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Welcome to workerscompzone’s 2015 California workers’ comp quiz.

What does 2015 hold for the workers’ comp world? Each year the blog features a quiz where you can test your ability to gauge future events. 

I’ve set aside a bottle of good Pinot for anyone who aces this year’s quiz. Here is a list of 10 questions (note that in some instances there may be more than one right answer and that for many the answer may not be apparent til the end of 2015). Send your answers to me at jyoung@boxerlaw.com.

1. THE WCAB

In 2013 Governor Brown will a) fill a vacant slot or slots on the appeals board; b) continue to leave slots on the appeals board vacant; c) use a board slot for a political appointee; d) appoint a DWC staffer to the WCAB

2. REGULATIONS

By the end of 2015 the DWC will complete regs on a) copy service fees; b) benefit notices; c) vocational expert fees; d) opioids; e) online QME panel selection; f) MTUS; g) revised IMR regs; h) revised lien regs after a decision in Angelotti Chiropractic v. Baker; i) in-office dispensing by physicians; j) home health care fees; k) a formulary; l) $120M fund for disproportionate wage losses

3. OGILVIE

In Doreen Dahl v. Contra Contra Costa County , the First District Court of Appeal will a) uphold use of a “similarly situated” methodology in diminished future earning capacity evaluations under the Ogilvie case: b) strike down the “similarly situated methodology”, requiring analysis of particularized factors; c) clarify that rebuttal is to the WPI factor, not to the overall rating string; c) allow a vocational expert DFEC figure as the final rating; d) limit the types of cases where DFEC testimony can be used

4. WORKERS COMP RATES

By the end of 2015 we will see a) no significant increase in average charged California workers’ comp rates; b) moderate increases in average charged California workers’ comp rates; c) large increases in average charged California workers’ comp rates;

5. LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

In Sacramento 2014 will be a) a year where employers roll out another wish list of major reforms; b) very quiet, as stakeholders seek to further assess the results of the 2012 reforms; c) marked by a struggle over cumulative trauma claim legislation; d) a year where some Democrats push bills to roll back some excesses of SB 863 only to see such bills vetoed; e) a prescription drug formulary is proposed

6. UR AND IMR

By the end of 2015 we will see a) IMR applications decreasing; b) IMR applications increasing; c) policymakers continuing to defend the IMR process; d) the IMR process declared unconstitutional by the California Court of Appeal First District in Frances Stevens v. Outspoken Enterprises; e) the Stevens constitutional challenge dismissed; f) increasing concern by CHSWC commissioners on the extent of UR denials and the ratio of IMR denials to approvals; g) increased scrutiny of the DWC/Maximus relationship

7. WORKERS’ COMP AND THE PRESS

In 2015 the mainstream press will a) focus on additional examples of greed and bad behavior among workers’ comp providers; b) pretty much ignore workers’ comp; c) focus on Maximus and its role in the IMR system; d) continue to focus on the effect of safety officer presumptions on municipal budgets; e) focus on cost shifting from workers’ comp to other systems and other payors

8. SB 863 AFTERMATH

As part of the SB 863 aftermath we will see by the end of 2015 that: a) for purposes of PD add-ons for psyche, sleep and sex dysfunction for post 1/1/13 injuries, “catastrophic” is defined by the courts as how the injury occurred; b) “catastrophic” will be defined as the rule of the injury rather than in how severe or violent the injurious event itself was; c) litigation will arise in post 1/1/13 injury cases over whether and if there is a means to rebut the PD schedule for workers who are less than totally disabled by using vocational experts; d) the Dubon II case will be reversed; e)the Dubon II case will not be reversed; f) CHSWC and/or RAND enter the controversy over the amount of IMR applications and denials

9. ONGOING CONCERNS

By the end of 2015 we will see a) increasing focus on regional differences in claims frequency; b) stakeholders gearing up for some major 2016 legislative battles; c) Federal legislative and court challenges affecting Obamacare and thus having affect on workers who might otherwise settle their cases; d) policymakers talking up the need to study some sort of 24 hour care system; e) workers’ comp as a back burner issue politically;

10. POLITICS

In 2015 we will see a) Governor Brown take an unexpected dive into the U.S. Senate race to succeed Senator Boxer; b) business Democrats in the legislature team up with the GOP to block changes to SB 863; c) at least one potential 2018 Democratic gubernatorial hopeful begin to get more active in discussing workers’ comp issues; d) workers’ comp become an increasingly likely issue in the next round of legislative elections; e) further political fallout from the Calderon and Drobot investigations; f) politicians ignoring workers’ comp in every way, shape and form

BONUS

Send in your most outrageous and out of the box predictions for 2015 to me at jyoung@boxerlaw.com.I’ll keep them confidential or publish them if you wish, so please specify.

You can find a link to my 2013 quiz here:

www.workerscompzone.com/2013/01/01/the-2013-california-workers-comp-quiz/

Stay tuned.

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Julius Young

www.boxerlaw.com

www.workerscompzone.com

 

 

 

 

 

Julius Young

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