Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Goveror Brown and former Gov. Schwarzenegger have in common that both earned the gratitude and thanks of the insurance cartels. When the insurance companies learned that Gov. Brown vetoed anything and everything that might have lightened the burden for injured workers, their immediate response was to praise the Governor. Why not? He saved their bacon, didn't he?

Both Schwarzenegger and Brown ignored the opinion of the Medical Board of California, namely, that utilization review was an aspect of medical practice and that utilization review doctors whose decisions are used in California should be licensed in California. Texas doctors, unlicensed in California, may do utilization review in California whereas California doctors, if they're not licensed in Texas, may not do utilization review for injured workers in Texas.

It turns out that Governors may ignore the decisions of their states' professional boards. Not so for the accountants, dentists, nurses, physicians and tecnologists who are obliged to submit to the decisions of their professional boards.

Jason Schmelzer, Chief Lobbyist for the California Workers' Comp Coalition, glowingly said "there's room for the Governor to gloat. He did a fine job ... we think he did just fine."

Jesse Ceniceros, president of Voters Injured at Work, asked "what was the sense in replacing a Republican with a Democrat if he's just going to do what the Repubicans tell him to do? It's as though we didn't get rid of Schwarzenegger."

Right on, Jesse, we didn't. Both governors kow-towed to the insurance companies. Both governors earned and deserve the accolades heaped upon them by the insurance moguls. The injured worker community never saw it coming and didn't know what hit 'em until it was over. Denials of authorization for care will keep coming from doctors without California licenses as long as the use of carpetbagger doctors continues.

Interestingly, Gov. Brown used the Knox-Keene legislation as his model even though Knox-Keene has nothing to do with workers' comp. Brown said that requiring utilization review doctors to be licensed in California wasn't consistent with Knox-Keene. The California Society of Industrial Medicine and Surgery wrote Brown in September of 2011 that "merely because some Knox-Keene companies may be engaging in illegal activity without being prosecuted is not sufficient basis to condone it in workers' comp." To the best of our knowledge, Knox-Keene wasn't invented to make the lives of injured workers miserable. That cudgel was taken up by Schwarzenegger and is now surprisingly being wielded by Brown.

It may've been a politically advantageous move for Schwarzenegger from whom fair and equitable treatment of injured workers wasn't expected. We'd expected better from Brown.

No comments:

Post a Comment