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The 2015 legislative season is over. As expected, Governor Brown has signed two more workers’  comp bills and vetoed two bills.

The most important bill signed is AB 1124, to establish a workers’ comp prescription drug formulary, sponsored by Assemblyman Henry T. Perea of Fresno.

Several months ago it appeared that negotiations over the formulary bill might stall out. Then the Labor Secretary David Lanier announced that the DWC was prepared to go it alone to set up a formulary even without a bill.

CAAA remained in opposition, in part based on the argument that MPN doctors selected by the insurer should not also be subjected to UR and the limitations of a formulary. Among the other issues was whether updates would be subject to formal rule making procedures.

But with insurance and employer backing and the blessing of the DWC leadership, stakeholders hammered out a formulary package.

Here is a link to the text and history of the formulary bill:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1124

Also signed by Brown is AB 438 (Chiu) which requires the DWC by 2018 to translate certain workers’ comp notices and forms into Chinese, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

Brown vetoed AB 305 (Lorena Gonzalez), a bill designed to address concerns about gender discrimination in workers’ comp ratings. The bill, narrowed after multiple amendments, would have (1) prohibited granting the disabling effects of breast cancer a lower disability rating than granted to the disabling effects of prostate cancer, (2) prohibited the use of pregnancy, or menopause, if these conditions are contemporaneous with the industrial injury causing the disability, to apportion permanent disability with respect to a physical injury and (3) prohibited the use of sexual harassment, pregnancy, or menopause, if these conditions are contemporaneous with the industrial injury causing the disability, to apportion permanent disability with respect to a psychiatric injury.

Here is Brown’s veto message:

https://www.gov.ca.gov/docs/AB_305_Veto_Message.pdf

Here is link to the text of AB 305:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB305

Brown also bucked a unanimous legislative vote with his veto of AB 1542 (Mathis), kicking a hornet’s nest. The bill would have extended the specialty of neuropsychology as a recognized QME specialty.

Here is the veto message on AB 1542:

https://www.gov.ca.gov/docs/AB_1542_Veto_Message.pdf

Brown asserts that “If the Board of Psychology believes there is value in recognizing neuropsychology as a subspecialty, it should do so.” While many observers see no logic in the DWC decision to tinker with QME specialties that have been in existence for years, Brown argues that the bill “undermines the DWC’s ability to apply consistent standards when it determines eligible medical specialties.”

This looks like one where Brown took one for his team, fighting for a principle that had no vocal constituency.

Here is a link to the text and history of AB 438:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB438

 

The text and history of AB 1542 are here:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1542

Stay tuned.

Julius Young

www.boxerlaw.com

www.workerscompzone.com

Julius Young

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