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Archive | August, 2012

Help stop S.B. 863

Posted on 27 August 2012 by admin

Help stop S.B. 863 by downloading, signing and faxing this letter to Senator de León, Assembly Member Solorio and Governor Brown

 

 

Dear Senator de León and Assemblyman Solorio,

 

This letter is to urge you to stop your efforts to pass SB 863. I strongly urge you to think about the injured worker in California and not put the interests of big businesses like Grimmway Farms, Safeway and Disney before the rights of injured workers to obtain treatment and fair relief. I support reform that improves access to healthcare and protects the ability of workers to be able to prove their claims. This bill does not do that.

 

SB 863 was drafted behind closed doors and with no public debate. It clearly represents the interests of big business and does very little to reign in out-of-control insurance company premiums. The amendments hurt injured workers in the following ways:

  • This workers’ compensation package grants injured workers an illusory $720 million increase in permanent disability benefits, while actually cutting access to benefits. It will reduce benefits for many injured workers by reducing calculations.
  • It reduces coverage of home health care services for seriously injured workers.

It permits employers to delay payments of permanent disability benefits and creates roadblocks that will discourage injured workers from returning to work.

  • The proposed Independent Medical Review (IMR) system could further delay injured workers’ treatment, deny workers due process of law and will be very costly for employers.

 

  • It mandates the establishment of the Medicare Fee Schedule for workers’ compensation treatment and this will reduce injured workers’ access to specialty medical care, make it more difficult for injured workers’ to prove the cause and extent of their disabilities and increase employers’ insurance premiums.

Most importantly, it leaves the anti-injured worker provisions of 2004″s SB 899 intact including, utilization review, a biased definition of “apportionment” and other provisions that have reduced access to the system and caused a 61% reduction in benefits. Please stop SB 863. This bill will set back real reform for another decade.

Sincerely,

 

 

(Signature) ­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______________________________

 

Click link below to print formatted letter:

SB863 Revised PatientLetter-rev08262012

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Decisive Action Workers Comp in CA Will Take Devastating Blow

Posted on 27 August 2012 by admin

Dear Friends,
Governor Brown’s administration and a few legislators have moved forward with plans to strangle the Workers Compensation system. Tomorrow Senator Kevin de Leon and Assemblymember Jose Solorio will move to amend legislation to drop in the language that came out of a backroom deal between the Brown Administration, Disney, Safeway, and Angie Wei. Without a loud cry and decisive action Workers Comp in CA will take devastating blow, finishing the job that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and SB 899 set out to do in 2004.
We need your help to stop these pro-employer and anti-injured worker efforts! Please donate now to support our efforts. (CLICK HERE TO DONATE)
Voters Injured at Work has been fighting to defeat this assault on injured workers. Our efforts contacted more than 900,000 registered voters and generated more than 3,000 calls to Senator Ted Liue’s office. As a result, he refused to be a part of the Governor’s back room deal.
Tomorrow Voters Injured at Work will take a delegation of injured workers to the State Capitol to have their voices heard and demand that Governor Brown, Senator DeLeon and Assemblyman Solorio stop their assault on injured workers. We will hold a press conference in the State Capitol with injured workers and will also deliver copies of letters from injured workers and demand to be heard.
You can help us by helping to sponsor this effort. Your financial support will help us keep the pressure on by sponsoring travel for injured workers, event expenses, and ongoing efforts to generate calls to key legislators and the Governor. Donate now! (CLICK HERE TO DONATE)
This deal will strip injured workers of a chance to seek treatment and fair releif for their injuries. If you don’t donate you will pay an even greater price if this legislation passes. Help us send politicians in Sacramento that they cannot beat up on injured workers just to please employers. Make a donation now! (CLICK HERE TO DONATE)
Sincerely,
Jesse Ceniceros
President

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URGENT ACTION NEEDED !!!

Posted on 27 August 2012 by admin

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!

URGENT ACTION NEEDED !!!

Politicians are pulling a procedural move to bypass a public hearing!!!

 

1) Mon 8/27/12 Press Conference schedule @ Capitol Hill

2) CALL Senators Kevin de Leon & Solorio & Governor Brown

 

Tell him to STOP Work Comp Reform, and that you oppose this change!

De Leon: 213-483-9300 – LA Office & 916-651-4022 – Sacramento Ofc

Solorio: 916-319-2069

I just got news that SB863 has been killed! Good job guys BUT the dirty politicians, Governor Brown’s administration, BIG business, and BIG insurance is pressuring passage of ANY work comp reform bill! It is more important than ever to fight harder. I have been told that the senators are pushing for a procedural move to AVOID a public hearing! We are holding a press conference on Monday 8/27/2012 on the Capitol steps. PLEASE contact anyone you know who may be willing to join us, especially injured workers.

 

8/27/2012 Monday – Press Conference @ State Capitol

• Meet at 9:45

• At Hyatt Hotel lobby across State Capitol

• Address: 1209 L Street, Sacramento; T: 916-443-1234

• Join Jesse Ceniceros, President of Voters Injured at Work (wearing a red VIAW t-shirt)

• why: it is very important to bring all the injured workers you know! They need to voice their experiences, and outrage against this bill.

• The senate has made a procedural move to allow them to bypass a public hearing!!! The secret voting and lack of transparency continues!

• We MSUT show up Monday to the cpaitol with our injured workers so that they legislators understand that they are hurting real people.

• This may be our only chance to KILL the bill!!!!!

 

The Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee Chair, Ted Lieu, that was backing the bill has BACKED off. NOW, Senator De Leon has been asked to step up and find a dead bill, amend it in secret and propose it as a Work Comp reform bill!!!!!

Senator Kevin de Leon is from the 22nd District in our own turf!!!! He covers the following areas: City of Los Angeles, Alhambra, East Los Angeles, Florence-Graham, Maywood, San Marino, South Pasadena, Vernon, and Walnut Park.

If you know of anyone who lives in that area, conducts business in that area, or works in that area, you MUST MUST MUST call them now, email them this link and get them to call De Leon to STOP any work comp reform bill he is working on. THE LOUDER WE are the more they run! We can run them out of session, and stop this tragedy from depriving constitutional rights from all Californians! You will be fighting for yourself, your family, your friends, your co-workers, labor workers, minimum wage workers, and LATINO’s!!! Lets take this ATTACK on our RIGHTS and throw it right back at them in their OWN BACKYARD.

www.stopsenatebill863.com

More info on

Arsineh Arakel, Esq.

ARAKEL & ASSOCIATES

11644 Atlantic Avenue

Lynwood, CA 90262

Office: (310) 637-4124

Facsimile: (310) 637-4123

Mobile: (818) 606-4343

 

This e-mail, and any documents which may accompany it, is covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2521. It contains information from Arakel & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, and is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential or otherwise exempt from disclosure.

If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, any disclosure, dissemination, distribution copying or other use of this communication or its substance is prohibited and may be illegal. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender by email or call us collect to arrange for the destruction of the communication or its return to us at our expense. Thank you.

IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE. Pursuant to requirements related to practice before the Internal Revenue Service, any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of (i) avoiding penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any tax-related matter.

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MEDICAL PROVIDER NETWORK or CLOSED NETWORK?

Posted on 23 August 2012 by admin

Medical Provider Network (MPN) is the establishment by the employer or insurance carrier of a “closed network” or list of doctors who will exclusively provide medical treatment to injured workers for all injuries regardless of the date of injury. (LC 4616, et seq.) For doctors to become members of the MPN, they typically sign contracts forcing them to agree to charge fees at a discount below the Official Medical Fee Schedule (OMFS). Doctors may be removed from the MPN by the employer/carrier at any time for any reason including “economic profiling,” which means providing MORE treatment to the injured worker than the employer/carrier likes or keeping a patient off of work for longer than the employer/carrier wants.

There are no public studies that show that implementation of a MPN system has resulted in any savings of medical costs or improvement in delivery of medical care. In fact, since the implementation of MPNs beginning in 2005, the cost of claims administration has increased 400%, while the actual number of claims has actually decreased significantly. Issues related to existing MPN abuses and denials of treatment are already headed to the California Supreme Court in the Valdez case.

Under the proposed reform legislation not only employers, insurance carriers but also third party vendors may create MPN’s for the delivery of medical treatment. The MPNs will also become immune from judicial, WCAB, court or Supreme Court review regarding their validity, access to care, provision of care, medical treatment policies/procedures or abuses. Thus, if a MPN on paper has a valid MPN with appropriate doctors, but in fact fails to provide sufficient or any medical treatment to the injured workers, that MPN cannot be invalidated by judicial oversight. The offending MPN will be allowed to continue to operate without remediation. The only “threat” to a rogue MPN is a potential audit by the DIR/DWC and eventual small audit penalties many years down the line. There is no immediate remedy for the suffering injured worker who has been denied treatment and cannot get treatment elsewhere or even through any health insurance provided by the employer for non-occupational injuries (a provision in the bill precludes reimbursement to health insurance carriers when they knowingly treat a workers’ compensation patient.) Further, allowing third party vendors to form their own MPNs will insulate and remove the employer/carrier from liability for medical treatment denial abuses. Third party vendors will add another layer of administration, paperwork and profits all of which reduces the actual premium dollars to be spent on medical care for injured workers and at the same time, lower the employers’ threshold of responsibility.

Finally, the cost savings analysis prepared for the DIR by an outside consultant, fails to explain any concrete basis for any claimed MPN savings. They simply reference CWCI medical costs, many of which were due to prior reforms from AB 227/SB228 (ACOEM, therapy limits) and non-MPN SB 899 changes (evidence-based medicine, AMA Guides, QME changes). Further, part of the savings attributed to MPN’s seems to rely upon changes in TTD payments from SB 899 (i.e. 104 week cap on TTD) which has nothing to do with MPN’s and was not changed by the Valdez decision.

VIAW proposes the REPEAL of Labor Code Sections 4616-4616.7.

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FREE Dental Care For 2 Days Only!

Posted on 22 August 2012 by admin

Dear Friend,

Dental.jpg

I want to bring to your attention an important event coming to Sacramento. The California Dental Association (CDA) and the CDA Foundation will hold their second CDA Cares free dental clinic.

So many Californians go without access to dental care, which is why this year I co-authored Assembly Joint Resolution 30 (Pan). AJR 30 encourages the President and Congress to add comprehensive, preventative dental care coverage to Medicare benefits. While we work together on a solution, I am pleased to see the commitment of so many dental health professionals working to improve access to oral care!

CDA Cares Event Information:

Friday, August 24 and Saturday, August 25, 2012
Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento, California

Time:
Doors open at 5:30 a.m. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis with a goal of providing care to more than 1,500 people during the two-day clinic.

Who:
Californians having difficulty accessing dental care, including uninsured, underinsured, unemployed, adults and children, and others who are in need of oral health care.

Children under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Care:
The services offered are limited to cleanings, fillings, extractions, some partials to replace front teeth, some root canals, oral health education and assistance in identifying a source of dental care. Patients on blood pressure medication are reminded to take their medications as directed. Failure to do so could prevent you from receiving dental care.

Additional Notes:
Identification is NOT required.

Interpreters are available to assist Spanish-speaking patients.

Please do NOT wait for CDA Cares to seek care for dental pain as this could be a sign of a serious condition. Visit cda.org/clinics for a list of low-cost dental clinics and other information.

If dental pain is severe and accompanied by a fever or swelling, call a dentist immediately or go to a hospital emergency room.

I hope this information is useful and if you need more information, please call (888) 959-1331.

Sincerely,

Huber_sig.jpg
Alyson L. Huber
10th Assembly District

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Annual Harbor Boat Cruise

Posted on 17 August 2012 by admin

LATINO COMP ANNUAL HARBOR BOAT CRUISE

FUNDRAISER FOR: VotersInjuiredatWork.org

Friday, August 17, 6:30PM

The Christopher Departing Dock 2 (located near the Aquarium of the Pacific)

Long Beach

Price: $75 per person (prepaid)

$100 per person (at the dock)

DJ co-sponsored by Laura Wilson & Associates

Sponsorship’s available! Vendors are encouraged to bring a raffle prize!

Sponsorship’s and ticket purchase:

Moises Vazquez, Esq

6705 S Painter Ave, Whittier 90601

562-698-3703 fax 562-698-1713

email: molaw2@aol.com

 

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Injured Workers Left Without a Voice in Workers Comp Deal Mobilize to Demand a Halt to a Bad Deal that would Weaken Workers’ Comp

Posted on 16 August 2012 by admin

Los Angeles, CA– Today Jesse Ceniceros, president of Voters Injured at Work (VIAW) announced plans to mobilize injured workers and voters to oppose the current workers’ compensation package and called on legislators to push for a public debate. The proposed workers’ compensation package seeks to drastically reduce the healthcare options and legal recourse available to persons injured on the job in California.

The organization has been visiting legislators and mobilizing injured workers in clinics across Southern California, generating hundreds of calls to members of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. Now, the organization is mobilizing voters to raise awareness about the impact of the proposed cuts on the rights to and access to medical care for injured workers.

Yesterday VIAW launched a massive effort to contact nearly one million registered voters in the districts of Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee members, to encourage voters to contact legislators and demand workers’ compensation reform that protects workers not big business and insurance companies. VIAW’s message was received by nearly 300,000 registered voters. As a result Senate offices were flooded with calls from voters all day yesterday. “There has been little to no opportunity for injured workers in California to have a voice in these negotiations and that’s not politics, it’s just wrong,” said Ceniceros.

“We are calling on our legislators to force proponents of this package to have a public debate! Under the current deal they are basically trying to help balance the state budget on the backs of injured workers. That’s no way to treat people who have helped keep this state afloat with the sweat of their brow and their taxes,” added Ceniceros.

Under Governor Schwarzenegger, injured workers saw vicious cuts of 61% to permanent disability payments. This new proposal is a bad deal for injured workers as it now seeks to also limit healthcare options and long-term compensation. The proposal would do the following:

● This workers compensation package grants injured workers an illusory $720 million increase in permanent disability benefits while actually cutting benefits. It will reduce benefits for most injured workers in greater amounts than SB 899 did in 2004.

● It mandates the establishment of the Medicare Fee Schedule for workers’ compensation treatment and this will reduce injured workers’ access to specialty medical care, make it more difficult for injured workers to prove the cause and extent of their disabilities and increase employers’ insurance premiums.

● It permits employers to delay payments of permanent disability benefits and creates roadblocks that will discourage injured workers from returning to work.

● The proposed Independent Medical Review (IMR) system will further delay injured workers’ treatment, deny workers due process of law and will be very costly for employers. (See attachment for additional analysis.)

Like most members of the public, VIAW learned of the deal and its sweeping cutbacks this week. The proposed package has allowed for very little public input. The organization was looking forward to providing comment during the scheduled Senate Labor and Industrial

Relations Committee on Wednesday August 15, 2012. However, the hearing was postponed.

We stand ready to work with our legislators in protecting injured workers through fair and just reform. We look forward to a public discussion.

VIAW plans to continue to reach out to voters throughout this election cycle. “The postponement of the hearing does not mean that this package is dead. We are looking ahead and want to be sure that voters and especially injured workers are aware and have a say in the matter. We are calling on the members of this committee and legislators to let injured workers have a voice,” concluded Ceniceros.

About VotersInjuredAtWork.org

VotersInjuredAtWork.org is an organization of injured workers and their families established for the purpose of protecting and enforcing California’s constitutional guarantee of a fair and adequate system of compensating workers and their dependents for injury or disability from a work injury. Voters Injured at Work.org provides a strong voice in Sacramento to help enact legislation that will rebalance the California workers’ compensation system that has been “fixed” at the expense of injured workers. Voters Injured at Work.org seeks to do all of the following:

● Maintain access to appropriate medical care with a physician of an injured workers’ choice.

● Improve benefit levels.

● Provide assistance in returning to gainful employment.

● Increase enforcement of existing laws that protect workers.

● Improve benefit delivery and system performance.

ATTACHMENT

Voters Injured At Work

Opposition to Senate Bill 863 (Lieu)

Senate Bill 863 grants injured workers an illusory $720 million increase in permanent disability benefits while actually cutting benefits. SB 863 will reduce benefits for most injured workers in greater amounts than SB 899 did in 2004. SB 863 must be defeated because:

● The overturning of the Ogilvie decision and the mandate not to consider an injured worker’s age and diminished future earning capacity will dramatically reduce permanent disability ratings.

● The prohibition against considering psychiatric disorders resulting from physical injuries will dramatically reduce permanent disability ratings.

● The proposed Independent Medical Review (IMR) system will further delay injured workers’ treatment, deny workers due process of law and will be very costly for employers.

● It erects reporting and billing roadblocks that will discourage physicians from treating injured workers.

● It fails to address the many documented abuses in the current Medical Provider Network (MPN) law. In fact, it makes MPNs even more anti-injured worker.

● It permits employers to delay payments of permanent disability benefits and discourages return-to-work.

● It mandates an outrageous lien filing fee that will encourage insurance companies to short-pay physicians and it will increase lien litigation.

● It mandates the establishment of the Medicare Fee Schedule for workers’ compensation treatment and this will reduce injured workers’ access to specialty medical care, make it more difficult for injured workers’ to prove the cause and extent of their disabilities, it will destabilize most medical provider networks, and increase employers’ insurance premiums.

● It will disqualify many chiropractors from serving as Qualified Medical Evaluators (QMEs)

● It mandates a copy service fee schedule that will impair the ability of injured workers to obtain necessary evidence to prove their workers’ comp cases.

● It mandates an interpreter fee schedule that will impair the ability of injured workers to communicate with their treating physicians and evaluators.

● It limits home care services for injured workers.

● The bill is designed to benefit large self-insured employers of low-income workers, such as Grimmway Farms and Safeway.

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THE MONOPOLIZATION OF INJURED WORKERS’ HEALTHCARE

Posted on 09 August 2012 by admin

Dignity Health Buyout of U.S. Healthworks

August’s planned buyout of U.S. HealthWorks by Dignity Health is a red flag to injured workers who more than likely may be sent to a medical center owned by this behemoth by year’s end as well as to their employers who may be facing higher costs for the privilege of sending their injured workers there. As of now, U.S. Healthworks operates 172 medical centers nationally, and Dignity Health has 33 medical facilities throughout the state of California, four in Nevada and three in Arizona.

This acquisition mirrors similar consolidations by health systems and hospital conglomerates occurring throughout California and the United States in an attempt to cash in on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

According to U.S. HealthWorks CEO, Daniel Crowley, the buyout will provide a ìgreat platform for us to continue growing our network to provide high-quality health care services throughout the country,î which he recently stated in a Modesto Bee article. What he doesn’t say is that for injured workers and their employers this represents big providers getting bigger and private practice physicians becoming unavailable because they cannot compete. The inevitable result is less care at higher rates with no assurance of high quality care and returning to work.

Skeptics need only look at the record. During the past 15 months, U.S. HealthWorks has spent well over $250,000 (and counting) to hire lobbyists and former Schwarzenegger appointees, to lobby the legislature on its behalf. The focus of its lobbying effort is to give itself a raise by sponsoring SB 923, authored by Senator Kevin deLeon of Los Angeles. This bill would mandate adoption of the federal Medicare reimbursement system to care for California’s injured workers. It’s passage guarantees an almost instantaneous raise in U.S. Healthworks/Diginity workers’ compensation revenue of 20% or more.

Employers should not be applauding this revenue grab. Implementation of it will cost the Division of Workers’ Compensation more than $1 million and many months of administrative hearings. These costs are paid by employers through assessments to their premium payments which by every indication will rise anyway in the coming months.

U.S. HealthWorks may have both employers and injured workers in a vice. This ìno winî squeeze comes from the fact that despite failing passage in 2011, SB 923 could still come up for a vote this month AND legislation meant to reform the work comp system may be introduced in the next few days containing the very same Medicare mandate. Injured workers and employers face huge issues with access to care and higher costs either way. The worst part is that the latter reform legislation will be advertised as a grand compromiseî between labor and management despite the fact that the compromise was drafted behind closed doors with no input from injured workers or the medical community (except perhaps U.S. HealthWorks).

The monopolization of occupational care is poised to raise prices and offer less medical services at a higher cost. This will hinder adequate medical treatment to injured workers and essentially prolong their rehabilitation process and an opportunity to work or have medical care for chronic conditions caused by occupational injuries. This raises costs to employers.

Now is the time to act and stop this monopoly through legislation that is crafted to help, not hurt, injured workers and drafted in a way that minimizes the impact on their employers who pay the bill. If injured workers (and their employers) stand idly by – private occupational health centers and providers that truly help injured workers will become a memory of the past and injured workers will be burdened by inadequate medical care and employers will be left with a larger bill.

GET INVOLVED WITH YOUR LOCAL LEGISLATORS TODAY!

Injured workers cannot afford another social experiment like SB 899

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