This newsletter presents a review of pending legis­la­tive changes to correct in­ade­quacies in the Califor­nia Workers’ Compensa­tion system, and discusses a pending Supreme Court decision regarding the de­gree of accountability of Uti­li­zation Review doctors. Newsletter 2017 Issue #12 first dis­cusses a bill which at that time was soon to be intro­duced by Assemblyman Tom Daly — a legislative proposal which ulti­mately be­came Assembly Bill 1749 — to provide pro­tection to safety members engaging in activities to protect society as a whole outside their normal juris­diction, either in-state or out-of-state. Newsletter 2018 Issue #1 discusses AB 1749 in greater detail and emphasizes the ne­ces­sity of this legislation to provide an umbrella of pro­tection to officers and their family members when offi­cers are injured or killed while protecting our soci­ety. Currently, this legisla­tion — which was spon­sored by PORAC — has gone for a third reading by the Senate.


The next review of pending legislation was done in Newsletter 2018 Issue #2, which dis­cusses the unique expo­sures which safety workers have to car­cinogens which lead to the development of cancer, as well as to blood-borne infec­tious diseases and tuberculosis.  In those cases where safety wor­kers die from these ex­po­sures, the statute of limita­tions for surviving family mem­bers to file an appli­cation for death benefits was extended in 2015 (through Labor Code §5406.7) from 240 weeks to 420 weeks from the date of injury to protect such families when the safety worker’s death does not occur within the 240-week limitation.  However, if no action is taken, the extension to 420 weeks will sunset as of January 1, 2019.  There­fore, PORAC-sponsored Senate Bill 1086, currently pending, seeks to amend Labor Code §5406.7 to delete the sunset provision. Newsletter 2018 Issue #5 reviews a case — King v. Comp­Partners, Inc. — which is currently pending a Su­preme Court decision.  This case involves a Utili­zation Review doctor who engaged in egregious be­ha­vior which resulted in sub­stantial injury to an injured worker, Mr. King, when the medication on which he was depending was cut off abruptly by the UR doctor without any wean­ing period and


with­out any awareness as to how the sudden cessation of this medication would affect Mr. King. Oral argument was heard on May 29, 2018, and the Court has 90 days — until August 29, 2018 — to ren­der its decision.


The King decision, if made in favor of Mr. King, will set a precedent and provide protection for other injured workers and their families by holding UR doctors ac­count­able for their deter­mi­nations, thereby requir­ing them to make ap­pro­priate evalu­a­tions regard­ing the medical needs of the injured workers whose cases they review.  Cur­rently, no  such account­ability exists, and UR doc­tors can engage without impunity in a “catch and release” approach, briefly reviewing an injured wor­ker’s records before re­leas­ing the case with a quick determination which is not a substantial med­i­cal opinion, and without any recognition of the po­tential impact of same.


Another pending legislative proposal — Senate Bill 899 — is reviewed and dis­cussed in Newsletter 2018 Issue #6.  On July 3, 2018, this bill went to its third reading by the Assembly.  SB 899 aims to eliminate discrimi­nation against California injured workers based on their hereditary or genetic background.  Certain types of diseases can be more or less prominent in cer­tain groups because of the nature of their skin pig­men­tation.  Using this ge­netic factor to determine the compen­sation to be re­ceived by an injured wor­ker is clearly discrimina­tory.  The passage of SB 899 would elim­i­nate that type of discrimination.

2370 Fifth Ave. San Diego, CA 92101
4200 Latham St. – Ste. B Riverside, CA 92501-1766
1-800-LAW-1199 (1-800-529-1199)
619-583-1199 951-276-1199
8388 Vickers St. San Diego, CA 92111
4200 Latham St. – Ste. B Riverside, CA 92501-1766

NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.