The constitutional challenge to California’s IMR system in Frances Stevens v. Outspoken Enterprises continues to be the number one story in California workers’ comp.
At this past weekend’s CAAA convention in San Diego much of the focus was on the problem of injured workers getting medical treatment, the high volume of UR denials, and the extremely IMR uphold rate which is inverse to the denial rate by Maximus under California’s group health system.
Access to medical treatment has become the primary issue for many workers.
Stevens is pending at the California Court of Appeal First District (in San Francisco).
Now there is another twist.
According to a member of CAAA’s Amicus Committee, the Court of Appeal has requested supplemental briefs be filed on two issues – separation of powers and due process.
The specific questions that the parties are asked to brief are:
1 Is the plenary power to enact workers comp statutes vested in the legislature limited by the Separation of Powers Clause of the California Constitution?
2 Does the plenary power to enact workers comp statutes effect our analysis in evaluating petitioner’s claim under the Ca. Constitution’s Due Process Clause?
Whatever happens, it is becoming clear that the Stevens case is the vehicle for a serious examination of the constitutionality of the SB 863 IMR provisions.
Can the legislature essentially do what it wants with workers’ comp? What are the limits?