The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau recently released a report on Senate Bill 863, stating that the bill has saved the state an annual figure of $1.3 billion. The report also states that the reforms have increased benefits for injured workers as a result, but this is often hotly debated as these savings usually come at the expense of claimants instead of for their benefit.
Senate Bill 863, which proposed sweeping changes to the workers’ compensation system, went into effect in 2013. The WCIRB has released a retrospective evaluation of the changes every year since the implementation of the bill, with this being the final evaluation.
Some of the key findings form this report included that the elimination of duplicate payment for a number of procedures, including spinal surgical implants, decreased the cost of each of these procedures to the state by more than $25,000, a 28 percent reduction. While the changes in physician costs were estimated to increase by over 6 percent, the medical payments made through the first half of the year 2016 has suggested an actual decrease in these costs of around 9 percent.
How Does This Impact Your Case?
If you are injured on the job and submit a claim to the workers’ compensation system, your case will no doubt be impacted by the reforms created by SB 863.
The reforms have also meant that some people who need treatments may find their claims denied for new reasons. This is demonstrated by the significantly increased number of independent medical review requests that have occurred since the reforms took effect. This hasn’t necessarily done much for those requesting the independent reviews—more than 85 percent of reviews have upheld the initial decision.
Roughly half of these requests came in regards to pharmaceutical services, meaning many people were unable to get the medication they needed or perhaps had before the reforms were implemented, and sought a second opinion in an effort to try to secure them.
Because of the stricter standards on California workers’ comp claims, it is strongly advised that you seek a Central Valley workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible if you are injured on the job. At Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation, our dedicated team of attorneys have a detailed familiarity with California’s workers’ compensation laws through more than 130 years of combined legal practice experience. We may be able to assist you with securing the benefits you need to help you obtain financial relief caused by your condition through dedicated representation both in and out of the courtroom.Injured at work in California’s Central Valley? Call Berry Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation at any of our three offices to request a free initial consultation.