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The Division of Workers’ Compensation has issued notices of public hearings for the electronic document filing and lien filing fee rules. The proposed rulemakings are to permanently adopt the emergency regulations which became effective Jan. 1, 2013. A public hearing on the proposed regulations has been scheduled at 10 a.m., March 26 in the auditorium of the Elihu Harris Building, 1515 Clay Street, Oakland, CA, 94612. Members of the public may also submit written comment on the regulations until 5 p.m. that day.

Senate Bill (SB) 863 has created substantial changes to how liens are filed within the workers’ compensation system. Specifically, any liens filed pursuant to Labor Code section 4903(b) or claims of costs must be filed electronically. Also, a fee of $150 is now required prior to filing for most liens filed after Jan. 1, 2013, and a $100 activation fee is required for most liens filed before then, but activated for a lien conference after Jan. 1, 2013. This activation fee is required to be paid at the time a lien claimant files a declaration of readiness or appears at a lien conference. This rulemaking implements these changes.

There are some proposed revisions to the emergency regulations. Specifically, the definitions of “cost,” “lien conference,” “mandatory settlement conference” and “party” have been amended for clarity. The definition of “section 4903(b) lien” is amended to delete reference to “interpreters’ fees incurred in connection with medical treatment (Labor Code section 4600)” because those fees are subject to a petition for costs under Labor Code section 5811. The EAMS E-Form Filing Reference Guide has been revised to reflect that lien claimants will now be given uniform assigned names to use when filing electronically.

DWC will consider all public comments, and may modify the proposed regulations for consideration during an additional 15-day public comment period. The notices of rulemaking, text of the regulations, and the initial statements of reasons can be found at on the DWC rulemaking page.