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And…segway into the actual bill proposals. The following is a list with a short summary of those bills introduced for consideration in 2012:
AB 1454 (Solorio): This bill would include doctors of audiology who meet specified requirements among those medical professionals who may be appointed by the Administrative Director as a qualified medical evaluator in the workers’ compensation system. In addition, the bill would include licensed audiologists within that definition of physician for the purposes of workers’ compensation.
AB 1687 (Fong): Existing law requires that communications regarding decisions to approve requests by physicians specify the specific medical treatment service approved, and that responses regarding decisions to modify, delay, or deny medical treatment services requested by physicians include a clear and concise explanation of the reasons for the employer's decision, a description of the criteria or guidelines used, and the clinical reasons for the decisions regarding medical necessity. This bill would additionally require that communications or responses regarding decisions to modify, delay, or deny medical treatment services requested by physicians also include a clear and concise explanation of the available options for objecting to the modification, delay, or denial of those medical services.
AB 1734 (Hagman): This bill would require the Conservation and Liquidation Office to report and publish corporate claims on a quarterly basis through a public filing with the court in which an insurer's liquidation proceeding is pending. The bill would require the office to contact the claimants whose claims have been allowed, as provided. The bill would require the receiver, the Insurance Commissioner, or the Conservation and Liquidation Office, as applicable, upon receipt of notice that an allowed claim has been assigned to another party, to take specified actions within 30 days. The bill would prohibit the office from accepting a claim assignment request 30 days or less before distribution of the claim or 60 days after the claim distribution has been made, and would allow the office to charge a fee to the party requesting the reassignment of the claim to cover the reasonable costs of administering the reassignment, not to exceed $250. The bill would also provide that the office be held harmless from and indemnified against any harm or economic loss suffered by the claim purchaser due to misrepresentation by the assignor.
AB 1794 (Williams): This bill would make it a misdemeanor for a licensed contractor or a qualifier for a license to fail to notify his or her worker's compensation insurance carrier within 15 days of hiring an employee. This bill would also require an insurer who issues a workers' compensation insurance policy to any contractor to require that the contractor report the hiring of new workers within 15 days and would extend these provisions until January 1, 2015.
AB 1889 (Fong): Existing law prohibits an acupuncturist, as defined, from being authorized to determine disability for certain purposes relating to workers' compensation disability payments and benefits. This bill would delete this prohibition.
AB 2219 (Knight): This bill would eliminate the sunset on the provisions requiring a contractor with a C-39 roofing classification to obtain and maintain workers’ comp insurance even if he/she has no employees and the provisions. It would also require an insurer who issues a workers’ comp policy to a roofing contractor holding a C-39 to perform an annual payroll audit for the contractor. AB 2219 would require that the audit contain separate data based on the classification of roofing contractors by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, broken down by reported annual payroll ranges, and would require that the audit include an in-person visit to the place of business of the roofing contractor to verify whether the number of employees reported by the contractor is accurate.
AB 2244 (Conway): Spot bill relative to supplemental job displacement benefits.
AB 2301 (Committee on Insurance): Spot bill relative to CA Insurance Guarantee Association.
AB 2302 (Committee on Insurance): This bill would repeal various requirements on the CHSWC to publish various reports.
AB 2377 (Huber): This bill would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation reforming the workers' compensation system.
AB 2449 (Norby): This bill would require the courts to strictly construe the law with respect to what constitutes an independent contractor, as defined for purposes of limiting the inappropriate extension of workers’ comp benefits to persons not intended to receive them.
AB 2493 (Hernandez): This bill would authorize the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers' Compensation or an independent organization designated by the administrative director to establish, maintain, administer, and publish annually an updated list of certified administrative hearing interpreters it has determined meet certain minimum standards, for purposes of administrative hearings and medical examinations conducted in connection with worker's compensation and appeals to the Worker's Compensation Appeals Board.
SB 1105 (Lieu): This bill would require the lien of a self-insured employee welfare benefit plan, upon any compensation benefits awarded to the applicant, to be allowed as a living expense lien. The lien shall be in the full amount of benefits paid to the applicant after the date of injury.
SB 1152 (Wyland): Spot bill relative to the official medical fee schedule.
SB 1177 (Leno): This bill would prohibit, in cases where an employer is convicted of a crime against an employee, a payment to the employee or the employee's kin that is made by the employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier from being used to offset the restitution owed unless the court finds substantial evidence that all premiums for that insurance coverage have been made in full accordance with the law as of the date of the crime.
SB 1347 (Vargas): This bill would require the Director of Industrial Relations to designate a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation, defined by the bill as a reporting group, for the purposes of providing information regarding the administration, costs, and policy impacts of legislative and market changes in the administration of workers’ compensation programs and benefits to injured employees of public self-insureds.
SB 1406 (Emmerson): This bill would authorize the State Compensation Insurance Fund to enter into a joint powers agreement.
SB 1513 (Negrete McLeod): This bill would allow the board of directors of the State Fund to invest or re-invest in additional investments in the same manner provided for private carriers, including, but not limited to, in the stock of certain corporations, specified mortgage-related instruments, and in the stock of a federal home loan bank.