San Francisco, CA – The California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) recently announced that the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has approved the regulations affecting its Medical-Legal Evaluation program.
The regulations include the permanent adoption of emergency regulations allowing telehealth evaluation by Qualified Medical Evaluators (QMEs), and changes to the rules regarding the scheduling of QME examinations. The effective date of the updated regulations is February 2, 2023.
The adoption and amendments of these regulations include but are not limited to the following:
- Extends the time frame to schedule a medical-legal evaluation by an additional 30 days
- Clarifies that the time frame for scheduling an evaluation is for both initial and subsequent evaluations
- Provides flexibility if the parties agree so that an initial evaluation can occur at any office listed with the DWC Medical Director
- Provides for a QME or Agreed Medical Evaluator (AME) to reschedule an evaluation within 60 days of the date of the cancellation unless the parties agree beyond the 60 days
- Provides a mechanism for remote health Medical-Legal evaluations if specific criteria are met
- Provides a definition of remote health evaluations and identification of office location when a remote health evaluation is conducted.
Note that proposed amendments to section 34, related to electronic service, have been withdrawn by the Division. DWC intends to initiate an additional 15-day comment period to provide clarity.
All documents related to the adoption of the Medical-Legal regulations, along with the new rules and a Final Statement of Reasons, can be found on the DWC rulemaking page.
Source: CA DWC