PREDESIGNATION OFPERSONAL PHYSICIANREGULATIONS RULEMAKING COMMENTS45 DAY COMMENT PERIODNAME OF PERSON/AFFILIATIONDATE COMMENT SENTMODE OF TRANSMISSION(E-MAIL, LETTER, FAX)RESPONSEACTION§9780.1(d)SB 899 narrowed the scope of who can be predesignated by an employee as a “personal physician” under workers’ compensation. It limited predesignation to only primary care physicians. In doingso, the new law acknowledged the important and valuable relationship between the primary care physician andthe employee/patient, and it extended that relationship into treatment of on-the-job injuries.In addition, SB 899 established MPN that allow employers to create networks of occupational and specialist physicians and other treatment providers. These networks are critical toan employer’s ability to provide appropriate and cost-effective medical care to its employees.The proposed DWC regulations expressly provide that employees who predesignate are essentially allowed to “opt out” of the MPN altogether. DWC states that any referrals by the Jill BuchholzRisk ManagerCity of Redondo BeachOctober 24, 2005 EmailGeneva Krag,LEUSD Safety CoordinatorOctober 24, 2005 FaxPaul C. WilhelmsenExecutive DirectorVCSSFA/CSEBOOctober 24, 2005 EmailDeHaas, Diane [[email protected]com]October 28, 2005 EmailGloria E. ShawDirector, Risk ManagementWe disagree. Requiring a predesignated physician to makereferrals within the employer’s MPN goes beyond the authority granted by the Labor Code section 4600. This section does not distinguish between employees of employers that offer MPNs and employers that do not offer MPNs. Additionally, it does not authorize the DWC to implement regulations that would distinguishbetween the two classes of employees. Although the Labor Code is silent regarding restrictions on referrals by the primary care physician, Labor Code section 4061.5 states in relevant part: “The treating physician [is] primarily responsible for managing the care of the injured worker….” This section supports an interpretation that the treating physician who has None.Page 1 of 113
predesiqnated physician may be made to physicians and providers outside of the MPN. Referrals could be made to any physician, including those who haveno prior relationship with the employee.The proposed regulations are contrary to the Legislative intent of SB 899, to narrow the scope of predesignation and create exclusive MPNs for all treatment.It also undermines the overall purpose of SB 899 - to reduce costs and provide for better treatment of on-the-job injuries by physicians who are experienced in occupational medicine and have a relationship with the employee.Predesignation is a significant issue in public agencies. If the proposed regulations are adopted, we fully expectan even stronger push by these unions toward predesignation, rendering MPN reforms virtually useless.