Wednesday, August 4, 2010 | 315 | 0 | min read
By Julius Young
Boxer & Gerson
From the it never hurts to toot your horn department of governmental affairs:
The California Division of Workers' Compensation has issued a bulletin noting that they have finally cleared their backlog of QME panel requests. Between April and June 2010 they processed about 41% of the number of QME panels they processed in 2009.
You can do the math on the back of that envelope. In two months they have issued almost as many panels as in 6 months in 2009.
Seems the DWC Medical Unit (or, more likely, the higher-up powers that be) finally got the message.
There had been widespread dissatisfaction in the comp community about how the DWC Medical Unit was handling panels. Adjusters, defense attorneys, applicant attorneys, and judges all were unhappy with the slow pace of issuance of panels, particularly in represented worker cases.
Part of the problem was staffing. But a large part appears to have been the administrative philosophy. For several years the DWC Medical Unit had allowed a slew of technicalities to slow issuance of panels.
In some cases this frustrated parties who were simply seeking to move the ball down field.
While some of the delays were undoubtedly caused by ambiguities in requests or improperly filled out forms, parties found that attempts to clarify or provide supplemental information to the unit were often ignored.
Now the Medical Unit appears to be focusing on getting the panels out. Parties who believe they have valid objections to the panels may need to seek relief from a judge at the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board.
<i>Julius Young is an attorney for Boxer & Gerson, an applicant's law firm in Oakland. This column was reprinted with his permission from his blog, http://www.workerscompzone.com</i>