Bulletin No. 21-04
April 28, 2004

DWC seeks qualified surgeons for spinal surgery second opinions

The Division of Workers' Compensation is seeking qualified surgeons to participate in a program to give second opinions when treating doctors request authorization for spinal surgery for injured workers. Participating surgeons must be board certified in neurological surgery or in orthopedic surgery. Qualified applicants would be placed on a list from which a random selection would be made whenever a second opinion was requested.

The second opinion surgeon is not required to physically examine the injured worker if there is agreement that surgery is necessary. However, the surgeon may request an examination in any case, and is required to perform an examination before making the decision that surgery is not necessary. Physicians will be paid $250 for a paper review and $500 when a physical examination is required. The physician must issue his or her report within 45 days of the request for a second opinion.

Besides being board certified in orthopedic surgery or neurological surgery, participating physicians must meet the following criteria:

As it is a high priority of DWC to help injured workers obtain medically necessary surgery, this program may go into effect before the regulations are adopted.

The application from is attached to this newsline and may also be downloaded at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/IMC/publications.html.

Along with the Application for Spinal Surgery 2nd Opinion Physician, you must include a copy of your board certification, a copy of your California professional license, and certification of your current hospital privileges.

Please call Joanne Van Raam at (650) 737-2004 or (800) 794-6900 ext. 2004 for application forms or for further assistance.