Workers' Comp Reforms Okayed in California

Sept. 16, 2003
California's State Legislature approved a package of workers' compensation reforms spearheaded by Gov. Gray Davis late last week, but neither those who support reform or those opposed to it seem happy.

The legislative package, now on its way to the desk of Davis for approval:

  • Sets fee schedules for outpatient surgery centers and drugs;
  • Expands the use of managed care and create a pilot program that gives an injured worker a second opinion for spinal surgeries;
  • Cracks down on fraud;
  • Strengthens prompt payment for doctors and hospitals to ensure better access to health care and increases penalties for those that fail to pay in a timely manner;
  • Expands the use of alternative dispute resolution; and
  • Requires rates of the top 50 workers' compensation insurance companies to be posted on the Department of Insurance Web site.

"I am pleased that real reform for businesses struggling with workers' compensation costs is on its way to my desk," said Davis. "When I announced my reform package on May 1st with Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, I vowed to overhaul the system and stop escalating workers' compensation rates. This reform plan will help keep jobs in California and encourage business expansion while maintaining benefits for injured workers."

Republicans and many small business owners complained the reforms do not go far enough to reduce the cost of spiraling premiums.

According to legislators, the reform package averts a 12 percent workers' compensation rate hike scheduled for Jan. 1. It also rolls back a 7 percent rate hike that took effect in July.

One Republican leader complained to the Los Angeles Times that the reform measures are "designed to take the pressure off those who argue for workers' comp reform," saying it doesn't go far enough to really help employers.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!