Senate Committee Rejects Bill That Would Have Transferred Workers’ Compensation Fraud Investigations to Counties
The Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee on Wednesday voted to reject a bill (SBX4 18) that would have transferred responsibility for workers' compensation fraud investigations to counties from the Department of Insurance, the Sacramento Bee reports. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Poochigian (R-Fresno), would have increased state funding for local district attorneys' offices from $12 million to $27 million. Under the bill, the Department of Insurance would have retained responsibility for administrative functions, such as collecting and analyzing workers' compensation fraud statistics.
Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi (D) said that the department has increased its investigations of workers' compensation fraud cases, adding that a centralized, statewide workers' compensation fraud investigation program is more effective than a number operated locally.
Citing a state audit critical of the state's anti-fraud program, Poochigian said, "The millions (spent) in fraud fighting are being wasted" (Chan, Sacramento Bee, 8/12).