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Walters Starts Reform Talk

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 | 1524 | 5 | 35 min read

Veteran Sacramento reporter Dan Walters suggested unions will be partnering with providers and possibly attorneys to draft California’s next workers’ compensation reform.

Senate Bill 863 was so successful in controlling system costs that organized labor is reportedly complaining that employers fared much better under the 2012 bill, Walters wrote in a column published Monday.

Walters said California’s comp system is reformed every 10 or so years, so the clock is running down before the next round of major system changes.

“With the passage of time and a new governor in office, the next decennial battle may be on the horizon,” Walters wrote. “It won’t happen this year, but with 2020 an election year, that could be the moment. Several bills kicking around the Capitol this year are viewed in the insular community of workers’ compensation lobbyists as stalking horses for the larger conflict and hints to a potential new alliance.”

Medical providers and unions have joined in support of SB 537, Walters writes. The bill, by Sen. Gerald Hill, D-San Mateo, would prohibit networks from contracting with medical providers at rates lower than what Medicare pays.

Meanwhile, organized labor and attorneys are supporting AB 1107, by Assemblyman Kansen Chu, D- Milpitas. It would repeal a law saying an independent medical review determination overturning a utilization review decision is not conclusive evidence that treatment was unreasonably delayed or denied.


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