Bulletin 98-02
March 12, 1998

DWC Eliminates Lien Backlog, Closes Special Units

The Division of Workers' Compensation has declared victory over its backlog of unresolved liens filed by medical providers and other third parties in workers' compensation cases.

"We are happy to report that the lien backlog, which five years ago was widely recognized as one of the major problems facing DWC, has been essentially eliminated," said DWC Administrative Director Casey L. Young. Two special units of workers' compensation referees specifically set up to handle these medical lien disputes have been closed, and the workers' compensation referees reassigned, he said.

In 1993, Assistant Administrative Director Bill Whiteley established the first lien unit in Santa Ana, which used summary hearing type proceedings to efficiently clear up the backlog of cases where lien issues were left to be resolved. In 1995, a similar unit, patterned after the Santa Ana unit, was established in Van Nuys.

"Through the hard work and efforts of the referees assigned to these special units, backlogs of liens have been eliminated," said Young. "Unresolved lien disputes are now being calendared in the local offices."

Beginning in January of 1998, all district offices are handling their own lien disputes pursuant to the Uniform Lien Policy, which mandates that a good faith effort be made at the mandatory settlement conference to resolve all lien issues. Separate proceedings are not allowed unless a bona fide dispute remains after a good faith effort to resolve it.