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The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to spend $100,000 on a workers compensation claims expeditor in the wake of recent news reports that the county has been slow to approve claims arising out of the terrorist attack in California last year.
The December 2nd Workers’ Comp Claim Expeditor Reserve fund will pay for an outside firm to provide “proactive review of workers compensation claims, status and outreach to help minimize delays and interruptions for victims of the Dec. 2, 2015, terrorist attack,” according to a press release from the county.
In the attack, 14 people were killed and 22 seriously injured when a disgruntled employee and his wife fired into a rented banquet room at the county’s Inland Regional Center during a holiday party.
A county spokesman said the magnitude of claims and the failure of doctors to provide necessary paperwork for the state-mandated medical review process caused most of the delays. Earlier this week, the state’s Department of Industrial Relations announced it was investigating the delays and early findings indicated that the county’s assertion was correct.
According to the spokesman, there were 88 workers comp claims filed in connection with the attack and 54 remain active claims. Of the 88 claims filed, “15 to 20 were rejected almost immediately because they were deemed not work-related. Those claimants were not present during the attack,” he said in an email Thursday.
“Overall, the county has a total of 22,000 employees and about 2,500 active workers comp cases,” he said. “Medical care for the Dec. 2 patients has totaled about $22 million dollars so far, $2 million of which the county has paid out of pocket. The rest has been covered by the county's insurance.”
The following story has been corrected to reflect the correct workers compensation policyholder.