The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) has adopted its final Rules of Practice and Procedure (Rules) implementing Senate Bill 1160 (SB 1160).
The Office of Administrative Law has filed the WCAB’s new Rules with the Secretary of State. The new Rules will become effective on March 26, 2017.
Any lien claimant who filed a lien before January 1, 2017 that was subject to a filing fee under Labor Code section 4903.05 is required to file a “Supplemental Lien Form and 4903.05(c) Declaration” on the form approved by the Appeals Board before July 1, 2017.
The Appeals Board has already approved the Supplemental Lien Form and 4903.05(c) Declaration for use as an e-form and lien claimants can use that form now. Lien claimants may wish to file this form in advance of the adoption of the rule requiring it and will not have to re-file the form once the rule goes into effect.
The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) has posted frequently asked questions regarding the use of the lien form and Supplemental Lien Form and 4903.05(c) Declaration on its website.
As part of the regulatory process, the DWC held a public hearing on these proposed rules on January 4, and released a transcript of public comments made that day.
Steve Cattolica who represents the California Society of Industrial Medicine and Surgery, a couple other medical societies, as well as the California Workers’ Compensation Interpreters Association, and attorney Steve Rondeau who represents lien claimants both voiced concerns about retroactive requirements for lien documentation under the new rules. They said that some of the required information is not now available or known to the lien claimants since there was not previously a requirement that they collect this information.
Specifically they were concerned with the declaration requirement going forward under Labor Code Section 4903.05 ( c) ( 1) ( e). Lien claimants have to file a declaration under penalty of perjury stating that they have, documentation that treatment has been neglected or unreasonably refused and “many providers are having difficulty assembling this documentation.”
Pilar Garcia, the owner of Statewide Interpreters and Carolina Darond who works for the company both testified that the new requirements are running them out of the business after 19 years of providing interpreting services. Most their complains involve the inability to obtain pre-authorization for interpreting services from carriers and TPAs. Commissioner Sweeney probed their testimony and learned that most of their 315 interpreters are not certified as specified by SB 863.
Darond complained “It’s not fair whatever the rules are for interpreters. You’re putting it so difficult that we can’t do business anymore. And here comes — the other agencies are coming from the other states. Pilar was — it was the Statewide Interpreters for California back then. No, not anymore. Now we are requested by other agencies from the other states because they have the authorization. There’s no money difference between my rates and their rates. It’s the authorization what is changing the problem. They’re not giving it to us because they want to give it to One Call, and One Call is doing the monopoly of the business as you all — you all know that; right?”
The newly adopted Rules, and their related Final Statement of Reasons, are posted on the WCAB’s website.