Newsline No. 75-07
printer image Printer friendly

November 20, 2007

Division of Workers' Compensation re-posts treatment guidelines for postsurgical patients to online forum for public comment

The Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) has revised its proposed postsurgical treatment guidelines and posted them to a second online forum where members of the public may review and comment on the proposal. The purpose of the guidelines is to ensure that injured workers recovering from surgery receive an appropriate course of therapy

During the first online forum period the DWC received valuable comments from the public. At the same time, DWC learned that the Work Loss Data Institute updated its Official Disability Guidelines (ODG). Based on the comments received and the recent ODG update, the DWC has decided to use the Official Disability Guidelines as the basis for the postsurgical treatment guidelines. For areas identified as not covered by the ODG, the DWC will supplement by using evidence and input from its medical evidence evaluation advisory committee (MEEAC). This new information will be contained in Table AA, Section 9792.24.3(e)(3).

The postsurgical treatment guidelines are being added to the proposed update of the medical treatment utilization schedule (MTUS). The MTUS update, which includes new chronic pain and elbow guidelines, was previously posted to an online forum for review and public comment. Once the comment period for this forum posting on postsurgical treatment guidelines is complete, formal rulemaking on the entire package of updates to the MTUS will commence.

The proposed postsurgical treatment guidelines define key terms commonly used in the regulations, address the application of the postsurgical treatment guidelines, address postsurgical patient management, set forth the postsurgical patient treatment approach, describe the frequency and duration of postsurgical treatment, and set forth procedures which are not considered surgery requiring postsurgical therapy under the regulations.

The proposed postsurgical treatment guidelines are authorized by Labor Code section 5307.27 and Assembly Bill 1073, which provides that the 24-visit cap on physical medicine services shall not apply to visits for postsurgical physical medicine and rehabilitation services provided in compliance with a postsurgical treatment utilization schedule established by the administrative director. The proposed changes are in the California Code of Regulations, Title 8, section 9792.20 et seq., and will be specifically contained in section 9792.24.3.

The forum can be found at http://www.dir.ca.gov/WCJudicial.htm. Please click on "current forums" at the top of the page. Comments will be accepted at the forum through Dec. 4, 2007. Please feel free to participate in this important process.

###