On March 9, 2022, the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) announced that in-person hearings will resume starting March 21, 2022, at almost all of the DWC district offices. The only exceptions are Eureka, which is now a completely virtual office, and satellite locations Bishop, Marysville, Chico and Ukiah, which also will remain virtual.
MICHAEL SULLIVAN & ASSOCIATES BLOG
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated its Workers' Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement (WCMSA) Reference Guide (Reference Guide). The latest version, Version 3.5, was published Jan. 10, 2022. The Reference Guide was updated to clarify the use of non-CMS-approved products to address future medical care.
A case currently pending in the Supreme Court of the United States could spell a big win for California employers this summer, allowing them to foreclose a wider range of group employee lawsuits using arbitration agreements.
On Tuesday a deal was struck between Gov. Newsom and California lawmakers to provide a new Supplemental Sick Leave similar to the one that expired on September 30. Those who follow my webinars may recall I predicted this would occur in delayed fashion after the 9/30 expiration (e.g. the March 2021 retroactive extension), but this was well beyond any predicted delay. Although not yet in final form, here are the components we expect:
It has long been recognized that an employee's ability to participate vocational retraining is a significant factor that must be considered in assessing the worker's permanent disability. (LeBoeuf v. WCAB (1983) 48 CCC 587, 597.) An employee's inability to compete in the open labor market could support an award of permanent total disability. Even though vocational rehabilitation was repealed and replaced with the supplemental job displacement benefit, in Ogilvie v. WCAB (2011) 76 CCC 624, the Court of Appeal held that an employee could still rebut a scheduled rating by establishing that he or she was not amenable to rehabilitation.
Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) amended its Rule of Practice and Procedure to allow for remote hearings, electronic filings, and electronic service. The changes made permanent many of the temporary changes implemented by the WCAB.
On June 1, 2021, the 6th Appellate District Court of Appeal certified for publication its decision in Applied Materials et al. v. WCAB.
In that case, the 6th District Court of Appeal issued a lengthy 73-page decision addressing multiple issues raised by the parties. However, the decision is most significant for two issues:
- Whether a worker's post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) arising from a treating physician's sexual misconduct is compensable under workers' compensation. It was.
- Whether the Fitzpatrick case was wrongly decided. Fitzpatrick was important as it had held that the WCJ may not use LC 4662 on its own to make a finding of total permanent disability. This case and its finding were affirmed.