Code Section Group

Labor Code - LAB

DIVISION 4. WORKERS' COMPENSATION AND INSURANCE [3200 - 6002]

  ( Heading of Division 4 amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 373. )

PART 1. SCOPE AND OPERATION [3200 - 4418]

  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 90. )

CHAPTER 7. Medical Examinations [4050 - 4068]

  ( Chapter 7 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 90. )

ARTICLE 2. Determination of Medical Issues [4060 - 4068]
  ( Article 2 added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 892, Sec. 28. )

4060.
  

(a) This section shall apply to disputes over the compensability of any injury. This section shall not apply where injury to any part or parts of the body is accepted as compensable by the employer.

(b) Neither the employer nor the employee shall be liable for any comprehensive medical-legal evaluation performed by other than the treating physician, except as provided in this section. However, reports of treating physicians shall be admissible.

(c) If a medical evaluation is required to determine compensability at any time after the filing of the claim form, and the employee is represented by an attorney, a medical evaluation to determine compensability shall be obtained only by the procedure provided in Section 4062.2.

(d) If a medical evaluation is required to determine compensability at any time after the claim form is filed, and the employee is not represented by an attorney, the employer shall provide the employee with notice either that the employer requests a comprehensive medical evaluation to determine compensability or that the employer has not accepted liability and the employee may request a comprehensive medical evaluation to determine compensability. Either party may request a comprehensive medical evaluation to determine compensability. The evaluation shall be obtained only by the procedure provided in Section 4062.1.

(e) The notice required by subdivision (d) shall be accompanied by the form prescribed by the administrative director for requesting the assignment of a panel of qualified medical evaluators.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 544, Sec. 3. (AB 335) Effective January 1, 2012.)

4061.
  

This section shall not apply to the employee’s dispute of a utilization review decision under Section 4610, nor to the employee’s dispute of the medical provider network treating physician’s diagnosis or treatment recommendations under Sections 4616.3 and 4616.4.

(a) Together with the last payment of temporary disability indemnity, the employer shall, in a form prescribed by the administrative director pursuant to Section 138.4, provide the employee one of the following:

(1) Notice either that no permanent disability indemnity will be paid because the employer alleges the employee has no permanent impairment or limitations resulting from the injury or notice of the amount of permanent disability indemnity determined by the employer to be payable. If the employer determines permanent disability indemnity is payable, the employer shall advise the employee of the amount determined payable and the basis on which the determination was made, whether there is need for future medical care, and whether an indemnity payment will be deferred pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 4650.

(2) Notice that permanent disability indemnity may be or is payable, but that the amount cannot be determined because the employee’s medical condition is not yet permanent and stationary. The notice shall advise the employee that his or her medical condition will be monitored until it is permanent and stationary, at which time the necessary evaluation will be performed to determine the existence and extent of permanent impairment and limitations for the purpose of rating permanent disability and to determine whether there will be the need for future medical care, or at which time the employer will advise the employee of the amount of permanent disability indemnity the employer has determined to be payable.

(b) If either the employee or employer objects to a medical determination made by the treating physician concerning the existence or extent of permanent impairment and limitations or the need for future medical care, and the employee is represented by an attorney, a medical evaluation to determine permanent disability shall be obtained as provided in Section 4062.2.

(c) If either the employee or employer objects to a medical determination made by the treating physician concerning the existence or extent of permanent impairment and limitations or the need for future medical care, and if the employee is not represented by an attorney, the employer shall immediately provide the employee with a form prescribed by the medical director with which to request assignment of a panel of three qualified medical evaluators. Either party may request a comprehensive medical evaluation to determine permanent disability or the need for future medical care, and the evaluation shall be obtained only by the procedure provided in Section 4062.1.

(d) (1) Within 30 days of receipt of a report from a qualified medical evaluator who has evaluated an unrepresented employee, the unrepresented employee or the employer may each request one supplemental report seeking correction of factual errors in the report. Any of these requests shall be made in writing. A request made by the employer shall be provided to the employee, and a request made by the employee shall be provided to the employer, insurance carrier, or claims administrator at the time the request is sent to the evaluator. A request for correction that is made by the employer shall also inform the employee of the availability of information and assistance officers to assist him or her in responding to the request, if necessary.

(2) The permanent disability rating procedure set forth in subdivision (e) shall not be invoked by the unrepresented employee or the employer when a request for correction pursuant to paragraph (1) is pending.

(e) The qualified medical evaluator who has evaluated an unrepresented employee shall serve the comprehensive medical evaluation and the summary form on the employee, employer, and the administrative director. The unrepresented employee or the employer may submit the treating physician’s evaluation for the calculation of a permanent disability rating. Within 20 days of receipt of the comprehensive medical evaluation, the administrative director shall calculate the permanent disability rating according to Section 4660 or 4660.1, as applicable, and serve the rating on the employee and employer.

(f) Any comprehensive medical evaluation concerning an unrepresented employee which indicates that part or all of an employee’s permanent impairment or limitations may be subject to apportionment pursuant to Sections 4663 and 4664 shall first be submitted by the administrative director to a workers’ compensation judge who may refer the report back to the qualified medical evaluator for correction or clarification if the judge determines the proposed apportionment is inconsistent with the law.

(g) Within 30 days of receipt of the rating, if the employee is unrepresented, the employee or employer may request that the administrative director reconsider the recommended rating or obtain additional information from the treating physician or medical evaluator to address issues not addressed or not completely addressed in the original comprehensive medical evaluation or not prepared in accord with the procedures promulgated under paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (j) of Section 139.2. This request shall be in writing, shall specify the reasons the rating should be reconsidered, and shall be served on the other party. If the administrative director finds the comprehensive medical evaluation is not complete or not in compliance with the required procedures, the administrative director shall return the report to the treating physician or qualified medical evaluator for appropriate action as the administrative director instructs. Upon receipt of the treating physician’s or qualified medical evaluator’s final comprehensive medical evaluation and summary form, the administrative director shall recalculate the permanent disability rating according to Section 4660 or 4660.1, as applicable, and serve the rating, the comprehensive medical evaluation, and the summary form on the employee and employer.

(h) (1) If a comprehensive medical evaluation from the treating physician or an agreed medical evaluator or a qualified medical evaluator selected from a three-member panel resolves any issue so as to require an employer to provide compensation, the employer shall commence the payment of compensation, except as provided pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 4650, or promptly commence proceedings before the appeals board to resolve the dispute.

(2) If the employee and employer agree to a stipulated findings and award as provided under Section 5702 or to compromise and release the claim under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 5000) of Part 3, or if the employee wishes to commute the award under Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 5100) of Part 3, the appeals board shall first determine whether the agreement or commutation is in the best interests of the employee and whether the proper procedures have been followed in determining the permanent disability rating. The administrative director shall promulgate a form to notify the employee, at the time of service of any rating under this section, of the options specified in this subdivision, the potential advantages and disadvantages of each option, and the procedure for disputing the rating.

(i) No issue relating to a dispute over the existence or extent of permanent impairment and limitations resulting from the injury may be the subject of a declaration of readiness to proceed unless there has first been a medical evaluation by a treating physician and by either an agreed or qualified medical evaluator. With the exception of an evaluation or evaluations prepared by the treating physician or physicians, no evaluation of permanent impairment and limitations resulting from the injury shall be obtained, except in accordance with Section 4062.1 or 4062.2. Evaluations obtained in violation of this prohibition shall not be admissible in any proceeding before the appeals board.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 287, Sec. 4. (SB 375) Effective January 1, 2014.)

4061.5.
  

The treating physician primarily responsible for managing the care of the injured worker or the physician designated by that treating physician shall, in accordance with rules promulgated by the administrative director, render opinions on all medical issues necessary to determine eligibility for compensation. In the event that there is more than one treating physician, a single report shall be prepared by the physician primarily responsible for managing the injured worker’s care that incorporates the findings of the various treating physicians.

(Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 121, Sec. 31. Effective July 16, 1993.)

4062.
  

(a) If either the employee or employer objects to a medical determination made by the treating physician concerning any medical issues not covered by Section 4060 or 4061 and not subject to Section 4610, the objecting party shall notify the other party in writing of the objection within 20 days of receipt of the report if the employee is represented by an attorney or within 30 days of receipt of the report if the employee is not represented by an attorney. These time limits may be extended for good cause or by mutual agreement. If the employee is represented by an attorney, a medical evaluation to determine the disputed medical issue shall be obtained as provided in Section 4062.2, and no other medical evaluation shall be obtained. If the employee is not represented by an attorney, the employer shall immediately provide the employee with a form prescribed by the medical director with which to request assignment of a panel of three qualified medical evaluators, the evaluation shall be obtained as provided in Section 4062.1, and no other medical evaluation shall be obtained.

(b) If the employee objects to a decision made pursuant to Section 4610 to modify, delay, or deny a request for authorization of a medical treatment recommendation made by a treating physician, the objection shall be resolved only in accordance with the independent medical review process established in Section 4610.5.

(c) If the employee objects to the diagnosis or recommendation for medical treatment by a physician within the employer’s medical provider network established pursuant to Section 4616, the objection shall be resolved only in accordance with the independent medical review process established in Sections 4616.3 and 4616.4.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 363, Sec. 28. (SB 863) Effective January 1, 2013.)

4062.1.
  

(a) If an employee is not represented by an attorney, the employer shall not seek agreement with the employee on an agreed medical evaluator, nor shall an agreed medical evaluator prepare the formal medical evaluation on any issues in dispute.

(b) If either party requests a medical evaluation pursuant to Section 4060, 4061, or 4062, either party may submit the form prescribed by the administrative director requesting the medical director to assign a panel of three qualified medical evaluators in accordance with Section 139.2. However, the employer may not submit the form unless the employee has not submitted the form within 10 days after the employer has furnished the form to the employee and requested the employee to submit the form. The party submitting the request form shall designate the specialty of the physicians that will be assigned to the panel.

(c) Within 10 days of the issuance of a panel of qualified medical evaluators, the employee shall select a physician from the panel to prepare a medical evaluation, the employee shall schedule the appointment, and the employee shall inform the employer of the selection and the appointment. If the employee does not inform the employer of the selection within 10 days of the assignment of a panel of qualified medical evaluators, then the employer may select the physician from the panel to prepare a medical evaluation. If the employee informs the employer of the selection within 10 days of the assignment of the panel but has not made the appointment, or if the employer selects the physician pursuant to this subdivision, then the employer shall arrange the appointment. Upon receipt of written notice of the appointment arrangements from the employee, or upon giving the employee notice of an appointment arranged by the employer, the employer shall furnish payment of estimated travel expense.

(d) The evaluator shall give the employee, at the appointment, a brief opportunity to ask questions concerning the evaluation process and the evaluator’s background. The unrepresented employee shall then participate in the evaluation as requested by the evaluator unless the employee has good cause to discontinue the evaluation. For purposes of this subdivision, “good cause” shall include evidence that the evaluator is biased against the employee because of his or her race, sex, national origin, religion, or sexual preference or evidence that the evaluator has requested the employee to submit to an unnecessary medical examination or procedure. If the unrepresented employee declines to proceed with the evaluation, he or she shall have the right to a new panel of three qualified medical evaluators from which to select one to prepare a comprehensive medical evaluation. If the appeals board subsequently determines that the employee did not have good cause to not proceed with the evaluation, the cost of the evaluation shall be deducted from any award the employee obtains.

(e) If an employee has received a comprehensive medical-legal evaluation under this section, and he or she later becomes represented by an attorney, he or she shall not be entitled to an additional evaluation.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 34, Sec. 16. Effective April 19, 2004.)

4062.2.
  

(a) Whenever a comprehensive medical evaluation is required to resolve any dispute arising out of an injury or a claimed injury occurring on or after January 1, 2005, and the employee is represented by an attorney, the evaluation shall be obtained only as provided in this section.

(b) No earlier than the first working day that is at least 10 days after the date of mailing of a request for a medical evaluation pursuant to Section 4060 or the first working day that is at least 10 days after the date of mailing of an objection pursuant to Sections 4061 or 4062, either party may request the assignment of a three-member panel of qualified medical evaluators to conduct a comprehensive medical evaluation. The party submitting the request shall designate the specialty of the medical evaluator, the specialty of the medical evaluator requested by the other party if it has been made known to the party submitting the request, and the specialty of the treating physician. The party submitting the request form shall serve a copy of the request form on the other party.

(c) Within 10 days of assignment of the panel by the administrative director, each party may strike one name from the panel. The remaining qualified medical evaluator shall serve as the medical evaluator. If a party fails to exercise the right to strike a name from the panel within 10 days of assignment of the panel by the administrative director, the other party may select any physician who remains on the panel to serve as the medical evaluator. The administrative director may prescribe the form, the manner, or both, by which the parties shall conduct the selection process.

(d) The represented employee shall be responsible for arranging the appointment for the examination, but upon his or her failure to inform the employer of the appointment within 10 days after the medical evaluator has been selected, the employer may arrange the appointment and notify the employee of the arrangements. The employee shall not unreasonably refuse to participate in the evaluation.

(e) If an employee has received a comprehensive medical-legal evaluation under this section, and he or she later ceases to be represented, he or she shall not be entitled to an additional evaluation.

(f) The parties may agree to an agreed medical evaluator at any time, except as to issues subject to the independent medical review process established pursuant to Section 4610.5. A panel shall not be requested pursuant to subdivision (b) on any issue that has been agreed to be submitted to or has been submitted to an agreed medical evaluator unless the agreement has been canceled by mutual written consent.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 363, Sec. 29. (SB 863) Effective January 1, 2013.)

4062.3.
  

(a) Any party may provide to the qualified medical evaluator selected from a panel any of the following information:

(1) Records prepared or maintained by the employee’s treating physician or physicians.

(2) Medical and nonmedical records relevant to determination of the medical issue.

(b) Information that a party proposes to provide to the qualified medical evaluator selected from a panel shall be served on the opposing party 20 days before the information is provided to the evaluator. If the opposing party objects to consideration of nonmedical records within 10 days thereafter, the records shall not be provided to the evaluator. Either party may use discovery to establish the accuracy or authenticity of nonmedical records prior to the evaluation.

(c) If an agreed medical evaluator is selected, as part of their agreement on an evaluator, the parties shall agree on what information is to be provided to the agreed medical evaluator.

(d) In any formal medical evaluation, the agreed or qualified medical evaluator shall identify the following:

(1) All information received from the parties.

(2) All information reviewed in preparation of the report.

(3) All information relied upon in the formulation of his or her opinion.

(e) All communications with a qualified medical evaluator selected from a panel before a medical evaluation shall be in writing and shall be served on the opposing party 20 days in advance of the evaluation. Any subsequent communication with the medical evaluator shall be in writing and shall be served on the opposing party when sent to the medical evaluator.

(f) Communications with an agreed medical evaluator shall be in writing, and shall be served on the opposing party when sent to the agreed medical evaluator. Oral or written communications with physician staff or, as applicable, with the agreed medical evaluator, relative to nonsubstantial matters such as the scheduling of appointments, missed appointments, the furnishing of records and reports, and the availability of the report, do not constitute ex parte communication in violation of this section unless the appeals board has made a specific finding of an impermissible ex parte communication.

(g) Ex parte communication with an agreed medical evaluator or a qualified medical evaluator selected from a panel is prohibited. If a party communicates with the agreed medical evaluator or the qualified medical evaluator in violation of subdivision (e), the aggrieved party may elect to terminate the medical evaluation and seek a new evaluation from another qualified medical evaluator to be selected according to Section 4062.1 or 4062.2, as applicable, or proceed with the initial evaluation.

(h) The party making the communication prohibited by this section shall be subject to being charged with contempt before the appeals board and shall be liable for the costs incurred by the aggrieved party as a result of the prohibited communication, including the cost of the medical evaluation, additional discovery costs, and attorney’s fees for related discovery.

(i) Subdivisions (e) and (g) shall not apply to oral or written communications by the employee or, if the employee is deceased, the employee’s dependent, in the course of the examination or at the request of the evaluator in connection with the examination.

(j) Upon completing a determination of the disputed medical issue, the medical evaluator shall summarize the medical findings on a form prescribed by the administrative director and shall serve the formal medical evaluation and the summary form on the employee and the employer. The medical evaluation shall address all contested medical issues arising from all injuries reported on one or more claim forms prior to the date of the employee’s initial appointment with the medical evaluator.

(k) If, after a medical evaluation is prepared, the employer or the employee subsequently objects to any new medical issue, the parties, to the extent possible, shall utilize the same medical evaluator who prepared the previous evaluation to resolve the medical dispute.

(l) No disputed medical issue specified in subdivision (a) may be the subject of declaration of readiness to proceed unless there has first been an evaluation by the treating physician or an agreed or qualified medical evaluator.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 363, Sec. 30. (SB 863) Effective January 1, 2013.)

4062.5.
  

If a qualified medical evaluator selected from a panel fails to complete the formal medical evaluation within the timeframes established by the administrative director pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (j) of Section 139.2, a new evaluation may be obtained upon the request of either party, as provided in Sections 4062.1 or 4062.2. Neither the employee nor the employer shall have any liability for payment for the formal medical evaluation which was not completed within the required timeframes unless the employee or employer, on forms prescribed by the administrative director, each waive the right to a new evaluation and elects to accept the original evaluation even though it was not completed within the required timeframes.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 34, Sec. 20. Effective April 19, 2004.)

4062.8.
  

The administrative director shall develop, not later than January 1, 2004, and periodically revise as necessary thereafter, educational materials to be used to provide treating physicians, as described in Section 3209.3, or other providers, as described in Section 3209.5, with information and training in basic concepts of workers’ compensation, the role of the treating physician, the conduct of permanent and stationary evaluations, and report writing, as appropriate.

(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 34, Sec. 21. Effective April 19, 2004.)

4063.
  

If a formal medical evaluation from an agreed medical evaluator or a qualified medical evaluator selected from a three member panel resolves any issue so as to require an employer to provide compensation, the employer shall, except as provided pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 4650, commence the payment of compensation or file a declaration of readiness to proceed.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 363, Sec. 31. (SB 863) Effective January 1, 2013.)

4064.
  

(a) The employer shall be liable for the cost of each reasonable and necessary comprehensive medical-legal evaluation obtained by the employee pursuant to Sections 4060, 4061, and 4062. Each comprehensive medical-legal evaluation shall address all contested medical issues arising from all injuries reported on one or more claim forms, except medical treatment recommendations, which are subject to utilization review as provided by Section 4610, and objections to utilization review determinations, which are subject to independent medical review as provided by Section 4610.5.

(b) For injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2003, if an unrepresented employee obtains an attorney after the evaluation pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 4061 or subdivision (b) of Section 4062 has been completed, the employee shall be entitled to the same reports at employer expense as an employee who has been represented from the time the dispute arose and those reports shall be admissible in any proceeding before the appeals board.

(c) Subject to Section 4906, if an employer files a declaration of readiness to proceed and the employee is unrepresented at the time the declaration of readiness to proceed is filed, the employer shall be liable for any attorney’s fees incurred by the employee in connection with the declaration of readiness to proceed.

(d) The employer shall not be liable for the cost of any comprehensive medical evaluations obtained by the employee other than those authorized pursuant to Sections 4060, 4061, and 4062. However, no party is prohibited from obtaining any medical evaluation or consultation at the party’s own expense. In no event shall an employer or employee be liable for an evaluation obtained in violation of subdivision (b) of Section 4060. All comprehensive medical evaluations obtained by any party shall be admissible in any proceeding before the appeals board except as provided in Section 4060, 4061, 4062, 4062.1, or 4062.2.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 363, Sec. 32. (SB 863) Effective January 1, 2013.)

4067.
  

If the jurisdiction of the appeals board is invoked pursuant to Section 5803 upon the grounds that the effects of the injury have recurred, increased, diminished, or terminated, a formal medical evaluation shall be obtained pursuant to this article.

When an agreed medical evaluator or a qualified medical evaluator selected by an unrepresented employee from a three-member panel has previously made a formal medical evaluation of the same or similar issues, the subsequent or additional formal medical evaluation shall be conducted by the same agreed medical evaluator or qualified medical evaluator, unless the workers’ compensation judge has made a finding that he or she did not rely on the prior evaluator’s formal medical evaluation, any party contested the original medical evaluation by filing an application for adjudication, the unrepresented employee hired an attorney and selected a qualified medical evaluator to conduct another evaluation pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 4064, or the prior evaluator is no longer qualified or readily available to prepare a formal medical evaluation, in which case Sections 4061 or 4062, as the case may be, shall apply as if there had been no prior formal medical evaluation.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 6, Sec. 56. Effective January 1, 2003.)

4067.5.
  

This article shall become operative for injuries occurring on and after January 1, 1991.

(Amended (as added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 892) by Stats. 1990, Ch. 1550, Sec. 28. Note: This section provides for delayed operation of Article 2, commencing with Section 4060.)

4068.
  

(a) Upon determining that a treating physician’s report contains opinions that are the result of conjecture, are not supported by adequate evidence, or that indicate bias, the appeals board shall so notify the administrative director in writing in a manner he or she has specified.

(b) If the administrative director believes that any treating physician’s reports show a pattern of unsupported opinions, he or she shall notify in writing the physician’s applicable licensing body of his or her findings.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 639, Sec. 22. Effective January 1, 2004.)

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