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Workers' Compensation Archives

Insurance Carriers Add Costs to the Workers' Compensation System Again

CV.jpgWe have previously reported on the myriad ways in which workers' compensation carriers' procedures add costs to the system and thereby drive up insurance rates. Here is yet another example.

Several Changes to California Workers' Compensation Laws for 2016

California laws require employers carry workers compensation insurance and/or to be permissibly self-insured. Generally, following a workplace injury, workers are entitled to receive compensation benefits without having to show fault on the part of their employer and regardless of their own fault. The types of benefits to which an injured worker may be entitled include medical treatment, temporary and permanent disability benefits, and a job displacement voucher. In the event that a death occurs, the family members of a deceased worker may be able to recover certain costs, such as funeral expenses and a death benefit.  

Workers' Compensation Carriers Continue to Inject Unnecessary Costs Into the System

California workers' compensation carriers' policies routinely lead to the knee jerk denial and delay or care prescribed by physicians from within their own network or doctors. The result? Unnecessary costs are added to the system and injured workers don't get the care they need.

Proper Training Is Critical To Improving Safety At California Construction Sites

According to the most recent statistics, each year in the United States roughly 5,000 construction workers are killed on the job making construction work one of the deadliest professions in the country.  While California has seen some efforts in the industry to improve safety, eliminating work place hazards takes constant vigilance due to the nature of construction work and special effort must be made to make sure that companies follow safety protocols and industry regulations and guidelines.

Poor Access to Medical Treatment Puts the California Workers' Compensation System Out in Front in the "Race to the Bottom"

The current state of affairs for medical treatment for injured workers is without a doubt rigged in favor of insurers who game the system to deprive workers of needed medical treatment and to push the costs of reasonable medical treatment off onto private health insurers, Medicare and MediCal. First, 80% of all workers injured at work are required to treat with doctors listed in the workers' compensation carrier's Medical Provider Network ("MPN"); the MPN is created and maintained by the workers compensation insurers. If a physician who is on the MPN recommends care which the insurer feels costs the insurer too much money, those physicians are weeded out by the insurer through economic profiling and taken off the MPN list. This means that doctors are reluctant to provide care which would otherwise would be reasonably medically necessary. We have had client's say that their doctor has said "I would prescribe 'X' treatment, but the carrier will bump me off the MPN."

Abuse in the Workers' Compensation Industry

"John Welder" gets something in his eyes while welding. He reports the incident immediately to his employer. There was no wash station, so the employer tells the welder to rinse his eyes with a bottle of water. When that does not solve the problem, John Welder says that he needs to see the doctor due to the ongoing pain. The welder's supervisor then yells at him, "damn it John, we better find that there is something in your eyes."

What is wrong with the California Workers' Compensation System?

Workers' compensation carriers in California routinely deny necessary treatment to injured workers to avoid paying on claims. However, this shortsightedness often leads to greater payments and higher costs for the system. The following is an actual example from a case Butler Viadro provided representation. A California peace officer sustained an on the job injury to her back which ultimately required surgery. As part of the surgery, this injured worker had a catheter inserted into her urinary tract/urethra. Following the surgery, she developed a urinary tract infection, and her surgeon prescribed antibiotics. The workers' compensation carrier refused to authorize the antibiotics stating the infection was not related to her back injury.

California lawmakers act to protect outdoor workers

While the sunny weather that California is known for is often cited as a reason for visiting the state, high temperatures can be hazardous to workers who perform many or all of their duties outdoors. OSHA has no specific standard for illnesses caused by heat, but California has made protecting outdoor workers a top legislative priority. OSHA data shows that more than 30 workers lost their lives in 2012 due to heat exposure, and thousands of others suffered an illness or injury.

Workplace safety and the responsibility of the employer

As some California employers may know, it is important to keep the workplace safe and provide care for injured employees. It is also mandatory for employers who have a certain number of workers to provide workers' compensation insurance. The Occupational Safety and Health Act provides guidance on how this should be done.

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