The state has approved amended regulations governing the basic workers’ compensation notice materials that employers must use to inform employees of their rights and obligations under California workers’ compensation law. The revisions affecting the new hire pamphlets, the posting notices that must be displayed at California worksites, and the DWC-1 claim form/Notice of Potential Eligibility (NOPE) were included along with new Medical Provider Network (MPN) notice requirements, all of which take effect October 8 — 60 days after they were filed with the Secretary of State. Employers should continue to use current versions of the new hire pamphlets, posting notices and claim forms until October 8, at which point those materials should be disposed of and replaced with updated versions.
Insured and self-insured employers are subject to the posting notice and pamphlet requirements, and failure to provide current information to employees can lead to loss of medical control [LC §3550 (e)], civil penalties of up to $7,000 for each violation of the posting requirement [LC §6431] and the tolling of the statute of limitations for filing claims. State law allows private entities to prepare and publish the posting notice or pamphlets if they are approved in advance by the DWC, and for many years, insurers, employers and others have depended on CWCI to produce these materials and keep them current. The latest amendments to the notice regulations require additional information on MPNs, eliminate references to vocational rehabilitation (which is no longer available), revise the state’s website references and make other changes intended to streamline the forms.
Because of the short time frame for implementation, the community must gear up quickly, so following the approval of the regulations last week, the Institute updated its pamphlets and posting notices to reflect the latest changes and submitted the revised drafts to the DWC for approval. Once the state approves those drafts, CWCI will translate the pamphlets and posting notice into Spanish as required by law, print the materials and distribute them to customers, with shipment expected by mid-September. In the meantime, insurers, employers, TPAs, agents and brokers, and others who wish to order the revised pamphlets, posting notices, and the revised 5-part claim forms may visit the online “Store” at www.cwci.org and place a pre-order. The Institute will also continue to stock the current notices and claim forms that should be used until October 8, and as a service to its customers, has reduced the minimum order requirement so anyone needing a limited supply of these materials to meet their interim needs can order smaller quantities. For further information, call Fran Perry at CWCI (510) 251-9470.