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AB-44 Workers’ compensation: medical treatment: terrorist attacks: workplace violence.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/20/2017 09:00 PM
AB44:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 20, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 06, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 44


Introduced by Assembly Member Reyes
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry, Chu, Cooley, Gipson, Holden, Kalra, Limón, Medina, Rodriguez, Rubio, Mark Stone, and Voepel)
(Coauthor: Senator Leyva)

December 05, 2016


An act to amend Section 4656 of, and to add Section 4610.7 to, add Section 4600.05 to the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 44, as amended, Reyes. Workers’ compensation: medical treatment: terrorist attacks: workplace violence.
Existing law establishes a workers’ compensation system, administered by the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, to compensate an employee for injuries sustained in the course of his or her employment. Under existing law, an employer must provide reasonably required treatments, including, but not limited to, medical and surgical treatment, to cure or relieve an employee’s injuries sustained in the course of his or her employment.
This bill would require employers to provide immediately accessible advocacy services to employees injured in the course of employment by an act of domestic terrorism, as defined, when the Governor has declared a state of emergency due to that act of domestic terrorism.

Existing law establishes a workers’ compensation system, administered by the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, to compensate an employee for injuries sustained in the course of his or her employment. Existing law requires every employer to establish a utilization review process, and defines “utilization review” as utilization review or utilization management functions that prospectively, retrospectively, or concurrently review and approve, modify, or deny, based in whole or in part on medical necessity to cure and relieve, treatment recommendations by physicians, prior to, retrospectively, or concurrent with providing medical treatment services. Existing law also provides for an independent medical review process to resolve disputes over utilization review decisions, as defined.

This bill would exempt medical treatment for employees or first responders who sustain physical or psychological injury as a result of an act of terrorism or violence in the workplace, as defined, from the utilization review process and the independent medical review process, and would provide for an expedited proceeding before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to resolve disputes regarding treatment. The bill would also apply retroactively to the employees and first responders injured in the San Bernardino terrorist attack of December 2, 2015, and any other employees or first responders injured by an act of terrorism or violence in the workplace that occurs prior to January 1, 2018.

Existing workers’ compensation law generally requires employers to secure the payment of workers’ compensation, including medical treatment, for injuries incurred by their employees that arise out of, or in the course of, employment. Existing law prohibits aggregate disability payments for a single injury occurring on or after April 19, 2004, causing temporary disability from extending for more than 104 compensable weeks within a period of 2 years from the date of commencement of temporary disability payment. Existing law permits aggregate disability payments for certain injuries or conditions including, but not limited to, amputations, severe burns, and high-velocity eye injuries, to be made for not more than 240 compensable weeks within a period of 5 years from the date of the injury.

This bill would add physical or psychological injury arising from an act of terrorism or violence in the workplace, as defined, to the list of injuries or conditions for which aggregate disability payments may be made for not more than 240 compensable weeks within a period of 5 years from the date of injury.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 4600.05 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

4600.05.
 (a) All employers, as defined in Section 3300, shall provide immediately accessible advocacy services for employees injured in the course of employment by an act of domestic terrorism, as defined in Section 2331 of Title 18 of the United States Code, to assist injured employees in obtaining medical treatment and to assist providers of medical services in seeking authorization and payment of medical treatment. These advocacy services may be provided by the employer, the employer’s insurer, or the employer’s claims administrator.
(b) This section shall apply only when the Governor has declared a state of emergency pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 8558 of the Government Code in connection with the act of domestic terrorism.
(c) Nothing in this section is intended to alter the conditions for compensability of an injury, as defined in Section 3600.
(d) The administrative director shall adopt regulations to implement this section.

SECTION 1.Section 4610.7 is added to the Labor Code, to read:
4610.7.

(a)Sections 4610 and 4610.5 shall not apply to medical treatment for an employee or first responder who sustains physical or psychological injury as a result of an act of terrorism or violence in the workplace.

(b)Disputes regarding treatment under this section shall be decided in an expedited proceeding, within 30 days after the declaration of readiness is filed, with a determination as to the rights of the parties made and served by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.

(c)This section shall apply retroactively to the employees and first responders injured in the San Bernardino terrorist attack of December 2, 2015, and any other employees or first responders injured by an act of terrorism or violence in the workplace that occurred prior to January 1, 2018.

(d)For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1)“Act of terrorism” is the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

(2)“Violence in the workplace” means an assault against a person with a firearm or other dangerous weapon that results in serious bodily harm or psychological injury.

SEC. 2.Section 4656 of the Labor Code is amended to read:
4656.

(a)Aggregate disability payments for a single injury occurring prior to January 1, 1979, causing temporary disability shall not extend for more than 240 compensable weeks within a period of five years from the date of the injury.

(b)Aggregate disability payments for a single injury occurring on or after January 1, 1979, and prior to April 19, 2004, causing temporary partial disability shall not extend for more than 240 compensable weeks within a period of five years from the date of the injury.

(c)(1)Aggregate disability payments for a single injury occurring on or after April 19, 2004, causing temporary disability shall not extend for more than 104 compensable weeks within a period of two years from the date of commencement of temporary disability payment.

(2)Aggregate disability payments for a single injury occurring on or after January 1, 2008, causing temporary disability shall not extend for more than 104 compensable weeks within a period of five years from the date of injury.

(3)Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2), for an employee who suffers from the following injuries or conditions, aggregate disability payments for a single injury occurring on or after April 19, 2004, causing temporary disability shall not extend for more than 240 compensable weeks within a period of five years from the date of the injury:

(A)Acute and chronic hepatitis B.

(B)Acute and chronic hepatitis C.

(C)Amputations.

(D)Severe burns.

(E)Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

(F)High-velocity eye injuries.

(G)Chemical burns to the eyes.

(H)Pulmonary fibrosis.

(I)Chronic lung disease.

(J)Physical or psychological injury arising from an act of terrorism or violence in the workplace.

(4)For purposes of this subdivision, the following terms have the following meanings:

(A)“Act of terrorism” is the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

(B)“Violence in the workplace” means an assault against a person with a firearm or other dangerous weapon that results in serious bodily harm or psychological injury.