What is 14 by 14?
"14 by 14" has been a project of the Workers' Compensation Action Network to support the full adoption of legislative reforms to California's workers' compensation system. On September 18, 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 863 (De Leon), an employer-labor supported plan to alter California's system for delivering medical treatment and cash benefits to workers who are injured on the job. This legislation provides for a significant increase in injured worker benefits ($1.2 billion), paid for by system changes designed to improve system efficiency, reduce conflict and litigation, and stem abuses by service providers.
Together, these changes are designed to deliver higher benefits to California workers while addressing increasing employer costs, which have made California the most expensive state in the country for workers' compensation.
Read WCAN's SB 863 fact sheet.
About 14 by 14
Enactment of SB 863 was an important start, but much of the legislation required state regulators to issue new rules before the reforms could take effect - especially reforms designed to stem increasing costs. Interests who prefer - or profit from - the costly, inefficient status quo in California's workers' compensation system have opposed many of these implementation efforts and filed lawsuits to halt them through the courts.
The "14 by 14" campaign identified 14 key reform areas that needed to be adopted and put into action by January 1, 2014 to ensure the balance of higher benefits and offsetting cost reductions was achieved. To support this effort WCAN has:
How are the reforms performing?
The most recent assessment of the reforms by California's Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau found that the reforms (in total) are performing consistent with early cost estimates. Individual reforms provisions, however, are providing mixed results. Some components of the reforms (lien fees) have reduced costs more than expected, many are performing as predicted, but some have increased costs more than expected. Particularly troubling is the lack of projected cost savings due to the new Independent Medical Review process, which was estimated to generate nearly $400 million in cost reductions. If IMR and other reform provisions fail to generate cost reductions sufficient to pay for the benefit increase in SB 863, the bill could further increase costs for employers already struggling with California's workers' compensation costs, which are the highest in the nation.
Since the job is not yet complete, WCAN will continue to support the full adoption of the reforms in SB 863 to ensure these reforms have their intended impact on worker benefits and system costs.
To support efforts by the Division of Workers' Compensation to fully implement SB 863, please click here.
"We want to get this done so its effect is immediate. We can't realize the savings promised unless it's done quickly."
- Marty Morgenstern, former Secretary, Labor and Workforce Development Agency on Senate Bill 863