Opposition to Workers’ Comp Ballot Measure Builds Early
A coalition of businesses, not-for-profits and other public entities on Wednesday criticized a proposed ballot measure seeking revisions to state laws that modified the workers' compensation insurance system over the past three years, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The measure, titled the Fair Medical Treatment for Workers Act, would permit workers' compensation claimants to choose their own physician, reversing current regulations that require claimants to see a network of physicians selected by their employer, unless the worker designated a provider before the injury. The proposal also would require the Department of Industrial Relations to update its medical fee schedule annually.
The initiative was proposed by William Morris, an attorney who represents workers' compensation claimants. The Attorney General's office last week amended the proposal.
The coalition opposing the measure -- Californians Against the Job Killer Initiative -- said it "would enrich applicants' attorneys at the expense of California's economy."
The California Applicants Attorneys Association, of which Morris is a member, announced earlier this month that it also opposes the proposal.
Linda Atcherley, the association's president, said the group agrees that injured workers should be able to choose their own physicians. However, she added, "[W]e are concerned regarding some potential cost drivers in the initiative that have nothing to do with delivering benefits to the injured workers, including medical treatment or correcting the catastrophic reduction of benefits for permanent disability" (Johnson, Sacramento Business Journal, 2/28).