2021/2022 LEGISLATIVE OVERVIEW
Below are bills from the 2021/2022 California Legislative Session that have been signed into law and could impact the workers' compensation system:
SOCIAL WORKERS: Licensed clinical social workers will be allowed to join MPNs, HCOs, and JPA medical provider listings to treat or evaluate injured workers with a physician referral; however, they are not authorized to determine disability. [SB 1002; bill had bipartisan support, see details below.]
PRESUMPTION CASES: The time to determine liability for first responder presumptions under LC 3212 to 3212.85 and 3212.9 to 3213.2 is decreased to 75 days; allows for up to 240 weeks of TD, and creates a penalty up to 5x the amount of unreasonably delayed benefits with the penalty capped at $50,000. [SB 1127; a controversial bill as the empirical evidence did not support the need for this money grab pursued by the unions, and could result in greater denials to allow time for claims investigations.]
CONTRACTORS: All licensed concrete, heating, HVAC, asbestos abatement, and tree service contractors will be required to have work comp insurance, regardless if they have no employees; and is expanded to all contractors as of 1/1/2026. [SB 216, amends B&P Section 7125]
DISABILITY PAYMENTS: AB 2148 extends the sunset date to 1/1/2024 in which employers are allowed to make indemnity payments with pre-paid debit cards.
UR ANALYSIS: Extends to 7/1/2023 the deadline to complete the analysis of the the impact of UR changes stemming from SB 1160 which included automatic stay orders on liens, and allowing MPN doctors to provide some medical treatment without UR approval during the first 30 days of a claim. [AB 2848]
FRAUD TRAINING: One hour of study on insurance fraud is required for agents and brokers to receive or renew their licenses. [SB 1242]
PEST CONTROL: Exterminators must file proof of work comp insurance to the Pest Control Board. [Details of SB 1064 can be seen in last month's newsletter.]
FAST FOOD INDUSTRY: AB 257 authorizes the creation of a Fast Food Council to set minimum standards for wages, time off, health and safety, and security for fast food workers.