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CA Injured Workers Without a Voice in WC Deal-AFL-CIO Tops Cut Deal With Insurance Crooks
by repost
Friday Aug 17th, 2012 11:35 AM
California AFL-CIO legislative director Angie Wei And AFL-CIO head Art Pulaski are working secretly with the California workers comp insurance crooks to cut benefits for California's injured workers. The secret meetings and anti-labor deal has been blasted by Voters Injured At Work
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CA Injured Workers Left Without a Voice in Workers Comp Deal Mobilize to Demand a Halt to a Bad Deal that would Weaken Workers’ Comp

AFL-CIO Tops Making Secret Deal With Insurance Industry Crooks

Press Release

For Immediate Release Contact: Jesse Ceniceros

August 16, 2012 (800) 401-8429

Injured Workers Left Without a Voice in Workers Comp Deal

Mobilize to Demand a Halt to a Bad Deal that would Weaken Workers’
Comp

Los Angeles, CA-- Today Jesse Ceniceros, president of Voters Injured
at Work (VIAW) announced plans to mobilize injured workers and voters
to oppose the current workers’ compensation package and called on
legislators to push for a public debate. The proposed workers’
compensation package seeks to drastically reduce the healthcare
options and legal recourse available to persons injured on the job in
California.

The organization has been visiting legislators and mobilizing injured
workers in clinics across Southern California, generating hundreds of
calls to members of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations
Committee. Now, the organization is mobilizing voters to raise
awareness about the impact of the proposed cuts on the rights to and
access to medical care for injured workers.

Yesterday VIAW launched a massive effort to contact nearly one
million registered voters in the districts of Senate Labor and
Industrial Relations Committee members, to encourage voters to contact
legislators and demand workers’ compensation reform that protects
workers not big business and insurance companies. VIAW’s message was
received by nearly 300,000 registered voters. As a result Senate
offices were flooded with calls from voters all day yesterday.
“There has been little to no opportunity for injured workers in
California to have a voice in these negotiations and that’s not
politics, it’s just wrong,” said Ceniceros.

“We are calling on our legislators to force proponents of this
package to have a public debate! Under the current deal they are
basically trying to help balance the state budget on the backs of
injured workers. That’s no way to treat people who have helped keep
this state afloat with the sweat of their brow and their taxes,”
added Ceniceros.

Under Governor Schwarzenegger, injured workers saw vicious cuts of
61% to permanent disability payments. This new proposal is a bad deal
for injured workers as it now seeks to also limit healthcare options
and long-term compensation. The proposal would do the following:

� This workers compensation package grants injured workers an
illusory $720 million increase in permanent disability benefits while
actually cutting benefits. It will reduce benefits for most injured
workers in greater amounts than SB 899 did in 2004.

� It mandates the establishment of the Medicare Fee Schedule for
workers’ compensation treatment and this will reduce injured
workers’ access to specialty medical care, make it more difficult
for injured workers to prove the cause and extent of their
disabilities and increase employers’ insurance premiums.

� It permits employers to delay payments of permanent disability
benefits and creates roadblocks that will discourage injured workers
from returning to work.

� The proposed Independent Medical Review (IMR) system will further
delay injured workers’ treatment, deny workers due process of law
and will be very costly for employers. (See attachment for additional
analysis.)

Like most members of the public, VIAW learned of the deal and its
sweeping cutbacks this week. The proposed package has allowed for very
little public input. The organization was looking forward to providing
comment during the scheduled Senate Labor and Industrial

Relations Committee on Wednesday August 15, 2012. However, the
hearing was postponed.

We stand ready to work with our legislators in protecting injured
workers through fair and just reform. We look forward to a public
discussion.

VIAW plans to continue to reach out to voters throughout this
election cycle. “The postponement of the hearing does not mean that
this package is dead. We are looking ahead and want to be sure that
voters and especially injured workers are aware and have a say in the
matter. We are calling on the members of this committee and
legislators to let injured workers have a voice,” concluded
Ceniceros.

About VotersInjuredAtWork.org

VotersInjuredAtWork.org is an organization of injured workers and
their families established for the purpose of protecting and enforcing
California’s constitutional guarantee of a fair and adequate system
of compensating workers and their dependents for injury or disability
from a work injury. Voters Injured at Work.org provides a strong voice
in Sacramento to help enact legislation that will rebalance the
California workers’ compensation system that has been “fixed” at
the expense of injured workers. Voters Injured at Work.org seeks to do
all of the following:

� Maintain access to appropriate medical care with a physician of an
injured workers’ choice.

� Improve benefit levels.

� Provide assistance in returning to gainful employment.

� Increase enforcement of existing laws that protect workers.

� Improve benefit delivery and system performance.

ATTACHMENT

Voters Injured At Work

Opposition to Senate Bill 863 (Lieu)

Senate Bill 863 grants injured workers an illusory $720 million
increase in permanent disability benefits while actually cutting
benefits. SB 863 will reduce benefits for most injured workers in
greater amounts than SB 899 did in 2004. SB 863 must be defeated
because:

The overturning of the Ogilvie decision and the mandate not to
consider an injured worker’s age and diminished future earning
capacity will dramatically reduce permanent disability ratings.

The prohibition against considering psychiatric disorders resulting
from physical injuries will dramatically reduce permanent disability
ratings.

The proposed Independent Medical Review (IMR) system will further
delay injured workers’ treatment, deny workers due process of law
and will be very costly for employers.

It erects reporting and billing roadblocks that will discourage
physicians from treating injured workers.

It fails to address the many documented abuses in the current Medical
Provider Network (MPN) law. In fact, it makes MPNs even more
anti-injured worker.

It permits employers to delay payments of permanent disability
benefits and discourages return-to-work.

It mandates an outrageous lien filing fee that will encourage
insurance companies to short-pay physicians and it will increase lien
litigation.

It mandates the establishment of the Medicare Fee Schedule for
workers’ compensation treatment and this will reduce injured
workers’ access to specialty medical care, make it more difficult
for injured workers’ to prove the cause and extent of their
disabilities, it will destabilize most medical provider networks, and
increase employers’ insurance premiums.

It will disqualify many chiropractors from serving as Qualified
Medical Evaluators (QMEs).

It mandates a copy service fee schedule that will impair the ability
of injured workers to obtain necessary evidence to prove their
workers’ comp cases.

It mandates an interpreter fee schedule that will impair the ability
of injured workers to communicate with their treating physicians and
evaluators.

It limits home care services for injured workers.

The bill is designed to benefit large self-insured employers of
low-income workers, such as Grimmway Farms and Safeway.

**

Check out our website at: http://www.viaw.org
and keep up with the latest news.*

*

*VotersInjuredAtWork.org, *714 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 450, Los
Angeles, CA 90015, Phone - 213-746-3222


*Connect with us:*


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CA AFL-CIO Angie Wei Negotiating With Pols With Aim Of "Eliminating benefits for certain health conditions" for increase in permanent disability benefits

http://www.californiahealthline.org/articles/2012/8/15/unions-circulating-draft-of-bill-to-boost-workers-compensation-benefits.aspx#ixzz23lKAXZ7k

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Unions Circulating Draft of Bill To Boost Workers' Compensation Benefits
Lobbyists for labor unions are circulating a summary of proposed legislation to increase workers' compensation benefits, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Walters, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 8/14).
On Wednesday, the Senate Industrial Relations Committee is scheduled to hold an informational hearing on language of the proposed bill (Johnson, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/14).
Background
Although there is less than a month left in the legislative session, California labor unions have pushed for the introduction of a bill that would increase workers' compensation payments to permanently injured workers and limit the fees that can be charged in processing claims.
Angie Wei -- a lobbyist with the California Labor Federation -- said that her group has been in talks with the chairs of the Senate Labor and Assembly Insurance committees about the issue and that unions and employers have been negotiating over workers' compensation for months (California Healthline, 8/9).
Details of Summary
According to a 45-point summary of proposed language, the bill would increase workers' compensation benefits by a total of about $700 million annually for individuals with permanent injuries ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 8/14).
The legislation also would reduce costs in the workers' compensation system by a projected $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion (Sacramento Business Journal, 8/14).
The bill would cut costs by:
Eliminating benefits for certain health conditions; and
Scaling back considerations of future earning capacity while setting benefits.
The provisions detailed in the summary could be incorporated into a separate workers' compensation bill (SB 863) by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), according to "Capitol Alert."
Reaction to Summary
The summary is drawing opposition from lawyers who specialize in workers' compensation cases. They argue that the bill is worse than workers' compensation reforms implemented by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), which the legislation seeks to undo.
According to "Capitol Alert," it is unknown how health care providers and health insurers would react to the bill ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 8/14).
§Angie Wei, CA AFL-CIO Legislative Directgor
by repost Friday Aug 17th, 2012 11:36 AM
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Angie Wei, CA AFL-CIO Legislative Director used to support Voters Injured At Work VIAW, now she is having secret negotiations with the politicians and the workers comp insurance crooks on how to cut benefits for California injured workers. Wei and Pulaski were also "neutral" on SB 899 which attacked injured workers in California and was pushed by the insurance industry and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This deal is worse than SB 899 according to the Applicant Attorney's representing injured workers.
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workers comp reform?stanFriday Aug 17th, 2012 4:46 PM