Article 2.5. Medical-legal Expenses of California Labor Code >> Division 4. >> Part 2. >> Chapter 2. >> Article 2.5.
(a) For purposes of this article, a medical-legal expense
means any costs and expenses incurred by or on behalf of any party,
the administrative director, or the board, which expenses may include
X-rays, laboratory fees, other diagnostic tests, medical reports,
medical records, medical testimony, and, as needed, interpreter's
fees by a certified interpreter pursuant to Article 8 (commencing
with Section 11435.05) of Chapter 4.5 of Part 1 of Division 3 of
Title 2 of, or Section 68566 of, the Government Code, for the purpose
of proving or disproving a contested claim.
(b) A contested claim exists when the employer knows or reasonably
should know that the employee is claiming entitlement to any benefit
arising out of a claimed industrial injury and one of the following
(1) The employer rejects liability for a claimed benefit.
(2) The employer fails to accept liability for benefits after the
expiration of a reasonable period of time within which to decide if
it will contest the claim.
(3) The employer fails to respond to a demand for payment of
benefits after the expiration of any time period fixed by statute for
the payment of indemnity.
(c) Costs of medical evaluations, diagnostic tests, and
interpreters incidental to the production of a medical report do not
constitute medical-legal expenses unless the medical report is
capable of proving or disproving a disputed medical fact, the
determination of which is essential to an adjudication of the
employee's claim for benefits. In determining whether a report meets
the requirements of this subdivision, a judge shall give full
consideration to the substance as well as the form of the report, as
required by applicable statutes and regulations.
(d) If the injured employee cannot effectively communicate with an
examining physician because he or she cannot proficiently speak or
understand the English language, the injured employee is entitled to
the services of a qualified interpreter during the medical
examination. Upon request of the injured employee, the employer or
insurance carrier shall pay the costs of the interpreter services, as
set forth in the fee schedule adopted by the administrative director
pursuant to Section 5811. An employer shall not be required to pay
for the services of an interpreter who is provisionally certified
unless either the employer consents in advance to the selection of
the individual who provides the interpreting service or the injured
worker requires interpreting service in a language other than the
languages designated pursuant to Section 11435.40 of the Government
(a) In accordance with the rules of practice and procedure of
the appeals board, the employee, or the dependents of a deceased
employee, shall be reimbursed for his or her medical-legal expenses
and reasonably, actually, and necessarily incurred, except as
provided in Section 4064. The reasonableness of, and necessity for,
incurring these expenses shall be determined with respect to the time
when the expenses were actually incurred. Costs for medical
evaluations, diagnostic tests, and interpreters' services incidental
to the production of a medical report shall not be incurred earlier
than the date of receipt by the employer, the employer's insurance
carrier, or, if represented, the attorney of record, of all reports
and documents required by the administrative director incidental to
the services. This subdivision is not applicable unless there has
been compliance with Section 4620.
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c) and Sections 4061 and
4062, no comprehensive medical-legal evaluations, except those at the
request of an employer, shall be performed during the first 60 days
after the notice of claim has been filed pursuant to Section 5401,
and neither the employer nor the employee shall be liable for any
expenses incurred for comprehensive medical-legal evaluations
performed within the first 60 days after the notice of claim has been
filed pursuant to Section 5401.
(c) Comprehensive medical-legal evaluations may be performed at
any time after the claim form has been filed pursuant to Section 5401
if the employer has rejected the claim.
(d) Where, at the request of the employer, the employer's
insurance carrier, the administrative director, the appeals board, or
a referee, the employee submits to examination by a physician, he or
she shall be entitled to receive, in addition to all other benefits
herein provided, all reasonable expenses of transportation, meals,
and lodging incident to reporting for the examination to the same
extent and manner as provided for in Section 4600.
All medical-legal expenses for which the employer is liable
shall, upon receipt by the employer of all reports and documents
required by the administrative director incident to the services, be
paid to whom the funds and expenses are due, as follows:
(a) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (b), within 60 days
after receipt by the employer of each separate, written billing and
report, and if payment is not made within this period, that portion
of the billed sum then unreasonably unpaid shall be increased by 10
percent, together with interest thereon at the rate of 7 percent per
annum retroactive to the date of receipt of the bill and report by
the employer. If the employer, within the 60-day period, contests the
reasonableness and necessity for incurring the fees, services, and
expenses using the explanation of review required by Section 4603.3,
payment shall be made within 20 days of the service of an order of
the appeals board or the administrative director pursuant to Section
4603.6 directing payment.
(2) The penalty provided for in paragraph (1) shall not apply if
both of the following occur:
(A) The employer pays the provider that portion of his or her
charges that do not exceed the amount deemed reasonable pursuant to
subdivision (e) within 60 days of receipt of the report and itemized
(B) The employer prevails.
(b) (1) If the provider contests the amount paid, the provider may
request a second review within 90 days of the service of the
explanation of review. The request for a second review shall be
submitted to the employer on a form prescribed by the administrative
director and shall include all of the following:
(A) The date of the explanation of review and the claim number or
other unique identifying number provided on the explanation of
(B) The party or parties requesting the service.
(C) Any item and amount in dispute.
(D) The additional payment requested and the reason therefor.
(E) Any additional information requested in the original
explanation of review and any other information provided in support
of the additional payment requested.
(2) If the provider does not request a second review within 90
days, the bill will be deemed satisfied and neither the employer nor
the employee shall be liable for any further payment.
(3) Within 14 days of the request for second review, the employer
shall respond with a final written determination on each of the items
or amounts in dispute, including whether additional payment will be
(4) If the provider contests the amount paid, after receipt of the
second review, the provider shall request an independent bill review
as provided for in Section 4603.6.
(c) If the employer denies all or a portion of the amount billed
for any reason other than the amount to be paid pursuant to the fee
schedules in effect on the date of service, the provider may object
to the denial within 90 days of the service of the explanation of
review. If the provider does not object to the denial within 90 days,
neither the employer nor the employee shall be liable for the amount
that was denied. If the provider objects to the denial within 90
days of the service of the explanation of review, the employer shall
file a petition and a declaration of readiness to proceed with the
appeals board within 60 days of service of the objection. If the
employer prevails before the appeals board, the appeals board shall
order the physician to reimburse the employer for the amount of the
paid charges found to be unreasonable.
(d) If requested by the employee, or the dependents of a deceased
employee, within 20 days from the filing of an order of the appeals
board directing payment, and where payment is not made within that
period, that portion of the billed sum then unpaid shall be increased
by 10 percent, together with interest thereon at the rate of 7
percent per annum retroactive to the date of the filing of the order
of the board directing payment.
(e) (1) Using the explanation of review as described in Section
4603.3, the employer shall notify the provider of the services, the
employee, or if represented, his or her attorney, if the employer
contests the reasonableness or necessity of incurring these expenses,
and shall indicate the reasons therefor.
(2) The appeals board shall promulgate all necessary and
reasonable rules and regulations to insure compliance with this
section, and shall take such further steps as may be necessary to
guarantee that the rules and regulations are enforced.
(3) The provisions of Sections 5800 and 5814 shall not apply to
(f) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to create
a rebuttable presumption of entitlement to payment of an expense
upon receipt by the employer of the required reports and documents.
This section is not applicable unless there has been compliance with
Sections 4620 and 4621.
(a) Notwithstanding subdivision (d) of Section 4628, all
charges for medical-legal expenses for which the employer is liable
that are not in excess of those set forth in the official
medical-legal fee schedule adopted pursuant to Section 5307.6 shall
be paid promptly pursuant to Section 4622.
(b) If the employer contests the reasonableness of the charges it
has paid, the employer may file a petition with the appeals board to
obtain reimbursement of the charges from the physician that are
considered to be unreasonable.
All charges for X-rays, laboratory services, and other
diagnostic tests provided in connection with an industrial
medical-legal evaluation shall be billed in accordance with the
official medical fee schedule adopted by the administrative director
pursuant to Section 5307.1 and shall be itemized separately in
accordance with rules promulgated by the administrative director.
The board and the administrative director may promulgate such
reasonable rules and regulations as may be necessary to interpret
this article and compel compliance with its provisions.
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), no person, other
than the physician who signs the medical-legal report, except a nurse
performing those functions routinely performed by a nurse, such as
taking blood pressure, shall examine the injured employee or
participate in the nonclerical preparation of the report, including
all of the following:
(1) Taking a complete history.
(2) Reviewing and summarizing prior medical records.
(3) Composing and drafting the conclusions of the report.
(b) The report shall disclose the date when and location where the
evaluation was performed; that the physician or physicians signing
the report actually performed the evaluation; whether the evaluation
performed and the time spent performing the evaluation was in
compliance with the guidelines established by the administrative
director pursuant to paragraph (5) of subdivision (j) of Section
139.2 or Section 5307.6 and shall disclose the name and
qualifications of each person who performed any services in
connection with the report, including diagnostic studies, other than
its clerical preparation. If the report discloses that the evaluation
performed or the time spent performing the evaluation was not in
compliance with the guidelines established by the administrative
director, the report shall explain, in detail, any variance and the
reason or reasons therefor.
(c) If the initial outline of a patient's history or excerpting of
prior medical records is not done by the physician, the physician
shall review the excerpts and the entire outline and shall make
additional inquiries and examinations as are necessary and
appropriate to identify and determine the relevant medical issues.
(d) No amount may be charged in excess of the direct charges for
the physician's professional services and the reasonable costs of
laboratory examinations, diagnostic studies, and other medical tests,
and reasonable costs of clerical expense necessary to producing the
report. Direct charges for the physician's professional services
shall include reasonable overhead expense.
(e) Failure to comply with the requirements of this section shall
make the report inadmissible as evidence and shall eliminate any
liability for payment of any medical-legal expense incurred in
connection with the report.
(f) Knowing failure to comply with the requirements of this
section shall subject the physician to a civil penalty of up to one
thousand dollars ($1,000) for each violation to be assessed by a
workers' compensation judge or the appeals board. All civil penalties
collected under this section shall be deposited in the Workers'
Compensation Administration Revolving Fund.
(g) A physician who is assessed a civil penalty under this section
may be terminated, suspended, or placed on probation as a qualified
medical evaluator pursuant to subdivisions (k) and (l) of Section
(h) Knowing failure to comply with the requirements of this
section shall subject the physician to contempt pursuant to the
judicial powers vested in the appeals board.
(i) Any person billing for medical-legal evaluations, diagnostic
procedures, or diagnostic services performed by persons other than
those employed by the reporting physician or physicians, or a medical
corporation owned by the reporting physician or physicians shall
specify the amount paid or to be paid to those persons for the
evaluations, procedures, or services. This subdivision shall not
apply to any procedure or service defined or valued pursuant to
(j) The report shall contain a declaration by the physician
signing the report, under penalty of perjury, stating:
"I declare under penalty of perjury that the information contained
in this report and its attachments, if any, is true and correct to
the best of my knowledge and belief, except as to information that I
have indicated I received from others. As to that information, I
declare under penalty of perjury that the information accurately
describes the information provided to me and, except as noted herein,
that I believe it to be true."
The foregoing declaration shall be dated and signed by the
reporting physician and shall indicate the county wherein it was
(k) The physician shall provide a curriculum vitae upon request by
a party and include a statement concerning the percent of the
physician's total practice time that is annually devoted to medical