AB 361 (California)

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AB 361 (California)

Postby rider001 on Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:40 pm

What are the implications of AB 361? When does it go into affect? Will it be applied retroactively? Are sanctions and court costs and order for carriers who continue to deny payment for authorized treament?
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Re: AB 361 (California) (California)

Postby jonbrissman on Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:19 pm

A.B 361 was enacted 10/11/2009 as a non-urgency measure. As I understand it, that means it will not become effective until 01/01/2010.

The Act added new Labor Code Section 4610.3 to our playbook. The statute says that if medical services are authorized and provided, the employer may not later rescind or modify that authorization for any reason. If services were authorized and not yet provided, the approval may be withdrawn. So, for example, if a claims adjuster authorizes services that were provided by a non-MPN physician, the former may not later deny payment to the physician on the basis that he/she was not a MPN-authorized provider.

When services were authorized and provided prior to this bill, the employer had contractual liability. If the provider was not a MPN member, the employer still must pay. The statute codifies what we already knew and were doing.

I don't see the statute as making any change in procedure or policy whatsoever. The statute essentially concedes this point when it says, "This subdivision is declaratory of existing law." There are three paragraphs in the statute that says it does nothing to affect any other law. So retroactivity is not an issue -- this was always the state of affairs.

The Section is silent on sanctions, costs, and attorney fees. You will have no more or less entitlement to such than you had prior to passage.

The short answer to your question about the implication of A.B. 361 is: none. One wonders why the Legislature spent their time, effort and energy. Maybe now some legislators and the Governor can brag they passed a workers' compensation bill this session. Our Labor Code books got a little heavier for no good reason that I can discern.

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