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California extends timeline for med-legal evaluations

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation on Friday announced that new rules allowing an additional 30 days to schedule a medical-legal evaluation are now in effect.

The Office of Administrative Law approved the rules, and they took effect on Thursday when they were filed with the Secretary of State.

The rules require that a qualified medical evaluator schedule an exam with an injured worker within 90 days of being selected from a panel, an increase from the 60 days that were formerly allowed. The extended time frame applies to both initial and subsequent evaluations.

The rules also define remote health evaluations and establish criteria for when med-legal evaluations can be done using video conferencing or similar technology. The rules allow remote exams when there’s a disputed medical issue involving causation, termination, indemnity benefits or work restrictions and the parties agree to the evaluation.

The division said in a statement that proposed changes related to electronic service of documents were withdrawn from the proposal. The agency said it will initiate an additional 15-day comment period to address the electronic service regulations.

This article was first published in Business Insurance.

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