According to the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB), California’s workers’ comp system covers over 700,000 employers and provides medical and wage benefits to nearly 800,000 injured workers.
With such a large system, servicing such a large number of people, it’s no wonder the state has spent years finding ways to streamline the system, get much needed benefits to workers, while balancing the needs of its employer base. The most recent attempt came in 2012, when Governor Brown signed SB 863 into law. The goal of the legislation was to not only increase benefits to injured workers, but make the system more efficient.
However, almost three years since its enactment, and injured worker advocates are arguing the system is not living up to its promise to injured workers. A local news outlet in California conducted a series examining how the current system might not be meeting the needs of the injured worker. One of the biggest hurdles comes from California’s utilization review process (UR). Injured workers are seeing long delays in their treatment because insurance companies, and the doctors they hire to review medical treatment plans, are denying their requests in the interest of the insurers, not the injured workers.
When an injured workers’ treatment is delayed, or even denied, their recovery time increases, keeping them away from work longer, and in some cases, preventing their healing entirely. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau reports each year on how the longer a claim remains open, the higher costs are for employers, insurers, and the state. Delaying an injured workers’ recovery can have lasting impacts.
IWP works with injured workers, their advocates, and medical providers in all states to prevent delays and denials. We work hard to ensure all patients receive the treatment they were prescribed efficiently so they can work towards healing and getting back to work quicker.