FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2004
CHSWC issues report on workers' comp causation and apportionment
SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Commission on Health
and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) unanimously voted at its public
meeting on May 5, 2004 in San Francisco to approve and issue a report on
the CHSWC study of workers' compensation causation and apportionment.
One of the reasons that California workers' compensation costs
are higher than other states despite lower temporary and permanent disability
compensation weekly payment rates may be that many injuries are compensable
in California that would not be compensable in other jurisdictions.
In November 2003, Assemblyman Rick Keene and Senator Charles
Poochigian formally requested that CHSWC prepare a background study that
would provide research on laws of compensability and apportionment in California
as compared with other states.
The background paper did not make any recommendations to change
the law defining which injuries would be compensable, but the paper did
make recommendations to consider changes in the apportionment of disability
when an injured worker's disability is caused by a combination of a work
injury plus prior injuries or other conditions. Specifically, the background
CHSWC's apportionment recommendations were all incorporated
into SB 899, the workers' compensation reform legislation enacted in April
2004, either specifically or as part of a broader revision of the apportionment
CHSWC, created by the workers' compensation reform legislation
of 1993, is charged with overseeing the health and safety and workers' compensation
systems in California and recommending administrative or legislative modifications
to improve their operation. The commission was established to conduct a
continuing examination of the workers' compensation system and of the state's
activities to prevent industrial injuries and occupational diseases and
to examine those programs in other states.
Since its inception in 1994, CHSWC has held meetings, conducted
fact-finding hearings, and directed several studies to determine how these
crucial programs are serving California employees and employers. These studies,
conducted by independent research organizations under contract with the
commission, and other activities were aided by the involvement of state
agency personnel and interested members of the workers' compensation community.
This cooperative public-private partnership continues to work together to
identify, describe, measure and propose solutions to problems and difficulties
in the current health and safety and workers' compensation systems.
Further information about CHSWC and its activities may be
obtained by writing to Christine Baker, executive officer, Commission on
Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, 10th
Floor, San Francisco, California 94102, by calling (415) 703-4220, or by
faxing a request to (415) 703-4234. CHSWC information and publications are
also available at www.dir.ca.gov/chswc.