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Voc-Rehab/Return-to-Work Issues

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | 274 | 0 | min read

Assembly Bill 48, which created the Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) under the aegis of the Department of of Consumer Affairs, was signed into law by Gov. Schwarzenegger and became effective Jan. 1.

BPPE replaces the old Bureau for Private Postsecondary Vocational Education (BPPVE) which went out of existence effective July 1, 2007. BPPE has a website (http://www.bppe.ca.gov) but information is very limited at the present time.  The new Bureau intends to have a list of approved institutions up on the website by July 1; until then, interested parties (eligible injured workers, schools, and voucher payors) will have to utilize an interim procedure to determine whether a training facility is “approved” and eligible for SJDB payments. 

BPPE has issued a policy indicating that vocational training schools that were approved by BPPVE as of June 30, 2007  now have their approval extended for a period of three years from the end date of the approval in effect on June 30, 2007.  That seems overly complicated so let’s use an example to demonstrate BPPE’s policy:

ABC Voc Programs Institute has a BPPVE approval certificate indicating that its programs are approved through Sept. 1, 2007.  The program is therefore approved under BPPE’s policy until Sept. 1, 2010 (three years from Sept. 1, 2007).

XYZ Training Institute has a BPPVE certificate showing approval through Dec. 1, 2009. Under the BPPE policy, its approval is extended to Dec. 1, 2012 (three years from Dec. 1, 2009).

Schools must therefore provide payers with a copy of their BPPVE certificate showing an approval end date (that date usually appears in the lower left corner of the certificate).  Some schools have provided copies of the BPPVE “voluntary agreement” list showing that they signed the agreement as proof they are now approved under the BPPE policy.  A school’s inclusion on this list shows only that they are approved through June 30, 2010. The voluntary agreement list is no longer available on the BPPVE or BPPE sites (which are now identical) so payers should inspect any list provided as “proof” carefully.  Questions about the school certification process can be e-mailed to BPPE at bppve@dca.ca.gov.

BPPE has also posted a copy of its new emergency regulations on its website pursuant to the following notification from the Bureau:

The proposed emergency regulations were approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010.  The final language will be posted on the website this afternoon.  In addition to the official final language that was approved by the OAL there is an unofficial copy.  Both are located under the "legislation" tab.  The unofficial copy is the language without the underlines and strikeouts.  Also available on the website under the new "applications" tab are five of the eleven applications.  The remainder of the applications will be posted as soon as possible.  The website address is  http://www.bppe.ca.gov/.

Claims administrators should bookmark the BPPE web site for future reference as it will have the information necessary to determine whether schools are approved within the next few months.

<i>Allan Leno is principal of Leno & Associates, an employer consulting firm based in Newbury Park, Calif. This column was reprinted with his permission from the firm's monthly newsletter.</i>

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