As of Oct. 8, California employers must begin distributing an updated version of the workers' compensation new hire pamphlet to all employees hire on or after that date; post revised workers' comp employee posting notices (DWC-7);
provide an updated version of the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC-1 Claim FormDWC-1/Notice of Potential Eligibility to injured workers); and post new medical provider network (MPN) notices if they use an MPN. (Click here for revised regulations) and (here for DWC web page)
The state has approved amended regulations governing the basic workers' compensation notice materials that employers must use to inform employees of their rights and obligations under California workers' compensation law, the California Workers' Compensation Institute explained.
Insured and self-insured employers are subject to the posting notice and pamphlet requirements, and failure to provide current information to employees can lead to loss of medical control, civil penalties of up to $7,000 for each violation of the posting requirement, and the tolling of the statute of limitations for filing claims. State law allows private entities to prepare and publish the posting notice or pamphlets if they are approved in advance by the DWC, and for many years, insurers, employers and others have depended on CWCI to produce these materials and keep them current.
The latest amendments to the notice regulations require additional information on MPNs, eliminate references to vocational rehabilitation (which is no longer available), revise the state's Web site references and make other changes intended to streamline the forms.
The MPN notice regulations require that before coverage is implemented, the complete written MPN employee notification also be posted in both English and Spanish in a conspicuous location frequented by employees during the workday and in close proximity to the workers' comp posting.
"Because the details on this 'complete written MPN employee notification' are MPN-specific, claims administrators are scrambling to make sure these notices are ready for employers to post by the Oct. 8 effective date, CWCI said.
Because of the short time frame for implementation, the community must gear up quickly, so following the approval of the regulations last week, the Institute updated its pamphlets and posting notices to reflect the latest changes and submitted the revised drafts to the DWC for approval.
Once the state approves those drafts, CWCI will translate the pamphlets and posting notice into Spanish as required by law, print the materials and distribute them to customers, with shipment expected by mid-September.
(Reprinted with authors permission, Steve Martin, CIC, AFIS, Senior Vice President, Pan American Insurance Agency, Inc.,209 955 2611, fax 209 474 0697, Ca. Lic No. 0F89850, www.paula.com)