Today (January 17) the DWC will be holding hearings in Oakland on proposed revisions to the QME regs. The hearing is slated to begin at 10 am in the auditorium of the Elihu Harris State Building.
Changes in the QME regs are being watched closely by all major workers’comp stakeholders. Under current law, QMEs wield tremendous power in California’s comp system. Disputed issues over medical treatment, disability status and permanent disability rating are resolved by QMEs.
The number of QMEs doing evaluations has dropped considerably. Meanwhile, there’s been growth of mega-evaluation groups that have doctors available with offices all over the place. In a post last year I noted that one of Boxer & Gerson’s clients was sent to panel QME evaluation at a tanning salon.
The proposed regs would tighten up some-but not enough-on abuses by doctors gaming the system with muliple evaluation locations to advance their doc in the box business.
Few of the more experienced, thoughtful QMEs (many of whom are members of CSIMS, the California professional organization for industrial medicine examiners)are signed up with these groups.As a result, many lawyers and judges believe that the quality of medical-legal evaluations in California has declined at the very time when the legal issues have become more complex in comp cases.
I’ll continue covering the issue, albeit on a reduced schedule over the next week. I’m currently posting this from an internet cafe in Siem Reap, Cambodia where I’m visiting the Angkor Wat, the 12th century Hindu/Buddhist temple complex that’s on the short list of the world’s top architectural treasures. Think Laura Croft Tomb Raider.
Category: Political developments