The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) recently adopted an emergency regulation related to COVID-19. Found in California Code of Regulations Section 46.3 (CCR §46.3), this regulation allows Qualified Medical Evaluators (QME) to perform medical-legal evaluations for applicants remotely through telehealth. Under CCR §46.3, “a QME may complete a medical-legal evaluation through telehealth when a hands-on physical examination is not necessary.” When this condition is satisfied, a remote meeting between the medical evaluator and applicant can be done through either video-calling or video-conferencing.
The DWC issued its notice of intent to re-adopt the regulation to promote the ongoing need for flexibility in remote evaluations allowing it to be extended through October 18, 2022. Additionally, the DWC intends to commence rulemaking to make CCR §46.3 a permanent regulation before it expires.
If approved, the permanent regulation will help applicants continue to move their workers’ compensation claims toward a resolution by avoiding any additional and undue delay in the process by addressing how medical-legal evaluations may proceed in the future of workers’ compensation cases.