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California Assembly Passes Two Senate Bills to Improve Workers’ Compensation System

By unanimous vote, the California Assembly passed Senate Bill (SB) 1002 and Senate Bill (SB) 1064.

Senator Anthony Portantino, (D-La Cañada Flintridge) authored SB 1002 which requires that injured workers have access to the services of licensed clinical social workers (LCSW).  The bill which passed by a 76-0 vote allows LCSW’s with a master’s degree and two years of experience to join a medical provider network (MPN).  An MPN is a group of health care providers set up by a workers’ compensation insurance company (or by a self-insured employer) to treat workers injured on the job.  While the LCSW will not be authorized to determine disability within the workers’ compensation system, the LCSW will be able to provide some mental health services.  SB 1002 also revises the list of services in Labor Code Section 4600 that states employers must provide to injured workers to include the services of a LCSW.

According to expert analysis, “The California workers’ compensation system is growing to provide more mental health care, and the COVID-19 pandemic could exacerbate the situation.”  SB 1002 allows clinical social workers to include high-volume care such as intake, referrals, and early screening within the normal scope of their practice.  LCSW’s will now be a treatment option the employer is reasonably required to provide, and the bill expands the meaning of medical treatment to include the services of an LCSW.

Also, by a unanimous vote (76-0) the California Assembly passed SB 1064 authored by Senator Josh Newman, (D-Fullerton).

Currently, the Contractors’ State License Law, provides for the licensing and regulation of contractors by the Contractors State License Board within the Department of Consumer Affairs.  Existing law requires every licensed contractor, or applicant for licensure, to have on file at all times with the Contractors State License Board a current and valid Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance or Certification of Self-Insurance, or a statement certifying that they have no employees and are not required to obtain or maintain workers’ compensation insurance, and specifies various rules that apply to certain license classifications.

Similarly, SB 1064 prohibits the Structural Pest Control Board from issuing, reinstating, or continuing to maintain any structural pest control operator company registration unless the applicant or existing company has filed a current and valid Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance as evidence of current and valid Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage, or a statement certifying that they have no employees and are not required to obtain or maintain workers’ compensation insurance.

The bill also requires the insurer, including the State Compensation Insurance Fund, to report to the registrar of the Structural Pest Control Board the company name, registration number, policy number, dates that coverage is scheduled to commence and lapse, and cancellation date if the policy is canceled for specified reasons. The bill provides that willful or deliberate disregard and violation of workers’ compensation insurance laws constitutes a cause for disciplinary action, and that a violation of these provisions is not a misdemeanor, as specified.

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