The backlog of summary ratings has dropped by nearly 80% since it peaked at over 22,000 ratings last November, and is expected to disappear by the end of this calendar year. In just the last month, the backlog dropped over 45%, from over 9,000 to less than 5,000.
The Division of Workers' Compensation deployed a number of strategies to eliminate this troublesome backlog over the past year. This includes adding both clerical and professional staff, changing procedures, periodically focusing raters exclusively on summary ratings for week-long periods, transferring work from backlogged to less busy offices, and encouraging the community to submit settlements with their own ratings rather than wait for a backlogged summary rating.
One year ago, eleven offices had backlogs of over 1,000 summary ratings, including one -- San Diego -- with more than 3,600 cases pending. Now, only two offices have over 500 cases pending.
"Under the leadership of Manager Blair Megowan, the entire staff of the Disability Evaluation Unit has done a remarkable job of successfully attacking what seemed to be an insurmountable problem just a few months ago," said Casey L. Young, DWC's Administrative Director. "The backlog of summary ratings had become a huge problem for the entire workers' compensation community. I am pleased that we are now almost out of the woods. By the end of the year, we should be able to provide summary ratings within or close to the 20-day statutory time period in all parts of the state."
"The Information and Assistance and Claims Adjudication staff also deserve some of the credit," Young added. "To the extent the community submitted settlements without DEU ratings, our I&A Officers and Judges have dealt with the cases, asking for rating assistance in only the more complex cases. In many areas, special teams reviewed settlements or conducted conferences so that the parties walked out with not only a rating, but also a settlement of their case."
"I am very proud of the manner in which the Division of Workers' Compensation has pulled together to deal with this problem," Young concluded.