The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) has set a public hearing for Monday, August 30th, 2021, at 10:00am, to amend the Copy Service Price Schedule. The proposed changes stand to significantly increase costs for medical-legal reports, based on the information provided in the notice of proposed rulemaking, initial statement of reason, and the text of regulations available.
The announcement from the Department of Industrial Relations provides a summary of the significant changes :
- An increase of the flat rate for copy services from $180 to $225 for records up to 500 pages, and includes all associated services such as pagination, witness fees for delivery of records, and subpoena preparation.
- Several provisions to address improper payments, such as a preclusion for medical providers to improperly charge for inspection of records, maximum witness fees from third party release of information services, and an increase for bills not paid within 30 days of billing.
- A procedure to object to services provided within 30 days of a request by an injured worker to an employer, claims administrator or workers’ compensation insurer for copies of records in the employer’s possession that are relevant to the claim. It is not uncommon for an employee’s attorney to subpoena records even though they have been subpoenaed by defendant. The 30-day waiting period is triggered when the copy service advises the claims administrator of an intent to copy records from a specific location for a specific dispute. The parties would then have an opportunity to object within the waiting period. Once an objection is raised, the parties must meet and confer to resolve the objection.
- DWC will also charge and collect retrieval costs for records requested under the Public Records Act.