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Title 8. Industrial Relations
Division 1. Department of Industrial Relations
Chapter 4.5. Division of Workers' Compensation
Subchapter 1. Administrative Director -Administrative Rules
Article 5.5.1. Utilization Review Standards
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§9792.10.1. Utilization Review Standards - Dispute Resolution - On or After January 1, 2013.

This section applies to any request for authorization of medical treatment, made under Article 5.5.1 of this Subchapter, for either: (1) an occupational injury or illness occurring on or after January 1, 2013; or (2) where the decision on the request is communicated to the requesting physician on or after July 1, 2013, regardless of the date of injury.
(a) If the request for authorization of medical treatment is not approved, or if the request for authorization for medical treatment is approved in part, any dispute shall be resolved in accordance with Labor Code sections 4610.5 and 4610.6. Neither the employee nor the claims administrator shall have any liability for medical treatment furnished without the authorization of the claims administrator if the treatment is delayed, modified, or denied by a utilization review decision unless the utilization review decision is overturned by independent medical review or the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board under this Article.
(b)(1) A request for independent medical review must be filed by an eligible party by mail, facsimile, or electronic transmission with the Administrative Director, or the Administrative Director's designee, within 30 days of service of the written utilization review determination issued by the claims administrator under section 9792.9.1(e)(5). The request must be made on the Application for Independent Medical Review, DWC Form IMR, and submitted with a copy of the written decision delaying, denying, or modifying the request for authorization of medical treatment. At the time of filing, the employee shall concurrently provide a copy of the signed DWC Form IMR, without a copy of the written decision delaying, denying, or modifying the request for authorization of medical treatment, to the claims administrator.
(2) A party eligible to file a request for independent medical review includes:
(A) The employee or, if the employee is represented, the employee's attorney. If the employee's attorney files the DWC Form IMR, the form must be accompanied by a notice of representation or other document or written designation confirming representation.
(i) An unrepresented employee may designate a parent, guardian, conservator, relative, or other designee of the employee as an agent to act on his or her behalf in filing an application for independent medical review under this subdivision. A designation of an agent executed prior to the utilization review decision shall not be valid.
(ii) The physician whose request for authorization of medical treatment was delayed, denied, or modified may join with or otherwise assist the employee in seeking an independent medical review. The physician may submit documents on the employee's behalf pursuant to section 9792.10.5 (b) and may respond to any inquiry by the independent review organization.
(B) A provider of emergency medical treatment when the employee faced an imminent and serious threat to his or her health, including, but not limited to, the potential loss of life, limb, or other major bodily function, may submit an application for independent medical review under this section on its own behalf within 30 days after the service of the utilization review decision that either delays, denies, or modifies the provider's retrospective request for authorization of the emergency medical treatment.
(3) If expedited review is requested for a utilization review decision eligible for independent medical review, the Application for Independent Medical Review, DWC Form IMR, shall include, unless the initial utilization review decision was made on an expedited basis, written certification from the employee's treating physician with documentation confirming that the employee faces an imminent and serious threat to his or her health as described in section 9792.6.1(j).
(c)(1) If at the time of a utilization review decision the claims administrator is also disputing liability for the treatment for any reason besides medical necessity, the time for the employee to submit an application for independent medical review under subdivision (b)(1) is extended to 30 days after service of a notice to the employee showing that the other dispute of liability has been resolved.
(2) If the claims administrator provides the employee with a written utilization review determination modifying, delaying, or denying a treatment request that does not contain the required elements set forth in section 9792.9(l) or section 9792.9.1(e) at the time of notification of its utilization review decision, the time limitations for the employee to submit an application for independent medical review under subdivision (b)(1) shall not begin to run until the claims administrator provides the written decision, with all required elements, to the employee.
(d)(1) Nothing in this section precludes the parties from participating in an internal utilization review appeal process on a voluntary basis provided the employee and, if the employee is represented by counsel, the employee's attorney, have been notified of the 30-day time limit to file an objection to the utilization review decision in accordance with Labor Code sections 4610.5 and 4610.6. Any request by the injured worker or treating physician for an internal utilization review appeal process conducted under this subdivision must be submitted to the claims administrator within ten (10) days after the receipt of the utilization review decision.
(2) A request for an internal utilization review appeal must be completed, and a determination issued, by the claims administrator within thirty (30) days after receipt of the request under subdivision (d)(1). An internal utilization review appeal shall be considered complete upon the issuance of a final independent medical review determination under section 9792.10.6(e) that determines the medical necessity of the disputed treatment.
(3) Any determination by the claims administrator following an internal utilization review appeal that results in a modification of the requested medical treatment shall be communicated to the requesting physician and the injured worker, the injured worker's representative, and if the injured worker is represented by counsel, the injured worker's attorney according to the requirements set forth in section 9792.9.1(e). The Application for Independent Medical Review, DWC Form IMR, that accompanies the written decision letter under section 9792.9.1(e)(5)(G) must indicate that the decision is a modification after appeal.
Note: Authority: Sections 133, 4603.5 and 5307.3, Labor Code. Reference: Sections 4062, 4600, 4600.4, 4604.5, 4610 and 4610.5, Labor Code.
HISTORY
1. New section 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.
2. New section refiled 7-1-2013 as an emergency; operative 7-1-2013 (Register 2013, No. 27). A Certificate of Compliance must be transmitted to OAL by 9-30-2013 or emergency language will be repealed by operation of law on the following day.
3. New section refiled 9-30-2013 as an emergency; operative 10-1-2013 (Register 2013, No. 40). A Certificate of Compliance must be transmitted to OAL by 12-30-2013 or emergency language will be repealed by operation of law on the following day.
4. Certificate of Compliance as to 9-30-2013 order, including amendment of section, transmitted to OAL 12-30-2013 and filed 2-12-2014; amendments effective 2-12-2014 pursuant to Government Code section 11343.4(b)(3) (Register 2014, No. 7).

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