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 2. COMPUTATION OF COMPENSATION [4451 - 4856]

  ( Part 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 90. )

CHAPTER 2. Compensation Schedules [4550 - 4856]

  ( Chapter 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 90. )

ARTICLE 2.5. Medical-Legal Expenses [4620 - 4628]
  ( Article 2.5 added by Stats. 1984, Ch. 596, Sec. 4. )

4620.
  

(a) For purposes of this article, a medical-legal expense means any costs and expenses incurred by or on behalf of any party, the administrative director, or the board, which expenses may include X-rays, laboratory fees, other diagnostic tests, medical reports, medical records, medical testimony, and, as needed, interpreter’s fees by a certified interpreter pursuant to Article 8 (commencing with Section 11435.05) of Chapter 4.5 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of, or Section 68566 of, the Government Code, for the purpose of proving or disproving a contested claim.

(b) A contested claim exists when the employer knows or reasonably should know that the employee is claiming entitlement to any benefit arising out of a claimed industrial injury and one of the following conditions exists:

(1) The employer rejects liability for a claimed benefit.

(2) The employer fails to accept liability for benefits after the expiration of a reasonable period of time within which to decide if it will contest the claim.

(3) The employer fails to respond to a demand for payment of benefits after the expiration of any time period fixed by statute for the payment of indemnity.

(c) Costs of medical evaluations, diagnostic tests, and interpreters incidental to the production of a medical report do not constitute medical-legal expenses unless the medical report is capable of proving or disproving a disputed medical fact, the determination of which is essential to an adjudication of the employee’s claim for benefits. In determining whether a report meets the requirements of this subdivision, a judge shall give full consideration to the substance as well as the form of the report, as required by applicable statutes and regulations.

(d) If the injured employee cannot effectively communicate with an examining physician because he or she cannot proficiently speak or understand the English language, the injured employee is entitled to the services of a qualified interpreter during the medical examination. Upon request of the injured employee, the employer or insurance carrier shall pay the costs of the interpreter services, as set forth in the fee schedule adopted by the administrative director pursuant to Section 5811. An employer shall not be required to pay for the services of an interpreter who is provisionally certified unless either the employer consents in advance to the selection of the individual who provides the interpreting service or the injured worker requires interpreting service in a language other than the languages designated pursuant to Section 11435.40 of the Government Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 363, Sec. 52. (SB 863) Effective January 1, 2013.)

4621.
  

(a) In accordance with the rules of practice and procedure of the appeals board, the employee, or the dependents of a deceased employee, shall be reimbursed for his or her medical-legal expenses and reasonably, actually, and necessarily incurred, except as provided in Section 4064. The reasonableness of, and necessity for, incurring these expenses shall be determined with respect to the time when the expenses were actually incurred. Costs for medical evaluations, diagnostic tests, and interpreters’ services incidental to the production of a medical report shall not be incurred earlier than the date of receipt by the employer, the employer’s insurance carrier, or, if represented, the attorney of record, of all reports and documents required by the administrative director incidental to the services. This subdivision is not applicable unless there has been compliance with Section 4620.

(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c) and Sections 4061 and 4062, no comprehensive medical-legal evaluations, except those at the request of an employer, shall be performed during the first 60 days after the notice of claim has been filed pursuant to Section 5401, and neither the employer nor the employee shall be liable for any expenses incurred for comprehensive medical-legal evaluations performed within the first 60 days after the notice of claim has been filed pursuant to Section 5401.

(c) Comprehensive medical-legal evaluations may be performed at any time after the claim form has been filed pursuant to Section 5401 if the employer has rejected the claim.

(d) Where, at the request of the employer, the employer’s insurance carrier, the administrative director, the appeals board, or a referee, the employee submits to examination by a physician, he or she shall be entitled to receive, in addition to all other benefits herein provided, all reasonable expenses of transportation, meals, and lodging incident to reporting for the examination to the same extent and manner as provided for in Section 4600.

(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 121, Sec. 43. Effective July 16, 1993.)

4622.
  

All medical-legal expenses for which the employer is liable shall, upon receipt by the employer of all reports and documents required by the administrative director incident to the services, be paid to whom the funds and expenses are due, as follows:

(a) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (b), within 60 days after receipt by the employer of each separate, written billing and report, and if payment is not made within this period, that portion of the billed sum then unreasonably unpaid shall be increased by 10 percent, together with interest thereon at the rate of 7 percent per annum retroactive to the date of receipt of the bill and report by the employer. If the employer, within the 60-day period, contests the reasonableness and necessity for incurring the fees, services, and expenses using the explanation of review required by Section 4603.3, payment shall be made within 20 days of the service of an order of the appeals board or the administrative director pursuant to Section 4603.6 directing payment.

(2) The penalty provided for in paragraph (1) shall not apply if both of the following occur:

(A) The employer pays the provider that portion of his or her charges that do not exceed the amount deemed reasonable pursuant to subdivision (e) within 60 days of receipt of the report and itemized billing.

(B) The employer prevails.

(b) (1) If the provider contests the amount paid, the provider may request a second review within 90 days of the service of the explanation of review. The request for a second review shall be submitted to the employer on a form prescribed by the administrative director and shall include all of the following:

(A) The date of the explanation of review and the claim number or other unique identifying number provided on the explanation of review.

(B) The party or parties requesting the service.

(C) Any item and amount in dispute.

(D) The additional payment requested and the reason therefor.

(E) Any additional information requested in the original explanation of review and any other information provided in support of the additional payment requested.

(2) If the provider does not request a second review within 90 days, the bill will be deemed satisfied and neither the employer nor the employee shall be liable for any further payment.

(3) Within 14 days of the request for second review, the employer shall respond with a final written determination on each of the items or amounts in dispute, including whether additional payment will be made.

(4) If the provider contests the amount paid, after receipt of the second review, the provider shall request an independent bill review as provided for in Section 4603.6.

(c) If the employer denies all or a portion of the amount billed for any reason other than the amount to be paid pursuant to the fee schedules in effect on the date of service, the provider may object to the denial within 90 days of the service of the explanation of review. If the provider does not object to the denial within 90 days, neither the employer nor the employee shall be liable for the amount that was denied. If the provider objects to the denial within 90 days of the service of the explanation of review, the employer shall file a petition and a declaration of readiness to proceed with the appeals board within 60 days of service of the objection. If the employer prevails before the appeals board, the appeals board shall order the physician to reimburse the employer for the amount of the paid charges found to be unreasonable.

(d) If requested by the employee, or the dependents of a deceased employee, within 20 days from the filing of an order of the appeals board directing payment, and where payment is not made within that period, that portion of the billed sum then unpaid shall be increased by 10 percent, together with interest thereon at the rate of 7 percent per annum retroactive to the date of the filing of the order of the board directing payment.

(e) (1) Using the explanation of review as described in Section 4603.3, the employer shall notify the provider of the services, the employee, or if represented, his or her attorney, if the employer contests the reasonableness or necessity of incurring these expenses, and shall indicate the reasons therefor.

(2) The appeals board shall promulgate all necessary and reasonable rules and regulations to insure compliance with this section, and shall take such further steps as may be necessary to guarantee that the rules and regulations are enforced.

(3) The provisions of Sections 5800 and 5814 shall not apply to this section.

(f) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to create a rebuttable presumption of entitlement to payment of an expense upon receipt by the employer of the required reports and documents. This section is not applicable unless there has been compliance with Sections 4620 and 4621.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 363, Sec. 53. (SB 863) Effective January 1, 2013.)

4625.
  

(a) Effective for services provided on or after January 1, 2017, all bills for medical-legal evaluation or medical-legal expense shall be submitted to the employer within 12 months of the date of service in the manner prescribed by the administrative director. The administrative director shall adopt rules to define circumstances that constitute good cause for an exception to the 12-month period. Bills for medical-legal charges are barred unless timely submitted.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (d) of Section 4628, all charges for medical-legal expenses for which the employer is liable that are not in excess of those set forth in the official medical-legal fee schedule adopted pursuant to Section 5307.6 shall be paid promptly pursuant to Section 4622.

(c) If the employer contests the reasonableness of the charges it has paid, the employer may file a petition with the appeals board to obtain reimbursement of the charges from the physician that are considered to be unreasonable.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 214, Sec. 3. (SB 1175) Effective January 1, 2017.)

4626.
  

All charges for X-rays, laboratory services, and other diagnostic tests provided in connection with an industrial medical-legal evaluation shall be billed in accordance with the official medical fee schedule adopted by the administrative director pursuant to Section 5307.1 and shall be itemized separately in accordance with rules promulgated by the administrative director.

(Added by Stats. 1984, Ch. 596, Sec. 4. Effective July 19, 1984.)

4627.
  

The board and the administrative director may promulgate such reasonable rules and regulations as may be necessary to interpret this article and compel compliance with its provisions.

(Added by Stats. 1984, Ch. 596, Sec. 4. Effective July 19, 1984.)

4628.
  

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), no person, other than the physician who signs the medical-legal report, except a nurse performing those functions routinely performed by a nurse, such as taking blood pressure, shall examine the injured employee or participate in the nonclerical preparation of the report, including all of the following:

(1) Taking a complete history.

(2) Reviewing and summarizing prior medical records.

(3) Composing and drafting the conclusions of the report.

(b) The report shall disclose the date when and location where the evaluation was performed; that the physician or physicians signing the report actually performed the evaluation; whether the evaluation performed and the time spent performing the evaluation was in compliance with the guidelines established by the administrative director pursuant to paragraph (5) of subdivision (j) of Section 139.2 or Section 5307.6 and shall disclose the name and qualifications of each person who performed any services in connection with the report, including diagnostic studies, other than its clerical preparation. If the report discloses that the evaluation performed or the time spent performing the evaluation was not in compliance with the guidelines established by the administrative director, the report shall explain, in detail, any variance and the reason or reasons therefor.

(c) If the initial outline of a patient’s history or excerpting of prior medical records is not done by the physician, the physician shall review the excerpts and the entire outline and shall make additional inquiries and examinations as are necessary and appropriate to identify and determine the relevant medical issues.

(d) No amount may be charged in excess of the direct charges for the physician’s professional services and the reasonable costs of laboratory examinations, diagnostic studies, and other medical tests, and reasonable costs of clerical expense necessary to producing the report. Direct charges for the physician’s professional services shall include reasonable overhead expense.

(e) Failure to comply with the requirements of this section shall make the report inadmissible as evidence and shall eliminate any liability for payment of any medical-legal expense incurred in connection with the report.

(f) Knowing failure to comply with the requirements of this section shall subject the physician to a civil penalty of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each violation to be assessed by a workers’ compensation judge or the appeals board. All civil penalties collected under this section shall be deposited in the Workers’ Compensation Administration Revolving Fund.

(g) A physician who is assessed a civil penalty under this section may be terminated, suspended, or placed on probation as a qualified medical evaluator pursuant to subdivisions (k) and (l) of Section 139.2.

(h) Knowing failure to comply with the requirements of this section shall subject the physician to contempt pursuant to the judicial powers vested in the appeals board.

(i) Any person billing for medical-legal evaluations, diagnostic procedures, or diagnostic services performed by persons other than those employed by the reporting physician or physicians, or a medical corporation owned by the reporting physician or physicians shall specify the amount paid or to be paid to those persons for the evaluations, procedures, or services. This subdivision shall not apply to any procedure or service defined or valued pursuant to Section 5307.1.

(j) The report shall contain a declaration by the physician signing the report, under penalty of perjury, stating:

“I declare under penalty of perjury that the information contained in this report and its attachments, if any, is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief, except as to information that I have indicated I received from others. As to that information, I declare under penalty of perjury that the information accurately describes the information provided to me and, except as noted herein, that I believe it to be true.”

The foregoing declaration shall be dated and signed by the reporting physician and shall indicate the county wherein it was signed.

(k) The physician shall provide a curriculum vitae upon request by a party and include a statement concerning the percent of the physician’s total practice time that is annually devoted to medical treatment.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 639, Sec. 29. Effective January 1, 2004.)

LABLabor Code - LAB2.5