On May 3, 2017, Boehm & Associates attended the California Assembly Insurance Committee and spoke in opposition to AB-221. Boehm & Associates is happy to announce to our clients that the bill failed to pass. The bill needed a majority vote of the membership of the Committee; the final vote was 3 ayes, 3 noes, and 7 no votes recorded. The bill in its current form is dead for this legislative session, although it is possible that a version of this bill will appear in future legislative sessions.
Boehm & Associates testified to the Committee that, at the request of Assembly member Gray’s office, we had provided numerous examples of bona fide cumulative trauma claims that settled with a Compromise and Release (C&R) of less than $25,000.00. This ran contrary to what was presented to the Committee by the Assembly member.
In sum, this bill would have reduced or eliminated access to reasonable and necessary medical treatment to cure or relieve cumulative trauma injuries for injured workers. It allowed the workers’ compensation insurance carrier (and the employee) to bear no liability for medical treatment under certain circumstances, including if the settlement value of the case for the purposes of a C&R falls below $25,000.00, exclusive of the cost of past or future medical care. This inevitably would have left the injured worker with insufficient medical treatment because of the hesitance of medical providers to treat a patient when there was the prospect that neither the employee nor the employer would bear any liability for the treatment.
Boehm & Associates will continue to monitor for the appearance of this bill, or another version of this bill, in future legislative sessions. More complete information about the bill can be found at the California Legislature’s website.