The Division of Workers’ Compensation has issued the notice of public hearing for a resource – based relative value scale (RBRVS) based physician fee schedule. A public hearing on the proposed regulations has been scheduled at 10 a.m., July 17, in the auditorium of the Elihu Harris Building, 1515 Clay Street, Oakland, CA, 94612. Members of the public may also submit written comment on the regulations until 5 p.m. that day.
Senate Bill 863 directs DWC’s administrative director to adopt a physician fee schedule based upon the federal RBRVS used in the Medicare payment system.
“I am thrilled that the Division of Workers’ Compensation has issued the proposed physician fee schedule regulations. We believe these regulations will put in place a fee schedule for physicians that will support the right incentives for appropriate care and return to work. We also believe that with these regulations we can more readily keep pace with updates and ensure all the changing technologies are available,” said Christine Baker, the director of the Department of Industrial Relations.
In the RBRVS – based system, relative value units interact with payment ground rules and the conversion factor to determine the maximum fee in light of the resources to provide the service. The new provisions of Labor Code section statute 5307.1 direct the administrative director to “adopt and review periodically an official medical fee schedule (OMFS) based on the resource – based relative value scale for physician services and nonphysician practitioner services.”
“We expect the workers’ compensation system to see many cost saving and efficiency benefits from adopting the RBRVS-based fee schedule, and the benefits will be enhanced by adopting the schedule prior to the ‘default’ fee caps that will automatically apply on Jan. 1, 2014 if a regulation is not adopted,” said Destie Overpeck, acting administrative director. Adoption of the regulations is preferable to the “default” option in Labor Code section 5703.1 that would apply on Jan. 1, 2014 if the administrative director does not adopt a RBRVS-based fee schedule. The proposed regulations differ from Medicare where appropriate for workers’ compensation. Adoption of conversion factors in the regulations improves accuracy over the “default” fee caps, as the proposed conversion factors were derived by RAND with updated and more representative data.
The notice, text of the regulations, and forms can be found on the proposed regulations page.