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In 2018, Diana Barrett claimed injury to her psyche, hypertension and gastrointestinal system while employed as an animal services manager by the City of Yuba City. The employer denied her claim in its entirety.

Helayna Taylor, Ph.D. was the original psychological QME and issued a medical-legal evaluative report regarding applicant dated February 25, 2019. Dr. Taylor retired and the parties have stipulated that she is no longer a QME.

The parties disputed which documents may be sent to the replacement QME, Dr. Poston, and the contents of defendant’s proposed letter to the QME. Defendant objected to sending Dr. Taylor’s report to Dr. Poston.

The matter proceeded to trial regarding the issue of what documents should go to a new QME Dr. Poston.

The WCJ ordered that certain exhibits were not to be forwarded to Dr. Poston, including Dr. Taylor’s report. This aspect of the order was reversed in the panel decision of Barrett v City of Yuba City.

An adequate history and examination by the current QME should include review of the previous QME’s report in the absence of a basis for excluding the report from the record. The record reflects that Dr. Taylor’s report was obtained in accordance with the Labor Code. She was replaced as the QME because she retired. The record does not indicate a basis to preclude review of her report by the current QME.

Furthermore, Labor Code section 4062.3(a)(2) permits any party to provide medical records relevant to determination of the medical issues to a QME. (See also Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 35(a)(2) [the employer shall provide to the medical-legal evaluator “[o]ther medical records, including any previous treatment records or information, which are relevant to determination of the medical issue(s) in dispute.”)

The panel noted that this “language is fairly expansive in what medical records may be provided to the QME.”

“Dr. Taylor conducted a psychological evaluation of applicant and addressed her psychiatric claim of injury. Causation for applicant’s psychiatric claim remains in dispute since defendant has not accepted it as compensable. Dr. Taylor’s report is consequently relevant to determination of the medical issues in dispute and may be provided to the current QME for his review.