California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) has announced that the existing emergency regulations for medical-legal evaluations and reporting will be in effect through January 11, 2022, following approval by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL). This extension of the regulations in response to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic is final, per Government Code section 11346.1(h). The regulations were first extended in March of 2021, and any further extension would require a new passage of the emergency measures.
As previously noted, these regulations assist injured workers and employers in resolving workers’ compensation claims during the ongoing health crisis. The regulations also help avoid additional and undue delay for these claims by addressing how medical-legal evaluations may proceed during the pandemic, and provide alternative means for service of required forms related to medical-legal evaluations and reports. The DWC previously announced on September 13, 2021, that it was submitting the rules to the OAL for an extension on September 20, and the extension was approved on September 30.
The full text of the rules can be found here. SRTK will continue to monitor this development and provide updates as available. Please contact our offices with any questions.