Each year workerscompzone features a New Years quiz. At the bottom of this post you can find a link to some of the past quizzes. What will happen in California workers’ comp in 2013? Try your hand as a soothsayer.

Here, in no particular order, are some choices:

1. CLEAN-UP LEGISLATION
During 2013 the legislature will a) not make adjustments to SB 863, leaving that all to the regulatory process: b) undertake a major additional round of reforms; c) debate a few targeted bills that clarify some of the uncertainties surrounding SB 863 language; d) debate bills dealing with some issues that were in drafts of SB 863 that did not make it to the final version

2. BROWN’S ADMINISTRATION
By the end of 2013, Christine Baker will a) remain as director of DIR; b)
return to CHSWC; c) replace Marty Morganstern as Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development; d) depart the Brown administration

3. COMP BILLS
Bills will surface in 2013 to a) address problems with opioid prescribing;
b) cumulative trauma claims; c) UR reviews done by out-of-state physicians;
d) expanded carve-outs and opt-outs; e) almost no consequential bills will emerge

4. MPNS AND LIENS
By the end of 2013 a) lien filings will slow to a trickle as a result of SB 863 changes; b) continue at a substantial level as liens are generated in denied cases and cases with various disputed body parts; c) a challenge to the statute and regs by providers places SB 863 lien changes in doubt; d) remain pretty much as they have been

5. THE WCAB
By the end of 2013, the WCAB will a) still be down 2 members as Gov. Brown will elect to save money and political headaches by holding off on more appointments; b) see 2 more appointments, one being an employer side appointment and one a labor or applicant attorney side appointment;
c) see 2 more appointments, both employer side as the Governor seeks to ensure that the SB 863 reforms are not eroded by the WCAB; d) have one or more slots filled by politicians who have no comp experience

6. INDEPENDENT MEDICAL REVIEW
By the end of 2013, Independent Medical Review (IMR) will a) be working well, discouraging frivolous UR reviews as a result of the cost of IMR; b) be seriously backed up, creating substantial delays; c) subject to a constitutional challenge; d) none of the above

7. OPT-OUT
The movement to allow employers to opt-out of workers’ comp which has taken root in states such as Texas and Oklahoma will a) not be discussed at all in 2013; b) be chosen for study by CHSWC; c) be the subject of discussion by some employer-side stakeholders; d) be introduced as a bill during the 2013 session

8. DISTRICT WCAB OFFICES
By the end of 2013, the district WCAB “boards” will a) be pretty much the same as always; b) be under the microscope as the DIR attempts to encourage more uniformity of operation; c) markedly less busy as the volume of lien disputes and treatment disputes slow to a trickle due to SB 863; d) staffed with more judges as the state fills its budget hole

9. CLAIM FREQUENCY
By the end of 2013 we will see claim frequency/volume of claims:
a) increase as the California economy continues recovery; b) decline as stakeholder-driven claims filing decreases due to tightening of MPN regs, lien regs and IMR/IBR; c)stay at about 2012 levels; d) decline as the economy shifts back into recession after federal budget cuts

10. COMP RATES
By the end of 2013, workers comp rates will be: a) increasing only slightly; b) increasing at double digit levels as SB 863 fails to cut comp medical treatment costs; c) decreasing substantially as SB 863 eliminates many questionable claims and frictional costs from the system; d) spiking in a way that creates another perceived crisis

11. BONUS
Looking back from the end of 2013, the big story in 2013 workers comp will be (you fill in the blank with what you believe will be the “big story” in 2013)

Winner of the quiz (to be determined at the end of 2013) will get a bottle of a good Sonoma County Pinot spirited to their office or abode, so send all entries to jyoung@boxerlaw.com.

To see the 2012 quiz, check here:
http://www.workerscompzone.com/index.ph … 103-204205

To see the 2011 quiz, look here:
http://www.workerscompzone.com/index.ph … 102-095809

Julius Young
www.boxerlaw.com
www.workerscompzone.com