Legislation Workers' compensation

California workers’ comp reforms bring savings, state report says


Photo: Brett Hillyard/iStock/Thinkstock

Oakland, CA – California officials are touting the success of recent workers’ compensation reforms following the release of a report showing increased payments to workers and savings for employers.

Senate Bill 863, enacted in 2013, made several changes to the state’s workers’ comp system, including using evidence-based medicine to guide treatment decisions, having independent medical reviewers settle treatment disputes and giving workers improved access to network physicians.

The California Department of Industrial Relations report, released July 23, details the effect the law has had on benefits and costs:

  • Benefits for workers with a permanent disability increased about 30 percent.
  • Medical costs in 2014 were reduced 3.3 percent.
  • Premiums were reduced 10 percent this July.

“The progress made since the passage of SB 863, which allows medical – rather than legal – experts to make medical decisions, is very encouraging,” DIR Director Christine Baker said in a press release. “More appropriate treatment is now being provided more quickly, which reduces waste and improves the whole system.”