Workers Compensation Lawyers go to Sacramento to fight for injured worker rights, April 2019
Over 40 California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA) members descended on the State Capitol last week to meet with state lawmakers and their staff to discuss important issues facing injured workers.
Divided into several groups, CAAA had 68 legislative meetings to advocate for legislation to decrease delays in medical care, eliminate discrimination in disability rulings and ban civil arrests in California courthouses.
In every meeting, CAAA continued its 6-year active campaign to resist calls from insurance carriers to reduce or eliminate the ability
of workers to file claims for cumulative trauma injuries, a vital lifeline for many who are injured
“We’re essentially dealing with a system that is broken and has failed to deliver the necessary medical care to workers who suffer job-related injuries, whether by lack of accountability or blatant discrimination,” said Jason Marcus, legislative chair for the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association in a press release issued last week. “We’ve introduced legislation that will hopefully make an impact in jump-starting much-needed reforms to protect workers and save their families from financial ruin.”
As we’ve stated many times over the last few years, insurance profits are up, employer premiums are down, and yet, those who get injured on the job are still enduring unnecessary and harmful bureaucratic delays in getting the medical treatment they need to get back to work.
CAAA said the bills it is sponsoring this year would reduce delays in medical care, eliminate discrimination in disability rulings and ban civil arrests in courthouses throughout the state.
Assembly Bill 1107, by Assemblyman Kasen Chu, D-San Jose, would create exemptions from utilization review in certain cases. The bill would prohibit UR on previously approved treatment for workers suffering from a serious chronic condition when the employer fails to demonstrate any change in the worker’s condition since the treatment was last authorized. The measure would also prohibit UR on treatment requests coming from a member of a medical provider network.
The Assembly Insurance Committee is scheduled to hear testimony on the bill during an April 24 hearing.
Senate Bill 731, by Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, would prohibit doctors from considering race, sex, age and other similar factors when apportioning disability to non-industrial causes. The Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement was scheduled to hear the bill Wednesday, but Bradford withdrew the measure from consideration. Another hearing hasn’t been scheduled.
Assembly Bill 668, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, would prohibit civil arrests at California courthouses. A bill analysis says the measure is intended to limit the ability of immigration enforcement officers to arrest people inside of courthouses. In that regard, the bill differs from a measure former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed last year that would have prohibited the arrest of anyone going to or coming from a courthouse.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee voted 9-3 to pass the bill on March 26. The Assembly Appropriations Committee placed the measure on its suspense file April 3.
Each of us should thank the CAAA members who volunteered their time and their expense to carry on the fight.