Workers Comp Zone


Workers’ comp is not a sexy topic.

Writing a blog on a subject so specific and detailed as California workers’ compensation tends to focus on what’s wrong and what needs to be done to fix it.

And despite wave after wave of well intentioned reform, problems continue to pile up with the system. It seems not to matter whether the reforms were politically based or evidence based, whether the reforms were part of a negotiated compromise of broad stakeholder groups or some legislative legerdemain under the aegis of strong Capitol leadership .

You might not feel very thankful if you were a disabled worker waiting months to get a QME panel. Or months to have an anonymous physician do an IMR review on a UR decision rendered by a doctor who looked at almost none of the medical records.

So it’s no surprise that there are many embittered workers and families in “the system” who feel that the benefits are neither unencumbered, expeditious or adequate.

But there are also many things to be thankful for, and here are a few:

-a corps of workers’ comp judges who are mostly diligent and concerned for the welfare of California workers
-a system of “user funding” that has given the WCAB some relative stability in comparison to the funding problems recently plaguing California’s civil justice system
-a workers’ comp press that assiduously follows developments in the field, publishing helpful updates and analysis
-a workers’ comp bar that largely (although with some outliers in the applicant and defense bar) is decent, honorable and devoted to the interests of clients
-a medical system that for all its delays, flaws and some excesses, may well be more inclusive for many workers than other forms of coverage which they would access
-at a time where there really is no consensus about how to handle large numbers of undocumented immigrants, the workers’ comp system generally treats them with respect
-the very idea that a worker does not need to prove their employer or someone else was at fault to recover benefits or get medical treatment

Yes, in certain ways the California workers’ comp system is dysfunctional. There is much to be done.

But today, join me in a short mental note of some of the good things.

Here’s hoping that readers enjoy the holiday weekend doing something meaningful.

Julius Young

Category: Understanding the CA WC system