Adelson, Testan, Brundo, Novell & Jimenez (ATB Law) would like to make its audience aware that the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) will be holding a public hearing to discuss issues and changes connected with the Medical Provider Networks, or MPNs, following the passage of SB 863 last year. The term MPN was coined in 2005 as a way to describe health care providers and groups maintained by insurers and self-insured employers and approved by the DWC for workers’ compensation cases. SB 863 will bring significant changes to the way that MPNs operate in workers’ compensation claims. The DWC hearing will be the first occasion for members of the public to supply recommendations on these MPN changes as part of the state rulemaking process.
The details for this hearing are as follows:
January 31, 2013
10 AM to 12 noon
Elihu Harris State Office Building Auditorium
1515 Clay Street
Oakland, CA 94612
All Employers Should Have a Voice in the Rule making Process
It is hoped that the pending reforms will reduce costs to employers while developing a more navigable workers’ compensation system for all. The DWC is seeking public input on a variety of issues, including new MPN applicants, MPN audits and investigations, and the Independent Medical Review process. Employers will have the opportunity to participate in the formation of regulations for these new processes on January 31, and will also be able to share input on other facets of the law.
Adelson, Testan, Brundo, Novell & Jimenez believes it is important for employers to have a voice in workers’ compensation legislation, and encourages all employers potentially impacted by the coming changes to send a representative to this hearing and voice any suggestions or concerns they may have.
Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez would like to remind all California attorneys that the reporting deadline for 2013 MCLE Compliance is 01/31/13. All attorneys with licenses in active status with last names beginning A through G who do not have an exemption are required to report the minimum continuing legal education completed by this date. Remember, an attorney’s reporting group does not change due to a change in last name, so attorneys must report according to the group with which they originally registered.
MCLE Compliance Groups by Last Name
According to the State Bar of California, “members are assigned to a compliance group only once and remain in that same group, even if the member subsequently changes his/her last name.” The groups differ slightly depending on the time members were admitted:
- Members admitted on or before Feb. 1, 1992 were assigned to a compliance group based on the first letter of their last name, as listed on their official State Bar records, effective Feb. 1, 1992 (the beginning of the MCLE program).
- Members admitted after Feb. 1, 1992 are assigned to a compliance group based on the first letter of the last name listed on their admit cards. Admit cards are filled out when they are sworn in as a members of the State Bar.
2013 MCLE Reporting Requirements
The 2013 MCLE Compliance requirements are 25 hours of education including special requirements, no more than half of which may be self-study. However, these hours may be reduced or eliminated for attorneys qualifying for certain exemptions, though these individuals must still report:
- Proportional requirements for attorneys who were admitted or voluntarily inactive during the three year reporting period
- Officers, elected officials, and full-time employees of the State of California
- Full-time professors at accredited law schools
- Attorneys or judges employed full-time by the federal government
Adelson, Testan, Brundo &Jimenez believes it is important for attorneys to note that certifications of 2013 MCLE Compliance are taken under penalty of perjury, and urges attorneys to ensure that all coursework completed meets the minimum requirements before certifying the same. Recent audits by the State Bar have found attorneys out of compliance, and audit rates for all attorneys are increasing as a result.
Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez Suggestions for Keeping in Compliance
The attorneys of Adelson, Testan et al. have decades of experience in keeping in compliance with MCLE rules and share the following tips for attorneys new to practice or even those who could use a reminder.
- Keep attendance certificates and all coursework for completed CLE courses for at least one year after the reporting period. Making digital copies is an easy and inexpensive way to duplicate records and protect against loss.
- Confirm that all CLE courses and providers used are approved by the State Bar.
- Print out the confirmation that MCLE has been reported through the online My State Bar Profile as a secondary record.
If for any reason an attorney misses the 2013 MCLE Compliance reporting deadline, the State Bar will assess a $75 fine and allow the attorney 60 days to return to compliance before enacting an administrative license suspension. Attorneys should complete MCLE as early as possible and report accurately to avoid penalties.
Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez (ATB Law) is committed to providing timely and practical information to employers concerned about workers’ compensation, and recent news from the state of Nebraska bears dissemination. The Nebraska Supreme Court recently ruled that illegal immigrants in the state are entitled to the same workers’ compensation disability benefits as legal workers, placing Nebraska among a growing number of states with comparable laws.
In its ruling on Moyera v. Quality Pork International, the Nebraska Supreme Court noted the legal inconsistency in denying workers’ compensation to illegal immigrants when this group is permitted to sue employers under tort law to recover damages in such cases. The Court also stated in its opinion that denying these individuals such benefits could incentivize the hiring of illegal immigrants, as by doing so employers could potentially avoid liability for workplace injuries by hiring illegal rather than legal workers.
Coverage for Illegal Immigrants Varies from State to State
Florida, Nevada, Texas, and Utah already have similar laws requiring employers to cover disability benefits for injuries sustained by illegal immigrants in the workplace. California also requires employers to pay workers’ compensation claims for illegal immigrants. Other states may expressly prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving workers’ compensation; Idaho and Wyoming are two states with such laws on the books. Still other states have ambiguous positions on this issue.
The differences in state laws can create obstacles for businesses with locations in multiple states that may have conflicting laws. The workers’ compensation attorneys of Adelson Testan et al. are aware of the uncertainties this causes for employers, and are prepared to help clients navigate the legal patchwork this situation creates in the following states:
- New Jersey
Whether your business requires workers’ compensation defense or workers’ compensation consultation to lower costs and reduce uncertainty, Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez are available to help. Contact us today to learn more about our firm’s comprehensive workers’ compensation defense services.