January 5, 1998
The maximum aggregate fees which can be charged for specific phases of counseling during the course of a vocational rehabilitation plan have been revised under new legislation which went into effect Jan. 1, 1998, the Division of WorkersÕ Compensation has announced.
The changes are a result of revisions enacted during 1997 to Section 139.5 of the State Labor Code. The Labor Code section requires the Division of WorkersÕ Compensation to establish a fee schedule for vocational rehabilitation services and provides a cap of $4,500 for counseling services, part of an overall cap of $16,000 for vocational rehabilitation services.
Under the revised statute, up to $3,000 will be permitted for vocational evaluation, evaluation of vocational feasibility, initial interview, vocational testing, counseling and research for plan development, and preparation for a specific form approved by the Administrative Director. Up to $3,500 will be permitted for plan monitoring, job seeking skills, and job placement research and counseling. However the aggregate of these categories still must not exceed $4,500.
Proposed amendments to Section 10132 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, which will bring the Vocational Rehabilitation Fee Schedule into conformance with the revised Labor Code section, were the subject of public hearings in November and are expected to be adopted in early 1998.
Services provided employees injured on or after Jan. 1, 1994, who initiate rehabilitation benefits or services on or after Jan. 1, 1998, will be subject to the new caps for counseling services, according to the new regulations.
Several Rehabilitation Unit forms will also be revised to conform with the recently enacted Labor Code amendments:
¥Vocational Rehabilitation Plan, DWC Form RU-102;
¥Notice of Termination of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, DWC Form RU- 105;
¥Initial Evaluation Summary, DWC Form RU-120; and
¥Vocational Rehabilitation Progress Report, DWC Form RU-121.