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Calif. medical provider network bill downgraded to task force

California capitol

The California Assembly passed a heavily amended bill on Thursday that originally would have created a statewide workers comp medical provider network but now just establishes a task force to evaluate the idea.

A.B. 1465 passed unanimously in its revised form, which would require the state’s Commission on Health and Safety and Workers Compensation to study delays and access to care issues in medical provider networks and provide specific data on injury claims and treatment to the legislature by Jan. 1, 2023.

The original language of the bill called for the establishment of a California Medical Provider Network and would have allowed workers to choose to be treated through the statewide network or their employer’s medical treatment network.

The California Workers Compensation Institute, which conducted an analysis of the original legislation, predicted in April that creating the alternative provider network would cost the state at least $314 million a year and would be “unlikely to improve access to care.”