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Taking a Creative Look at SB 863 and Independent Medical Review

Attorneys from Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP (GEK) recently  turned a conference room at the annual   California Applicants’ Attorneys Association’s (CAAA) 2013 Summer Convention into the Land of Oz.   But, why? They, like many other Workers’ Compensation attorneys in California, are trying to maintain a strong foothold while weathering the cyclone otherwise known as Independent  Medical Review (IMR).   IMR is one of the most significant changes to the Workers’ Compensation medical treatment system stemming from the recent enactment of Senate Bill (SB) 863.  

During the presentation, partner Sherry Grant and associates Amy Leung, Joanna Sacavitch and Erika Vargas analogized SB 863’s new process for obtaining medical treatment for injured workers to a trip down the yellow brick road in the hopes that the Wizard of Oz could help authorize treatment requests.   Their creative approach focused on both presenting the change in the law and strategizing how to obtain medical care for injured workers in light of these changes.

They wowed the audience—850 Workers’ Compensation professionals who gathered for the CAAA’s convention.  CAAA is a statewide organization that advocates for injured workers' rights, so, naturally, the members wanted to learn all they could about the new IMR process.   The IMR panel by GEK’s attorneys also made headline news in a state-wide news report about Workers’ Compensation law.

The complexities of the new IMR  process that drastically affects an  injured worker’s right to medical treatment was particularly timely because as of July 1, 2013 the new law applies to all injuries regardless of when they occurred.

Among the issues covered in the informative and entertaining presentation were the tight deadlines inherent in the IMR process, including  the timelines for IMR eligibility and Utilization Review decisions, and much more.

“It is clear that fully understanding the implementation of SB 863 and the new IMR process is going to take a lot of heart, courage and brains,” said Grant.

GEK’s Workers’ Compensation attorneys continue to be on the front lines in terms of understanding the new legislation and using that knowledge to best assist their clients along the yellow brick road in obtaining crucial medical treatment. 

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