When Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 863 in September 2012, XpertHR reported on the development and promised a revamped Workers' Compensation: California section.
The revamped section is now live on the site and includes significant changes based on the new pieces of legislation, many of which either amend or add to the state Labor Code. Importantly, the changes went into effect as of January 1, 2013.
Some of the major developments include:
- "Interested parties" are prohibited from referring patients for medical services related to workers' compensation claims if they have a financial interest in the entity to which the patient is referred;
- A new return-to-work program that expands the use of vouchers for vocational training or rehabilitation and that may include supplemental payments to workers whose permanent disability payments are disproportionately low compared to their earnings loss;
- Set dollar values for supplemental job displacement benefit vouchers, depending on the severity of the disability;
- Heightened requirements for employers that choose to self-insure against their workers' compensation exposures;
- Required disclosures if/when an employer chooses to cease temporary disability payments, including a statement as to whether the employer approves subsequent permanent disability payments; and
- An Independent Medical Review system to handle disputes pertaining to medical treatment, medical determinations of disabilities and other related workers' compensation disputes.