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The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) has issued a notice of a public hearing for proposed amendments to the Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME) Regulations.

The proposed changes are necessary to bring existing regulations into compliance with amendments to the Labor Code, and to clarify the Administrative Director’s authority with respect to the process related to appointment and reappointment of QMEs, which is granted by relevant statutory authority.

The proposed amendments include:

– – Clarification with regard to definitions to conform to changes made by Senate Bill 863, recent changes made to the Medical Legal Fee Schedule, and the addition of electronic service of documents
– – Provisions prohibiting providing false information on the application or reapplication for appointment
– – Provisions to conform amended regulations with proper gender pronouns
– – Revision of the amount of hours necessary for initial qualification of chiropractors as QMEs
– – Revision of continuing education requirements including hourly requirements and the addition of anti-bias training for QMEs
– – Provisions that require a QME to be in compliance with all Administrative Director’s regulations in order to be reappointed as a QME. There is also a new regulation that provides a specific implementation of existing discretionary authority of the Administrative Director pursuant to Labor Code section 139.2
– – Clarification of the use of probation as a disciplinary sanction and allow the Administrative Director to designate hearing officers for adjudication of disputes regarding appointment and reappointment applications
– – Clerical changes to the regulation on QME unavailability
– – Provisions allowing QME reappointment hearings to be heard by other tribunals in addition to the Office of Administrative Hearings
– – Regulations that are consolidated into new subdivisions are repealed
– – Repeal of regulations related to administration of disputes regarding the Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit.

The March 13, 2023 public hearing on the proposed regulations has been scheduled at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of the Elihu Harris Building, 1515 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612. Members of the public may also submit written comments on the regulations until 11:59 p.m. that day.

The proposed amendments to the QME regulations will be implemented under the regular rulemaking procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act. That process will begin with a 45-day public comment period. DWC will consider all public comments and, following the public hearing, may modify the proposed regulations for consideration during an additional 15-day public comment period.

The notice of rulemaking, text of the regulations, and the initial statement of reasons can be found on the DWC rulemaking web page.