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In the last month of the 2009-2010 session, the California Legislature has acted on the following workers’ compensation measures:
AB 933 (Fong): This bill would require physicians in the workers' compensation system who conduct utilization review to be licensed in the state of California.
This bill passed the Senate this week with a vote of 22-12. The Assembly concurred in the Senate amendments with a vote of 51-27. AB 933 is now awaiting the Governor’s action.
AB 1696 (B. Berryhill): This bill would extend workers compensation death benefits until the youngest child reaches age 19 if the parent served in specified law enforcement and firefighting services, and was killed on duty.
This bill passed the Assembly in May with a vote of 75-0. The Senate passed the measure on August 11th with a vote of 27-3. AB 1696 is now awaiting the Governor’s action.
AB 2253 (Coto): This bill would provide that an existing presumption for a work-related injury shall be extended to specified firefighters and police officers following termination of service for a period of three months for each year of service but not to exceed 120 months in any circumstance, commencing with the last day actually worked in the specified capacity.
This bill passed the Assembly in June with a vote of 68-4. The Senate passed the bill with a vote of 25-9 on August 19th. AB 2253 is now awaiting the Governor’s action.
AB 2305 (Knight): This bill would extend the sunset date, from January 1, 2011 to January 1, 2013, on existing law requiring a roofing contractor to obtain and maintain workers' compensation insurance, even if he or she has no employees. AB 2305 would also extend the parallel sunset date requiring the California Department of Insurance to report on this effect and would require automatic license suspension for licensees without proof of insurance.
This bill passed the Senate last week with a vote of 31-0. The Assembly concurred in the Senate amendments with a vote of 71-2 this week. AB 2305 is now awaiting the Governor’s action.
AB 2397 (Solorio): This bill would provide that public employees and the employer through the collective bargaining process may mutually agree to extend the leave of absence under specified provisions beyond the one-year period of disability, but that the extension may only be for a maximum of one additional year.
This bill passed the Senate last week with a vote of 21-10. The Assembly concurred in the Senate amendments this week with a vote of 50-13.
AB 2490 (Jones): This bill would require, as between an employer, whose principal place of business is in California, and a worker's compensation insurer, any agreement concerning dispute resolution, other than settlement agreements, to conform to the following: a) be filed with the insurance rating organization and be provided to the employer contemporaneously with any written quote that offers to provide insurance coverage; b) contain a choice of law provision that identifies California as the law to be used to resolve any disputes that arise in California; c) contain a forum selection clause identifying California as the proper venue for any proceeding regarding a dispute that arises in California; and, d) allow, prior to inception of the policy, employers and workers' compensation insurance companies, to negotiate and agree to a choice of law or a forum other than California.
The Assembly passed this bill in its original form in May with a vote of 41-28. It is currently on the third reading file on the Senate Floor. It will then have to return to the Assembly for concurrence of the Senate amendments.
AB 2779 (Solorio): This bill, amended in August, would require that a compound drug may only be reimbursed through the workers compensation system if: (a)the physicians request for authorization for the compounded drug has been submitted to the insurer or, if there is no insurer, to the employer, for prospective utilization review; (b) the physician's request explicitly identifies the recommended drug as a compounded drug; and, (c) all active ingredients in the compound medication are medication ingredients in drug products that have been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration or listed by the United States Pharmacopeia.In addition, AB 2779 would allow a non-physician to deny reimbursement for a substantially identical compounded drug if the compounded drug was denied through utilization review, the denial was not overturned, and there has not been a documented material change in the employee's medical condition. This bill would prohibit reimbursement for any ingredient in a compound drug that does not have a valid National Drug Code and a corresponding unit price in the Medi-Cal database. AB 2779 would empower the Division of Workers' Compensation to adopt regulations to implement these requirements. This bill would also make the above-listed requirements applicable to any compounded drug dispensed on or after November 1, 2010, and define "compounded drug" as having the same meaning specified in regulations adopted by the California State Board of Pharmacy.
This bill passed the Assembly in its initial form with a vote of 74-0 back in April. It is currently in the Senate and was moved to the Inactive File this week. The bill still may be brought up next week.
SB 145 (DeSaulnier): This bill, amended August 9th, would prohibit the consideration of race, national origin, gender, sex, genetic characteristics, and certain other factors in the delivery of workers' compensation benefits and the determination of an apportionment of the causes of an industrial disability.
This bill passed the Assembly this week with a vote of 47-27. The Senate concurred in the Assembly amendments with a vote of 22-14. SB 145 is now awaiting the Governor’s action.
SB 1254 (Leno): This bill would authorize the registrar of the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to issue a stop order to any unlicensed or licensed contractor who as an employer who has failed to secure workers' compensation insurance coverage for his/her employees. SB 1254 would also establish procedures to request a hearing to protest a stop order, and authorize the Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs to designate 12 persons as peace officers for assignment to the special investigations unit of CSLB.
This bill passed the Assembly this week with a vote of 75-1. The Senate concurred in the Assembly amendments with a vote of 36-0. SB 1254 is now awaiting the Governor’s action.
SB 1407 (Committee on Banking, Finance & Insurance): This bill would authorize the State Compensation Insurance Fund to invest its "excess" funds in the same investments as domestic insurers, subject to exceptions.
This bill passed the Senate in May with a vote of 30-0. The bill is currently awaiting hearing on the Assembly Floor.