California Governor Announces Workers’ Comp Presumption for COVID-19

California Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced that workers who contract COVID-19 while on the job may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation.

The governor signed an executive order that creates a time-limited rebuttable presumption for accessing workers’ comp benefits applicable to Californians who must work outside of their homes during the stay at home order.

Report on California Workers’ Comp Shows Steady Independent Medical Review Activity

More than 15,400 independent medical reviews a month are issued in California’s worker’s compensation system, according to a new report from the Department of Industrial Relations.

The DIR this week issued a progress report on the its independent medical review program. IMR is the medical dispute resolution process for the state’s workers’ comp system that uses medical expertise to obtain consistent, evidence-based decisions.

Study Examines California Workers’ Comp Hospital Inpatient Stays

The number of California workers’ compensation inpatient hospital stays fell 1.9 percent between 2017 and 2018, for a net decline of nearly 31 percent since 2010, a new study shows.

A study from the California Workers’ Compensation Institute traces much of that drop to a declining number of hospitalizations related to musculoskeletal disorders, including spinal fusions.

Report: California Workers’ Comp Medical Payment Trends Fell in 2018

Medical payments in California’s workers’ compensation system continued to decline in 2018 as the medical payments per claim decreased, according to a report from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California.

The WCIRB released its California Workers’ Compensation Aggregate Medical Payment Trends report comparing medical payment information from 2016 to 2018.

California State Fund Declares $105M Dividend for Workers’ Comp Policyholders

The board of California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund announced plans to distribute a $105 million dividend to qualifying policyholders with policies that took effect between Jan. 1 and Aug. 19.

This dividend equals roughly 15% of the estimated annual premium reported in State Fund’s mid-year 2019 financial statement and averages out to roughly $1,400 per employer.

Research Finds No Improvement in Worker Outcomes When Medical Prices Increase

When the price of physician services increases relative to group health rates, injured workers report fewer problems getting the care they want but no significant improvement in physical function or speedier return to work, according to a study released Thursday by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute.

WCRI used data taken from interviews with injured workers in 14 states and claims data from 30 states to measure the impact of medical price changes, relative to prices paid by group health.

California Psychologist And Doctor Charged With Fraudulent Workers’ Comp Evaluations

A California psychologist and doctor have been charged for allegedly submitting fraudulent insurance claims for workers’ compensation medical legal evaluations in an attempt to steal tens of thousands of dollars from multiple insurers.

Psychologist Danita Stewart, 51, of Chatsworth, a licensed psychologist, allegedly submitted 36 fraudulent insurance claims between April 2015 and June 2015 to five different insurers for medical legal evaluations for a total of $90,714.

NSAIDs Overtake Opioids as Top Workers’ Comp Drug in California

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs, have supplanted opioids as the most common therapeutic drug group prescribed to injured workers in California, according to a new California Workers’ Compensation Institute study.

The study also finds that payment data show that both dermatological medications and anticonvulsants now rank ahead of opioids in terms of total reimbursements.

California Hits 2 Companies with $4.3M Fine for Improperly Selling Workers’ Comp

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones on Wednesday imposed a $4.3 million penalty on American Labor Alliance and CompOne USA for selling workers’ compensation and liability policies to employers of farmworkers without being properly licensed with the California Department of Insurance.

The penalty follows a cease and desist order issued by CDI 2016 against the Agricultural Contracting Services Association Inc. and its affiliates, the American Labor Alliance and CompOne USA, and Board Chair Marcus Asay, and an order issued by Jones in 2017 them to refrain from selling insurance policies in California.

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