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The California Assembly passed legislation that would amend the state’s Labor Code to include penalties for unnecessary delays in the utilization review process for workers compensation claims.
A.B. 1107, sponsored by Assembly members Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, and Eloise Reyes, D-San Bernardino, passed unanimously on Thursday and has since moved to the Senate for consideration.
The bill proposes to amend Section 4610.01 of the Labor Code to reduce delays in the ability of injured workers to receive medical treatment. The legislation proposes financial repercussions for unreasonable delays or refusals of workers compensation benefits. The bill would allow benefits to be increased up to 25% or up to $10,000, whichever is less, for unreasonably delayed or refused payment, and also would not preclude an employee from receiving this additional compensation for unreasonable delays in the completion of the utilization review process.
A medical services utilization review decision is invalid only if it's untimely, and all other disputes regarding utilization review decisions should be resolved by California's independent medical review process, the California Workers' Compensation Appeals Board said in an en banc ruling.