Listen to Mark H. Barber's Workers' Compensation radio interview...

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Brad Sham, the “voice of the Dallas Cowboys” has endorsed the Law Offices of Mark H. Barber as highly recommended attorneys:

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Mark Barber's Radio Interview

Mark was featured on the Brad Sham’s legal development radio program speaking on workers’ compensation challenges and solutions. Mr. Sham is also known as the voice of the Dallas Cowboys and is in the Radio Hall of Fame.

This segment aired on KFMB 760 AM talk radio in San Diego on March 23, 2011 during the Sean Hannity program. Listen to Mark’s interview here:

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News Update!

The California Supreme Court on October 10, 2012 granted review of the Court of Appeals decision in Valdez v. Warehouse Demo Services; Zurich North America. The Court of Appeals decision remains citable authority unless and until the Supreme Court issues its decision overturning or modifying the Court of Appeals decision.

The WCAB has filed a brief in support of defendants’ contention that the Court of Appeals decision is incorrect and undermines the system of medical control outlined by the Legislature in enacting the Medical Provider Network (MPN) statutes. We now await the California Supreme Court’s hearing and decision on this important issue.

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CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT DECIDES VALDEZ v. WCAB, WAREHOUSE DEMO SERVICES, ET AL.

On November 14, 2013, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Valdez v. WCAB, affirming the Court of Appeal decision that the medical provider statutes outlined in Article 2.3 of the Labor Code (beginning at Labor Code §4616) does not preclude the admissibility of a  non-Medical Provider Network (MPN) physician reporting on behalf of an injured worker.   

Earlier en banc decisions of the WCAB had held that the allowance of a non-MPN physician’s report into evidence, where an employer offers treatment through a valid MPN, would destroy the effect of Article 2.3 and reward injured workers for seeking medical opinions outside of their employers’ MPNs.  The California Supreme Court disagreed.

A copy of the entire decision is attached.  The Supreme Court noted that the MPN statutes did not preclude an injured worker from soliciting a medical report from a non-MPN doctor, although changes in the Labor Code outlined by Senate Bill 863 provide that non-MPN physicians cannot be “the sole basis of an award of compensation.”  See Labor Code §4605, as amended by SB 863, effective January 1, 2013.
Defendants must expect non-MPN physicians will be utilized by applicants’ attorneys to challenge the conclusions of MPN doctors regarding disability and compensability issues. For treatment and diagnoses disputes, an injured worker should be limited to a report from an MPN doctor. 

Further litigation will be required to clarify the effect of SB 863’s revisions to Labor Code §4605.  For example, what it means to be “the sole basis of an award of compensation” will, no doubt, be further clarified by future cases.

Click here for Valdez Pleading

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News Flash: The Appeals Board's En Banc Decision Renders MPNs More Powerful Than Ever

The en banc decision of  Valdez v. Warehouse Demo Services; Zurich North America (4/20/2011) holds that, where an employer has a validly established and properly noticed Medical Provider Network (MPN), reports from unauthorized, non-MPN doctors “are inadmissible [and] therefore may not be relied upon” by the Appeals Board in awarding any benefits, whatsoever.

While the applicant's attorney reports that the Valdez decision will be appealed, it is currently binding on all Workers' Compensation Administrative Law Judges and panels of WCAB commissioners.  The Valdez decision underscores the importance of defendants having valid, carefully constructed and properly noticed MPNs to help control workers' compensation costs.

To be valid, an employer’s MPN must be properly established and noticed in compliance with Cal. Code of Regulation Title 8 §§9767.1 et seq. and Knight v. United Parcel Service (2006) 71 Cal. Comp. Cases 1423 (en banc).  With a valid MPN, treatment reports from non-MPN doctors are deemed inadmissible for any reason and cannot be relied upon by the Appeals Board to award workers' compensation benefits in the form of either indemnity or medical treatment.

Moreover, defendants are not liable for the cost of applicant’s inadmissible treatment reports from non-MPN physicians.  In Valdez, the matter was remanded to the trial level for a further determination of whether the employer’s MPN was validly established and properly noticed.

This important decision emphasizes the value of a carefully crafted and legally enforceable MPN.  The Valdez decision should reduce litigation and exposure for unauthorized treatment liens. Where unauthorized, non-MPN treatment is presented as a lien against an applicant’s compensation, indemnity benefits may need to be withheld pending resolution of the non-MPN treatment lien.

Should you have any questions regarding the Valdez decision, its impact or any specific advantages available to defendants under this significant new case, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Please see the attached for a copy of the Valdez decision.