The California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) has begun shipping the newly revised DWC-1 claim form/Notice of Potential Eligibility (NOPE), as well as English and Spanish versions of its new hire pamphlet (Facts About Workers’ Compensation) and its workers’ compensation posting notice (If A Work Injury Occurs), which can be used to comply with updated employer notice requirements that take effect in early October.
Last month, the state amended the regulations governing the basic workers’ compensation notice materials that employers must use to inform employees of their rights and obligations under the California workers’ compensation law. The revisions affecting the DWC-1 Claim Form/Notice of Potential Eligibility (NOPE), the new hire pamphlets, and the posting notices that must be displayed at California worksites were included along with new Medical Provider Network (MPN) notice requirements, all of which take effect October 8. Employers should continue to use current versions of the new hire pamphlets, posting notices and claim forms until that date, at which point those materials should be disposed of and replaced with updated versions.
The amended regulations approved last month require more details on MPNs, add information on changing physicians, eliminate references to vocational rehabilitation, revise the state’s website references, update Spanish translations and make other changes intended to streamline the forms. Insured and self-insured employers are subject to the posting notice and pamphlet requirements, and failure to provide employees with current information can lead to severe penalties, including loss of employer medical control, civil penalties of up to $7,000 for each violation of the posting requirement and a tolling of the statute of limitations for filing claims.
State law allows private entities to publish the posting notice or pamphlets if approved by the DWC, so many insurers, employers and others rely on CWCI to produce the materials and keep them up to date. Due to the short time frame for implementing the recent regulations, the community has had to gear up quickly, so as soon as the regulations were adopted last month, CWCI updated its pamphlets and posting notices to comply with the changes and obtained the DWC approvals. CWCI translated its pamphlet and posting notice into Spanish as required, then typeset and reprinted these notices, along with the revised DWC-1/NOPE, which the Institute produced as a 5-part form, with the 2-page NOPE as a cover sheet attached to the required 4 copies of the claim form printed on NCR paper to eliminate the need to photocopy. CWCI now has all of the materials in stock, and on September 3 began shipping the new versions to those who pre-ordered. Anyone who still needs to obtain the updated materials prior to the October 8 effective date, or who needs more information can visit www.cwci.org or call CWCI at (510) 251-9470. The Institute also plans to hold a 1-day seminar on the new notice requirements and other recent regulatory changes next month. Information on the program is also posted on CWCI’s website.