January 18, 2022, has been extended until January 18, 2023.
Emergency Regulation Section 46.3 allows medical-legal evaluations to be performed via telemedicine by electronic means, where the physician and the injured worker are not in the same physical space during the examination.
According to the DIR, this is the DWC’s second and final re-adoption of the emergency regulation, pursuant to Government Code Section 11346.1(h).
DWC POSTS DRAFT REGULATIONS FOR UPDATING EAMS RULES
The DWC recently posted proposed changes to its Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS) rules to its online forum for the public’s review and comment.
The proposed changes allow for submission of documents with electronic signatures and allow for electronic filing and service of all “WCAB case related documents” in EAMS, rather than requiring service by mail.
According to the DIR, “[t]he proposed changes will update the California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Chapter 4.5, Division of Workers’ Compensation, Subchapter 1.8.5, Electronic Adjudication Management System Rules, Sections 10205.4, 10205.5, 10205.6, 10205.9, 10205.10, 10205.11, 10205.12, 10206.1 and 10206.2.”
The proposed changes are meant to improve the efficiency of the EAMS filing system and reduce costs for expenses relating to paper and postage.
DWC INVITES COMMENT TO IMPROVE THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SYSTEM AT IN-PERSON PUBLIC MEETING
On November 9, 2022, the DIR announced that the DWC will hold an in-person meeting for the public in Oakland on December 6, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. to hear ideas on how to improve California’s workers’ compensation system.
The DWC invites all members of the community, including employers, injured workers, carriers, attorneys, and healthcare providers, to share ideas and suggestions on how to improve any area of the system. Each speaker will have 5 minutes to share comments.
Although we can all agree that California’s workers’ compensation system is imperfect, we recognize that it is ever evolving and hope that meetings like these will assist with improvements.
CWCI: CA ACCOUNTED FOR 20.1% OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS PAID IN 2020
According to WorkCompCentral, the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) released a bulletin on November 14, 2022, stating that California accounts for 20.1% of the $58.9 billion in medical and indemnity benefits paid to injured workers throughout the country.
“Although California was hit hard by COVID-19 and the ensuing recession in 2020, the state’s workers’ compensation system remained the largest in the country, with more than 16.1 million covered jobs, nearly $1.28 trillion in covered wages and close to $11.9 billion in benefits payments – just slightly below the combined total for New York, Florida and Pennsylvania, which ranked second, third and fourth, respectively, and more than 3.6 times the total paid to injured workers under federal programs,” the CWCI said.
ATTORNEY ORDERED TO PAY $700,000 AND SERVE FOUR YEARS IN PRISON FOR PARTICIPATION IN REFERREAL SCHEMES
As noted in last month’s bulletin, Jon Woods, a Southern California applicant’s attorney, was recently convicted on 37 counts of insurance fraud as a result of his participation in a multi-million-dollar workers’ compensation referrals scheme.
According to WorkCompCentral, Mr. Woods was sentenced on October 24, 2022, and ordered to serve four years in state prison and pay more than $700,000 in restitution to 17 separate carriers as a result of his participation in the referral schemes.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATES AVAILABLE!
On November 3, 2022, Anne Hernandez, Managing Senior Partner of our Santa Rosa office, prepared a comprehensive summary and assessment of Senate Bill (SB) 1127 and Assembly Bill (AB) 1751, which were signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 29, 2022.
SB 1127 provides for, among other things, up to 240 weeks of temporary disability benefits for public safety employees, such as police officers and firefighters, in presumptive cancer claims.
AB 1751 extends the presumption of workers’ compensation liability for COVID-19 illness previously established in SB 1159, through January 1, 2024.
This Bulletin was written by Steve Rosendin, Associate Partner in our San Francisco office. A copy of this Bulletin and the most current twelve months is available on our website at www.mulfil.com/bulletins.