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The California Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that would reduce time periods for employers to reject workers compensation claims and increase liability for medical treatment.
S.B. 335, which passed in a 29-10 vote, would shorten the window an employer has to reject a workers comp claim before it is presumed compensable from 90 days to 45 days, and would further reduce the time period to 30 days for first responders who file claims for hernia, heart trouble, pneumonia or tuberculosis acquired in the course of employment.
The bill would increase liability for medical treatment from $10,000 to $17,000 until the date of the claim is accepted or rejected, and also allow for up to a 10% increase of awards to workers if the employer or insurer is found to have unreasonably delayed payment.
The bill will now go to the Assembly for consideration.
Also on Tuesday, the Assembly unanimously passed A.B. 404, which changes the requirement that the state’s medical-legal fee schedule must be reviewed annually to every two years to increase the conversion factor by the percentage increase to the Medicare Economic Index.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
The State Compensation Insurance Fund has established two new $25 million relief funds to help defray COVID-19-related safety expenses and provide wage replacement assistance for essential workers, the California insurer announced in a statement Monday.