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TITLE 8. INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
DIVISION 1. DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
CHAPTER 1. DIVISION OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION-QUALIFIED MEDICAL EVALUATOR
Article 3. Assignment of Qualified Medical Evaluators, Evaluation Procedure
§38. Medical Evaluation Time Frames; Extensions for QMEs and AMEs.
(a) The time frame for an initial or a follow-up comprehensive medical-legal evaluation report to be prepared and submitted shall not exceed thirty (30) days after the QME, Agreed Panel QME or AME has seen the employee or otherwise commenced the comprehensive medical-legal evaluation procedure. If an evaluator fails to prepare and serve the initial or follow-up comprehensive medical-legal evaluation report within thirty (30) days and the evaluator has failed to obtain approval from the Medical Director for an extension of time pursuant to this section, the employee or the employer may request a QME replacement pursuant to section 31.5 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations. Neither the employee nor the employer shall have any liability for payment for the medical evaluation which was not completed within the timeframes required under this section unless the employee and the employer each waive the right to a new evaluation and elect to accept the original evaluation, in writing or by signing and returning to the Medical Director either QME Form 113 (Notice of Denial of Request For Time Extension) or QME Form 116 (Notice of Late QME/AME Report - No Extension Requested) (See, 8 Cal. Code Regs. §§ 113 and 116).
(b) All requests by an evaluator for extensions of time shall be made on form 112 (QME/AME Time Frame Extension Request) (See, 8 Cal. Code Regs. § 112). If the evaluation will not be completed on the original due date, the evaluator may request an extension from the Medical Director, not to exceed an additional 30 days. An extension of the time for completing the report shall be approved, as follows:
(1) When the evaluator has not received test results or the report of a consulting physician, necessary to address all disputed medical issues in time to meet the initial 30-day deadline, an extension of up to thirty (30) days shall be granted;
(2) When the evaluator has good cause, as defined in Labor Code section 139.2(j)(1)(B), an extension of fifteen (15) days shall be granted.
(c) Not later than 5 days before the initial 30-day period to complete and serve the report expires, the evaluator shall notify the Medical Director, the employee and the claims administrator, or if none, the employer, of the request for an extension by use of QME Form 112 (QME/AME Time Extension Request) (See, 8 Cal. Code Regs. § 112).
(d) The Medical Director shall notify the requesting evaluator and the parties of the decision on the extension request by completion of the box at the bottom of QME Form 112 (QME/AME Time Frame Extension Request)(See, 8 Cal. Code Regs. § 112). In the event that a request for an extension of time is denied, the Medical Director shall also send the parties QME Form 113 (Notice of Denial of Request for Time Extension)(See, 8 Cal. Code Regs. § 113) to be used by each party to state whether the party wishes to request a new evaluator or to accept the late report of the original evaluator.
(e) Whenever the Medical Director becomes aware that the report of a Qualified Medical Evaluator or an Agreed Medical Evaluator has not been completed within the required time under section 38 and no extension of time was requested by the evaluator, the Medical Director shall send the parties a Notice of Late QME/AME Report - No Extension Requested (QME Form 116) (See, 8 Cal. Code Regs. § 116). Each party shall complete the form and return it to the Medical Director in order to indicate whether or not the party wishes to accept the late report.
(f) Good cause, as defined in Labor Code section 139.2(j)(1)(B) and section 38(b)(2) of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, means:
(1) medical emergencies of the evaluator or the evaluator's family;
(2) death in the evaluator's family;
(3) natural disasters or other community catastrophes that interrupt the operation of the evaluator's office operations;
(g) Extensions shall not be granted because relevant medical information/records (including Disability Evaluation Form 101 (Request for Summary Determination of Qualified Medical Evaluator's Report) (See, 8 Cal. Code Regs. § 10161)) have not been received. The evaluator shall complete the report based on the information available and state that the opinions and/or conclusions may or may not change after review of the relevant medical information/records.
(h) Except as provided in Section 37 with respect to a request for factual correction, the time frame for supplemental reports shall be no more than sixty (60) days from the date of a written or electronically transmitted request to the physician by a party. The request for a supplemental report, except for requests for factual correction, shall be accompanied by any new medical records that were unavailable to the evaluator at the time of the original evaluation and which were properly served on the opposing party as required by Labor Code section 4062.3. An extension of the sixty (60) day time frame for completing the supplemental report, of no more than thirty (30) days, may be agreed to by the parties without the need to request an extension from the Medical Director.
(i) Evaluators requesting time extensions will be monitored and advised by the Medical Director when such a request appears unreasonable or excessive. Failure to comply with this section may constitute grounds for denial of the QME's request for reappointment pursuant to section 51 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.
NOTE: Forms referred to above are available at no charge by downloading from the web at www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/forms.html or by requesting at 1-800-794-6900.
Note: Authority cited: Sections 133, 139.2(j)(1), 4061, 4062 and 5307.3, Labor Code. Reference: Sections 139.2, 4061, 4062, 4062.1, 4062.2, 4062.5, 4064 and 4067, Labor Code.
1. New section filed 8-1-94; operative 8-31-94 (Register 94, No. 31).
2. Amendment of subsections (a) and (b), new subsections (c)-(c)(3) and subsection relettering, and amendment of newly designated subsection (d) filed 8-23-96; operative 9-22-96 (Register 96, No. 34).
3. Amendment filed 4-14-2000; operative 5-14-2000 (Register 2000, No. 15).
4. Amendment of section and Note filed 1-13-2009; operative 2-17-2009 (Register 2009, No. 3).
5. Amendment of subsection (h) filed 12-31-2012 as an emergency; operative 1-1-2013 pursuant to Government Code section 11346.1(d) (Register 2013, No. 1). A Certificate of Compliance must be transmitted to OAL by 7-1-2013 or emergency language will be repealed by operation of law on the following day.
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