California Highway Patrol Commissioner To Investigate Department Medical Pensions, Workers’ Compensation Claims
California Highway Patrol Commissioner Michael Brown on Thursday said that he would examine department medical pensions awarded in the past four years for possible improprieties and "revive" a CHP unit to address workers' compensation fraud, the Sacramento Bee reports. An investigation by the Bee found that more than 80% of high-ranking CHP officers filed workers' compensation claims within two years of retirement, a practice that in some cases could qualify them for settlements and medical pensions that "shield half of their post-retirement income from taxes."
At a news conference last week announcing the CHP commissioner's appointment, Brown said that he would launch the investigation and submit a tentative report to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) within 45 days. Brown said that because CHP spends about $75 million on workers' compensation and medical pension costs, "any reduction we have in that particular arena is going to be better for us and better for the public."
Brown said he has asked a CHP official to recommend how many investigators should be assigned to the workers' compensation fraud unit to review about 600 pending cases, the Bee reports (Hill/Korber, Sacramento Bee, 9/24).