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California -- Work Comp Bills Range from Staph Infections to Horse Racing
Attention: Top [03/10/09]

After wrapping up a months-long battle over the state budget, lawmakers rushed to meet a Feb. 27 deadline to introduce new bills for the 2009-10 session.

Other measures can appear later as lawmakers “gut and amend” legislation – meaning pulling language out of a bill and putting in new language on a new subject. But these are the workers' compensation measures that have been introduced so far:

AB 128 by Joe Coto, D-San Jose. Extends the cancer presumption afforded to public safety workers after termination from three months to one year for each full year of the requisite service.

AB 361 by Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach. Provides that, regardless of whether an employer has established a medical provider network or entered into a contract with a health care organization, an employer that authorizes medical treatment shall not rescind or modify that authorization for any reason, including, but not limited to, the employer's subsequent determination that the physician who treated the employee was not eligible to treat that injured employee.

AB 409 by Martin Garrick, R-San Diego. Would state that the payments and costs of an insolvent insurer which have been incurred but not reported are included within the claim payments and costs to be paid for by the California Insurance Guarantee Association.

AB 483 by Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo. Requires the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau to establish and maintain a website to assist the public in determining whether an employer is insured for workers'

AB 516 by Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks. Requires, for injuries occurring on or after Jan. 1, that temporary disability benefit amounts payable to an injured worker be not less than an amount equal to the employee's weekly earnings from all employers, nor more than $1,260, or 1.5 times the state average wage, whichever is greater.

AB 586 by Alyson Huber, D-El Dorado Hills. Includes police officers for state universities in the presumption for tuberculosis presumptions and university firefighters in the presumption for hernia, blood-borne infectious disease, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infection.

AB 615 by Niello. Deletes the definition of first aid in existing law and would authorize the administrative director to adopt regulations to define first aid and other terms.

AB 664 by Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. For hospital employees, creates a presumption of causation for blood-borne infectious disease, neck or back impairment, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus that develops or manifests itself during the period of the person's employment with the hospital.

AB 801 by Michael Duvall, R-Yorba Linda. Would authorize the Department of Insurance to use individually identifiable information for purposes of investigating and prosecuting insurance fraud.

AB 879 by Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina. Would require the insurance commissioner to initiate and conclude a hearing and issue a final decision regarding the proposed pure premium rate within 90 days.

AB 933 by Paul Fong, D-Mountain View. Would require utilization-review physicians and psychologists who treat injured workers to be licensed in California.

AB 948 by Dan Logue, R-Marysville. Would provide that if an injured worker's work restrictions are not yet known within 10 days of the last payment of temporary disability, the employer is not required to send the notice regarding the employee's supplemental job displacement benefits until after the employee's work restrictions are known.

AB 1093 by Mariko Yamada, D-Davis. Provides that no workers'
compensation claim shall be denied solely because the motivation behind what caused the employee's injury or death was related to an immutable personal characteristic of that employee.

AB 1227 by Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles. Limits full-pay temporary disability benefits granted to public-safety workers under Labor Code Section 4850 to regular, full-time workers, but eliminates the requirement that these employees be members of the Public Employees'
Retirement System or the Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System or subject to the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937. The bill would also include local park rangers, community college police, and police of a school district among the employees entitled to full-pay leave of absence. The bill would exclude employees of San Francisco City and County.

AB 1469 by Michael Villines, R-Clovis. Replaces the word “workman” with “worker” in Section 4651.2 of the Labor Code.

AB 1499 by Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa. Would authorize a fair to deduct an additional 0.5% of the total amount handled in exotic parimutuel pools of races for any breed, other than races solely for thoroughbreds.
This deduction would also be for similar purposes and subject to similar conditions as the quarter horse racing association and harness racing association authorizations.

SB 3 by Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles. Would provide, for injuries occurring on or after Jan. 1, 2010, for a supplemental job displacement benefit in the form of a voucher for up to $6,000 to cover various reeducation and skill enhancement expenses, as specified, which would expire two years after the date the voucher is furnished to the employee or 5 years after the date of injury, whichever is later.

SB 145 by Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord. Would provide that no workers'
compensation claim shall be denied solely because the motivation behind what caused the employee's injury or injury resulting in death was related to an immutable characteristic of the employee. Would also state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would apply employment discrimination protections to workers' compensation law in order to prohibit the wrongful reduction or denial of workers'
compensation benefits.

SB 146 by Roderick Wright, D-Los Angeles. Would authorize the Department of Insurance to convene meetings with insurers to discuss emerging trends and schemes involving insurance fraud and would provide that any person sharing information pursuant to that authorization would be protected from civil liability, as specified. This bill would also require employers to send an employee an explanation of benefits notice when the employer pays for certain medical treatments or services as a result of the employee's workers' compensation claim, and would authorize the employer to send a notice about other medical payments, as specified.

SB 186 by DeSaulnier. Would delete the Dec. 31, 2009, repeal date of the statute that allows employees to “predesignate” their treating physicians prior to injury.

SB 313 by DeSaulnier. Would establish new penalties for employers caught without workers' compensation coverage in an amount equal to the average cost of workers' compensation insurance in the state for the three-year period prior to the date of penalty assessment.

SB 342 by George Runner, R-Lancaster. Makes a nonsubstantive grammatical change to Section 3702.1 of the Labor Code.

SB 403 by John Benoit, R-Bermuda Dunes. Would prohibit lien claims from being filed more than one year from the date the health care provider, or the health care provider's agent, was sent an explanation of benefits or explanation of review paying or objecting to a bill in whole or in part.

SB 677 by Leland Yee, D-San Francisco. Would exempt farm workers employed by their parents, child, spouse, or registered domestic partner from mandatory workers' compensation coverage if the farm owners register the employees with the director of the Department of Industrial Relations.

SB 683 by Ron Calderon, D-Montebello. Would require a group of self-insurers to file an annual audit by an independent, certified public accountant, but would prohibit audited financial or claim information of individual members of the group self-insurer from being made public.

SB 764 by Glorida Negrete McLeod, D-Chino. Repeals a statute that requires health care organizations from paying fees to cover administrative costs.

SB 766 by Negrete McLeod. Would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to deduct an additional percentage of the total amount handled in parimutuel pools of thoroughbred horse races, to establish a joint powers agency to collect that additional money and issue bonds, and to use the money primarily for capital improvement financing.

SB 773 by Darrel Steinberg, D-Sacramento. States the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would adjust permanent disability benefits.

To read any of the bills, go to http://www.leginfo.ca.gov <http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/> and type the bill number into the search field.

Source: WorkCompCentral


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Gridley, CA 95948

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