Bulletin 97-12
August 18, 1997

Medical and Medical-Legal Travel Expense Rates Increase

Effective July 1, 1997, the mileage rates for medical and medical-legal travel expenses have increased to 31 cents per mile.

Mileage rates for injured workers in a vocational rehabilitation plan are governed by the plan. Reimbursement rates for those under vocational rehabilitation but not yet in a plan should be set at 31 cents per mile.

Labor Code Section 4600, in conjunction with Government Code Section 19820 and Department of Personnel Administration regulations, establishes the rate payable for mileage reimbursement for medical and medical-legal expenses. For a number of years the mileage rate has been 24 cents per mile, or up to 30 cents with certification that the cost of operating the vehicle met or exceeded the rate claimed.

Effective July 1, 1997, the Department of Personnel Administration amended its travel rules and established a mileage rate of 31 cents per mile. There is no longer an alternative higher rate with certification. (Title 2, California Code of Regulations, Section 599.631(a).)

The changes are effective for travel on July 1, 1997 regardless of the date of injury. The DWC Audit Unit assesses penalties for failure to reimburse the appropriate mileage rate. However, in order to allow for a reasonable period of time for claims administrators to inform all claims personnel of the changes, the Audit Unit will refrain from assessing penalties for violations which occur before October 1, 1997.

It should be noted, however, that this does not relieve claims administrators of their liability to the injured worker for mileage at the higher rate as of July 1, 1997.