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Legal Resources | Labor Code |  LC  4600.5  

Workers' compensation   

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(a) Any health care service plan licensed pursuant to the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act, a disability insurer licensed by the Department of Insurance, or any entity, including, but not limited to, workers' compensation insurers and third-party administrators authorized by the administrative director under subdivision (e), may make written application to the administrative director to become certified as a health care organization to provide health care to injured employees for injuries and diseases compensable under this article.

(b) Each application for certification shall be accompanied by a reasonable fee prescribed by the administrative director, sufficient to cover the actual cost of processing the application. A certificate is valid for the period that the director may prescribe unless sooner revoked or suspended.

(c) If the health care organization is a health care service plan licensed pursuant to the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act, and has provided the Managed Care Unit of the Division of Workers' Compensation with the necessary documentation to comply with this subdivision, that organization shall be deemed to be a health care organization able to provide health care pursuant to Section 4600.3, without further application duplicating the documentation already filed with the Department of Managed Health Care. These plans shall be required to remain in good standing with the Department of Managed Health Care, and shall meet the following additional requirements:

(1) Proposes to provide all medical and health care services that may be required by this article.

(2) Provides a program involving cooperative efforts by the employees, the employer, and the health plan to promote workplace health and safety, consultative and other services, and early return to work for injured employees.

(3) Proposes a timely and accurate method to meet the requirements set forth by the administrative director for all carriers of workers' compensation coverage to report necessary information regarding medical and health care service cost and utilization, rates of return to work, average time in medical treatment, and other measures as determined by the administrative director to enable the director to determine the effectiveness of the plan.

(4) Agrees to provide the administrative director with information, reports, and records prepared and submitted to the Department of Managed Health Care in compliance with the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act, relating to financial solvency, provider accessibility, peer review, utilization review, and quality assurance, upon request, if the administrative director determines the information is necessary to verify that the plan is providing medical treatment to injured employees in compliance with the requirements of this code.

Disclosure of peer review proceedings and records to the administrative director shall not alter the status of the proceedings or records as privileged and confidential communications pursuant to Sections 1370 and 1370.1 of the Health and Safety Code.

(5) Demonstrates the capability to provide occupational medicine and related disciplines.

(6) Complies with any other requirement the administrative director determines is necessary to provide medical services to injured employees consistent with the intent of this article, including, but not limited to, a written patient grievance policy.

(d) If the health care organization is a disability insurer licensed by the Department of Insurance, and is in compliance with subdivision (d) of Sections 10133 and 10133.5 of the Insurance Code, the administrative director shall certify the organization to provide health care pursuant to Section 4600.3 if the director finds that the plan is in good standing with the Department of Insurance and meets the following additional requirements:

(1) Proposes to provide all medical and health care services that may be required by this article.

(2) Provides a program involving cooperative efforts by the employees, the employer, and the health plan to promote workplace health and safety, consultative and other services, and early return to work for injured employees.

(3) Proposes a timely and accurate method to meet the requirements set forth by the administrative director for all carriers of workers' compensation coverage to report necessary information regarding medical and health care service cost and utilization, rates of return to work, average time in medical treatment, and other measures as determined by the administrative director to enable the director to determine the effectiveness of the plan.

(4) Agrees to provide the administrative director with information, reports, and records prepared and submitted to the Department of Insurance in compliance with the Insurance Code relating to financial solvency, provider accessibility, peer review, utilization review, and quality assurance, upon request, if the administrative director determines the information is necessary to verify that the plan is providing medical treatment to injured employees consistent with the intent of this article.

Disclosure of peer review proceedings and records to the administrative director shall not alter the status of the proceedings or records as privileged and confidential communications pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 10133 of the Insurance Code.

(5) Demonstrates the capability to provide occupational medicine and related disciplines.

(6) Complies with any other requirement the administrative director determines is necessary to provide medical services to injured employees consistent with the intent of this article, including, but not limited to, a written patient grievance policy.

(e) If the health care organization is a workers' compensation insurer, third-party administrator, or any other entity that the administrative director determines meets the requirements of Section 4600.6, the administrative director shall certify the organization to provide health care pursuant to Section 4600.3 if the director finds that it meets the following additional requirements:

(1) Proposes to provide all medical and health care services that may be required by this article.

(2) Provides a program involving cooperative efforts by the employees, the employer, and the health plan to promote workplace health and safety, consultative and other services, and early return to work for injured employees.

(3) Proposes a timely and accurate method to meet the requirements set forth by the administrative director for all carriers of workers' compensation coverage to report necessary information regarding medical and health care service cost and utilization, rates of return to work, average time in medical treatment, and other measures as determined by the administrative director to enable the director to determine the effectiveness of the plan.

(4) Agrees to provide the administrative director with information, reports, and records relating to provider accessibility, peer review, utilization review, quality assurance, advertising, disclosure, medical and financial audits, and grievance systems, upon request, if the administrative director determines the information is necessary to verify that the plan is providing medical treatment to injured employees consistent with the intent of this article.

Disclosure of peer review proceedings and records to the administrative director shall not alter the status of the proceedings or records as privileged and confidential communications pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 10133 of the Insurance Code.

(5) Demonstrates the capability to provide occupational medicine and related disciplines.

(6) Complies with any other requirement the administrative director determines is necessary to provide medical services to injured employees consistent with the intent of this article, including, but not limited to, a written patient grievance policy.

(7) Complies with the following requirements:

(A) An organization certified by the administrative director under this subdivision may not provide or undertake to arrange for the provision of health care to employees, or to pay for or to reimburse any part of the cost of that health care in return for a prepaid or periodic charge paid by or on behalf of those employees.

(B) Every organization certified under this subdivision shall operate on a fee-for-service basis. As used in this section, fee for service refers to the situation where the amount of reimbursement paid by the employer to the organization or providers of health care is determined by the amount and type of health care rendered by the organization or provider of health care.

(C) An organization certified under this subdivision is prohibited from assuming risk.

(f) (1) A workers' compensation health care provider organization authorized by the Department of Corporations on December 31, 1997, shall be eligible for certification as a health care organization under subdivision (e).

(2) An entity that had, on December 31, 1997, submitted an application with the Commissioner of Corporations under Part 3.2 (commencing with Section 5150) shall be considered an applicant for certification under subdivision (e) and shall be entitled to priority in consideration of its application. The Commissioner of Corporations shall provide complete files for all pending applications to the administrative director on or before January 31, 1998.

(g) The provisions of this section shall not affect the confidentiality or admission in evidence of a claimant's medical treatment records.

(h) Charges for services arranged for or provided by health care service plans certified by this section and that are paid on a per-enrollee-periodic-charge basis shall not be subject to the schedules adopted by the administrative director pursuant to Section 5307.1.

(i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to expand or constrict any requirements imposed by law on a health care service plan or insurer when operating as other than a health care organization pursuant to this section.

(j) In consultation with interested parties, including the Department of Corporations and the Department of Insurance, the administrative director shall adopt rules necessary to carry out this section.

(k) The administrative director shall refuse to certify or may revoke or suspend the certification of any health care organization under this section if the director finds that:

(1) The plan for providing medical treatment fails to meet the requirements of this section.

(2) A health care service plan licensed by the Department of Managed Health Care, a workers' compensation health care provider organization authorized by the Department of Corporations, or a carrier licensed by the Department of Insurance is not in good standing with its licensing agency.

(3) Services under the plan are not being provided in accordance with the terms of a certified plan.

(l) (1) When an injured employee requests chiropractic treatment for work-related injuries, the health care organization shall provide the injured worker with access to the services of a chiropractor pursuant to guidelines for chiropractic care established by paragraph (2). Within five working days of the employee's request to see a chiropractor, the health care organization and any person or entity who directs the kind or manner of health care services for the plan shall refer an injured employee to an affiliated chiropractor for work-related injuries that are within the guidelines for chiropractic care established by paragraph (2). Chiropractic care rendered in accordance with guidelines for chiropractic care established pursuant to paragraph (2) shall be provided by duly licensed chiropractors affiliated with the plan.

(2) The health care organization shall establish guidelines for chiropractic care in consultation with affiliated chiropractors who are participants in the health care organization's utilization review process for chiropractic care, which may include qualified medical evaluators knowledgeable in the treatment of chiropractic conditions. The guidelines for chiropractic care shall, at a minimum, explicitly require the referral of any injured employee who so requests to an affiliated chiropractor for the evaluation or treatment, or both, of neuromusculoskeletal conditions.

(3) Whenever a dispute concerning the appropriateness or necessity of chiropractic care for work-related injuries arises, the dispute shall be resolved by the health care organization's utilization review process for chiropractic care in accordance with the health care organization's guidelines for chiropractic care established by paragraph (2).

Chiropractic utilization review for work-related injuries shall be conducted in accordance with the health care organization's approved quality assurance standards and utilization review process for chiropractic care. Chiropractors affiliated with the plan shall have access to the health care organization's provider appeals process and, in the case of chiropractic care for work-related injuries, the review shall include review by a chiropractor affiliated with the health care organization, as determined by the health care organization.

(4) The health care organization shall inform employees of the procedures for processing and resolving grievances, including those related to chiropractic care, including the location and telephone number where grievances may be submitted.

(5) All guidelines for chiropractic care and utilization review shall be consistent with the standards of this code that require care to cure or relieve the effects of the industrial injury.

(m) Individually identifiable medical information on patients submitted to the division shall not be subject to the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code).

(n) (1) When an injured employee requests acupuncture treatment for work-related injuries, the health care organization shall provide the injured worker with access to the services of an acupuncturist pursuant to guidelines for acupuncture care established by paragraph (2). Within five working days of the employee's request to see an acupuncturist, the health care organization and any person or entity who directs the kind or manner of health care services for the plan shall refer an injured employee to an affiliated acupuncturist for work-related injuries that are within the guidelines for acupuncture care established by paragraph (2). Acupuncture care rendered in accordance with guidelines for acupuncture care established pursuant to paragraph (2) shall be provided by duly licensed acupuncturists affiliated with the plan.

(2) The health care organization shall establish guidelines for acupuncture care in consultation with affiliated acupuncturists who are participants in the health care organization's utilization review process for acupuncture care, which may include qualified medical evaluators. The guidelines for acupuncture care shall, at a minimum, explicitly require the referral of any injured employee who so requests to an affiliated acupuncturist for the evaluation or treatment, or both, of neuromusculoskeletal conditions.

(3) Whenever a dispute concerning the appropriateness or necessity of acupuncture care for work-related injuries arises, the dispute shall be resolved by the health care organization's utilization review process for acupuncture care in accordance with the health care organization's guidelines for acupuncture care established by paragraph (2).

Acupuncture utilization review for work-related injuries shall be conducted in accordance with the health care organization's approved quality assurance standards and utilization review process for acupuncture care. Acupuncturists affiliated with the plan shall have access to the health care organization's provider appeals process and, in the case of acupuncture care for work-related injuries, the review shall include review by an acupuncturist affiliated with the health care organization, as determined by the health care organization.

(4) The health care organization shall inform employees of the procedures for processing and resolving grievances, including those related to acupuncture care, including the location and telephone number where grievances may be submitted.

(5) All guidelines for acupuncture care and utilization review shall be consistent with the standards of this code that require care to cure or relieve the effects of the industrial injury.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 866, Sec. 10.)