Boxer & Gerson Partner Bert Arnold shared from one of his specialty areas—Medical Provider Networks—in recent months as he sat on seminar panels for two programs under the auspices of the California Lawyers Association (CLA). The statewide organization of attorneys was formed at the beginning of 2018 from the various Sections of the State Bar combined with the California Young Lawyers Association. Arnold participated in the same panel discussion in San Francisco and Pismo Beach about a month apart in March and April, the better to reach members spread across the state.
Arnold was joined on the panel by Administrative Law Judge Francie Lehmer and Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney Michael Giachino, a partner in Oakland’s Hanna Brophy law firm. The three-member panel addressed the topic of a Medical Provider Network Access Assistant, a recent innovation designed to reduce problems some workers experience in accessing medical care in a timely fashion.
A Medical Provider Network Access Assistant functions as a conduit to connect injured workers with medical providers who can commit to seeing and evaluating them on a specific timeline. This can be important for workers not only in dealing with the injury itself, but also in meeting reporting guidelines that can affect their coverage for injuries and work status. Workers call the Access Assistant when they have been unable to find an available provider who can see them within a reasonable timeframe or geographical area.
Since many medical providers have full patient loads and find it difficult to take on new cases, the Access Assistant is charged with searching for available providers who are willing and able to commit to seeing a patient in a timely fashion. Slightly different timelines apply to general practitioners and specialists, though all must commit to seeing patients on an agreed schedule.
Arnold is a longtime certified workers’ compensation specialist who became an attorney in 1986 and regularly presents at conferences, seminars and union gatherings around the state. He has been named a Northern California “Super Lawyer” on multiple occasions.