California EAMS: Avoid Trips and Tricks – Adhere to Our Triple Top Tips

California EAMS: Avoid Trips and Tricks – Adhere to Our Triple Top Tips

Set for below are three top tips for easing through the current litigation process. They include:

  • Forms to Expedite the Panel QME Process
  • State Bar now Requires Email Addresses From all Members
  • Procedure to Obtain an Emergency Stay

1. New Forms Make Obtaining a Panel QME Easier

The Medical Unit is always trying to devise new tools to expedite the Panel QME request process. To that end, they have created two NEW forms for requesting a new Panel QME, Form 31.5 for “Replacement QME” and Form 31.7 for a “2nd QME.” Essentially, the forms are a checklist of all items needed by the medical unit to successfully issue a new QME panel.

Key facts that are often missing from requests are as follows and are included in the new forms:

  • The disputed issue—basis for new panel QME
  • The medical specialty requested (using the 3 digit specialty codes)
  • Prior QME Panel #
  • Specialty of PTP
  • ZIP code of injured worker

The two new forms can be found in the “Forms” section of the DIR website at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/forms.html.

2. The State Bar of California is going digital

As of March 2010, the monthly State Bar publication will now be sent online. Therefore, all State Bar members are required to provide a current email address to facilitate communication with the Bar Association. Cal Rule of Court §9.7 became effective Feb. 1, 2010 and provides:

Rule 9.7. Online reporting by attorneys

(a) Required information

To maintain the roll of attorneys required by rule 9.6 and to facilitate communications by the State Bar with its members, each member must use an online membership account on a secure system provided by the State Bar to report a current:

(1) Office address and telephone number, or if none, another address; and

(2) An e-mail address not to be disclosed on the State Bar's Web site or otherwise to the public without the member's consent.

(b) Optional information

A member may also use an online membership account to:

(1) Provide an e-mail address for disclosure to the public on the State Bar Web site; and

(2) Provide additional information as authorized by statute, rule or Supreme Court directive, or as requested by the State Bar.

(c) Exclusions

Unless otherwise permitted by law or the Supreme Court, the State Bar may not use e-mail as substitute means of providing a notice required to initiate a State Bar disciplinary or regulatory proceeding or to otherwise change a member's status involuntarily.

(d) Exemption

A member who does not have online access or an e-mail address may claim an exemption from the reporting requirements of this rule. The exemption must be requested in the manner prescribed by the State Bar.

3. The Process for Emergency Stays

Parties are occasionally confronted with emergency situations that require a stay of action until a hearing can be scheduled to determine how to proceed. The Regulation on point is 8 CCR §10281, but it should be used sparingly and only when no other remedy is available. Regulation §10281 provides as follows:

§10281. Emergency Petitions for Stay.

(a) A party may present to the presiding workers’ compensation administrative law judge of the district office having venue a petition to stay an action by another party pending a hearing.

(b) Each district office will have a designee of the presiding workers’ compensation administrative law judge available to assign petitions for stay from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on court days.

(c) A party who walks through a petition to stay an action shall provide notice to the opposing party or parties no later than 10:00 a.m. of the immediately preceding court day. This notice shall: (1) state with specificity the nature of the relief to be requested by the petition to stay; and (2) state the date, time, and place that the petition to stay will be presented. A copy of the petition to stay shall be attached to the notice. The notice shall be given by either fax or e-mail. If notice by fax or e-mail fails, or if an opposing party’s fax number or e-mail address are unknown, notice shall be given in the manner best calculated to expeditiously and timely advise the opposing party of the information set forth in subdivisions (c)(1) and (c)(2), including notice by phone or by overnight mail or delivery service. First-class mail shall not be utilized for notice of a petition to stay an action.

(d) A petition to stay an action shall be accompanied by a declaration regarding notice stating under penalty of perjury: (1) the notice given, including the date, time, manner, and name of the party informed; (2) the relief sought; and (3) whether opposition is expected. In addition, if the petitioner was unable to give timely notice to the opposing party, the declaration under penalty of perjury also shall state that the petitioner in good faith attempted to inform the opposing party but was unable to do so, specifying the efforts made to inform the opposing party.

(e) Upon the receipt of a proper petition to stay an action, the presiding workers' compensation or his or her designee shall, in his or her discretion, either: (1) deny the petition; (2) grant a temporary stay and set the petition for a formal hearing; or (3) set the petition for a formal hearing, without either denying the petition or granting a temporary stay.

This blog has been approved by the California Division of Workers' Compensation.

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