1st DCA Accepts Appeal of SCIF v. WCAB (Stevens) Ruling

The California 1st District Court of Appeal has accepted a petition for review of the WCAB’s decision in the well known Stevens case. The appeal, submitted by the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF), claims that the WCAB does not have the authority to void provisions of California’s medical treatment guidelines that are at odds with other areas of the law.

Frances Stevens fractured her foot at work in 1997, and she now uses a wheelchair and requires assistance for basic daily tasks, like showering and preparing meals. Up until 2013, Stevens was provided with a home health care aide — but that year, California changed its process for approving workers’ requests for medical treatment, putting the responsibility for resolving medical treatment disputes on independent medical reviewers. Stevens soon learned that she would no longer be receiving home health care services.

In reaction to losing her home aide, Stevens brought legal charges against SCIF, and the WCAB ultimately ruled that the Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule conflicted with prior case law that established home health care is a form of medical treatment.

Now, SCIF is challenging WCAB’s ruling, claiming that it overstepped its bounds. If this appeal is ruled in SCIF’s favor, the WCAB could be forbidden from making determinations about the legality of provisions in the treatment guidelines.

Click here to view the case docket.