Puni Pa’u suffered an admitted injury while working for the Department of Forestry. His PTP requested authorization for radio frequency ablation, a type of medical treatment, for an accepted injury to his back. The RFA was was received by EK Health on March 12, 2018, a Monday. EK Health denied the request for treatment on March 19, 2018, also a Monday.
Applicant made a second request for the same treatment; this request was received on April 16, 2018, a Monday, and denied on April 23, 2018, also a Monday.
Applicant filed a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed, alleging that both UR denials were late, and therefore that the WCAB had jurisdiction to award him the medical care he sought.
The core of the parties’ dispute was over whether defendant had complied with the requirement to render a decision within “five working days,” as mandated by Labor Code section 4610. The WCJ found in pertinent part that defendant timely denied applicant’s requests for treatment via Utilization Review (UR). The WCJ concluded that the UR denials were timely because Saturdays and Sundays are not working days under the meaning of the Labor Code section 4610.
Applicant contends on reconsideration that the UR denials were untimely because Saturday is a working day for purposes of Labor Code section 4610, and therefore that the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) has jurisdiction over the dispute and that the WCJ should have awarded applicant the requested treatment.
The WCAB affirmed the conclusion of the WCJ in the Significant Panel Decision of Puni Pa’u v Department of Forestry.
“Although Saturday is a business day under Civil Code section 9, it is not a working day under Labor Code section 4610, because Labor Code section 4610 does not incorporate the definition of business day found in Civil Code section 9. Applying the principles of statutory interpretation, we determine that the phrase “working day” found in Labor Code section 4610 does not include Saturdays based upon its standard modern usage, as reflected in dictionary definitions, statutory and regulatory enactments, and judicial decisions. Moreover, even if Saturday were a working day, the UR decisions in this case would still be timely based upon Code of Civil Procedure section 12a, which extends the deadline for performance of acts that fall due on a Saturday.”