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SB 1160 Seeks to Reform Workers' Comp System

The bill known as SB 1160 has made it through the California State Senate through a landslide 35-3 bipartisan vote and now awaits a decision from Governor Jerry Brown. If passed, this bill would implement major reforms to the state’s workers’ compensation system in an effort to combat a number of problems that have emerged in recent years.

The primary goal of the bill, authored by Senator Tony Mendoza, is to attempt to reduce the numerous fraudulent billing claims handled by the system every year, resulting in billions of dollars of unnecessary payouts. Not only will this help to balance the state’s budget, but it will hopefully also improve the amount of time necessary to get injured workers the treatments and benefits they need.

Senator Mendoza said in an interview: “I am outraged by the pervasiveness of fraudulent medical billing in California’s workers’ compensation system. The degree and severity of the problem negatively impacts workers, businesses and California’s economy. A worker who is legitimately injured on the job is entitled to immediate medical treatment. My bill ensures that injured workers will no longer be subject to delayed or denied medical treatment within the first thirty-days of a reported injury.”

These delays were frequently caused by schemes that included billing the workers’ comp system for things like fraudulent surgeries, expensive medications, and selling patient referrals. This resulted in a number of payouts to doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals, who would pocket the money. While a number of arrests have been made, the problem still cost the state billions.

The measure has been widely supported by organized labor, medical providers, doctors, and workers’ compensation attorneys. By cracking down on fraudulent claims, workers will be able to receive treatment quicker and get compensated for their lost income when they desperately need the money, and doctors will receive the payments they are owed by these systems quicker.

Call Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation today by dialing and get a free consultation for your workers’ compensation case!

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