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California bill would put social workers in comp

California employers would be required under a recently amended bill to make available the services of a licensed clinical social worker when it is reasonably required to cure or relieve a worker from the effects of an injury.

S.B. 1002 would allow licensed clinical social workers to join medical provider networks. The bill was amended more than three weeks after the Senate voted 36-0 to send it to the Assembly.

A.B. 399 was also amended to propose limiting fees for independent bill review to $50 for a determination of eligibility, with additional fees to be assessed if a dispute can be reviewed.

The bill the Assembly voted 69-0 to pass in January would have required employers to provide their medical provider network name and identification number to injured workers in certain circumstances. The amended bill proposes what is called the Medical Provider Network Transparency Act of 2022, and it appears to focus exclusively on independent bill review issues.

Independent bill review fees would start with doctors paying a $50 charge for an initial look to determine whether the dispute is eligible for review. If the dispute is eligible, additional fees could then be assessed as required.

If the independent bill review finds a provider was underpaid, the employer would be required to pay the provider within five days. The measure would also direct the independent bill review organization to bill the employer directly for the costs of the review.

If the provider is not entitled to more money, the provider would be charged for the costs of the review. Employers and providers would be hit with a 10% penalty for not paying independent bill review fees within 10 days.

This article was first published in Business Insurance.

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