ACIC Supports Medical Provider Network Regulations

February 2, 2005

The Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC) supports the adoption of newly developed state regulations that implement the Medical Provider Networks (MPN) provision of California’s workers’ compensation reform package.

“We believe that the (state) Division of Workers’ Compensation has made remarkable progress in implementing elements of last year’s reform law,” said ACIC President Sam Sorich in written testimony presented at a state hearing on the network regulations.

The Division of Workers’ Compensation, Dept. of Industrial Relations, issued emergency network regulations Jan. 1. The division conducted a hearing here today in its bid to make the regulations permanent.

Sorich explained that the regulations allow employers and insurance companies to create networks of medical care providers who are available to treat injured workers more efficiently and effectively.

In his written statement, Sorich suggested some changes to specific provisions of the network regulations. For example, he suggested that the period allowed injured workers to make appointments for second and third opinions be shortened from 60 to 20 days. This, he said, would allow treatment to begin sooner for injured workers.

He also questioned another provision, which requires insurers to submit the number of employees covered in a Medical Provider Network. He explained that insurers do not ordinarily know the exact number of their policyholders’ employees because business workforces are often changing.

In praising the division’s efforts, the ACIC president said, “These regulations are the latest action taken by the administration to implement last year’s reforms. The Division of Workers’ Compensation is carrying out its responsibility to implement the provisions of the reform law. Any attempts to delay the implementation of these regulations would only delay the improved medical treatment and quicker return to work which the regulations deliver to injured workers.”

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