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The Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC) has released on its website for public comment and feedback the report, “Formulating a Copy Services Fee Schedule.”

Senate Bill (SB) 863 requires the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, in consultation with CHSWC, to adopt a copy services fee schedule. In 2013, CHSWC worked with Berkeley Research Group of Emeryville, CA to analyze copy services practices in the workers’ compensation system, review pricing options and prepare a report summarizing relevant fees in the marketplace and policy issues that may be addressed during the rulemaking process.

The Commission spoke to a number of different stakeholders involved in the procuring, preparation of and payment for copying and related services. It became clear almost immediately that the system was riven with distrust and that it had essentially broken down, with each side feeling justified in its approach to pricing. Applicant copy services accuse payers of unreasonable delay or refusal, and they build the cost of collections and bad debts into their fees. Payers accuse the applicant copy services of puffing the bills, and they reject the bills or offer only discounted payments.

The report says that it is essential to break this vicious cycle of inefficiency, which is why it is proposing a lump sum payment system. The report therefore recommends a flat fee schedule to cover all costs related to obtaining and reproducing a set of records up to 1,000 pages if the bill is paid timely and without dispute, and a higher fee to include the additional business expenses if the bill has to go into collection or dispute resolution. It also concluded that the major costs of providing documents copies were the costs of retrieving the documents, rather than the actual per page copy costs, which is one reason why a lump sum payment proposal disregards the number of pages in a copy set. The cost of each initial copy set should be $103.55. Additional copy sets should be made available at $.10 per page if paper and for a nominal lump sum fee of $5.00 if electronic.The advantage of a flat rate is to simplify the process, as well as to reduce the number of areas of potential disagreement between Applicant copy services and payers.

In order to prevent abuses of the new system, CHSWC recommend requiring that each subpoena be supported by the declaration of the attorney seeking documents that the subpoena was issued in good faith, is not duplicative and seeks documents necessary to pursue the applicant’s claim.

The report recommend requiring the use of a registered service to qualify for payment. Registered copiers cannot be convicted felons, must have a notary public involved in the management, must be bonded, must carry an identification card issued by the county clerk, and are statutorily responsible for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of information obtained (Business & Professions Code section 22450 et seq.). This would be one way of trying to protect injured workers’ privacy as well as possibly reducing unprofessional practices.

CHSWC invites public comment and feedback by email at or in writing to: Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC).\1515 Clay Street, 17th Floor Oakland, CA 94612 or Fax at (510) 622-3265 through October 15, 2013 and by oral comments at the CHSWC meeting on October 17, 2013. Additional opportunities for public comment will be available when the Administrative Director begins the rulemaking process to establish a copy services fee schedule.