According to reporting from Business Insurance, a proposed workers’ compensation reform bill in California would put a new obligation on employers: The duty to cover the professional services of a licensed social worker when deemed necessary to help an employee recover from the after effects of an on-the-job injury. In this blog post, our Sacramento workers’ compensation defense lawyers explain the key things to know about the proposed California workers’ compensation reform.

An Overview of the Legislation: Senate Bill 1002 and Assembly Bill 399

The proposed legislation in question is related to two bills that are making progress in the California legislature: Senate Bill 1002 (SB 1002) and Assembly Bill 399 (AB 399). Both bills were passed unanimously in their respective chambers. They now need to be reconciled before they can become law in California. The language in SB 1002 is key. It states that licensed clinical social workers should be allowed to join workers’ compensation medical provider networks in California.  

The Bill Would Allow Social Worker Services as Covered Medical Care

If it becomes law in California, SB 1002 will allow injured workers to seek professional services from licensed clinical social workers as part of their medical care. To be clear, the proposed legislation would not guarantee every worker access to a licensed social worker as part of their workers’ compensation benefits. It would be an option that is available similar to how other medical services are available under workers’ compensation insurance. It would be covered if deemed reasonable and necessary for an injured worker to recover from their injury, illness, or impairment.

Why are California Lawmakers Considering Adding Social Worker Services?

In the legislation, it is stated that it is the intent of the legislature to provide the professional services of a licensed clinical social worker to do the following:

  • Evaluate mental health and behavioral impairments;
  • Treat mental health and behavioral impairments; and
  • Provide additional support to affected workers.

In other words, the professional care of a licensed clinical social worker would be another form of mental health and emotional health services available through workers’ compensation coverage.

The Bill Still Needs to Be Signed into Law

SB 1002 and AB 399 have made significant progress in Sacramento. That being said, neither bill has been signed into law as of yet. Our workers’ compensation defense law firm will keep a close eye on this proposed reform bill and all other legal and legislative developments that could impact the interests of our clients.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Workers’ Defense Attorney in Sacramento, CA

At Yrulegui & Roberts, our California work injury defense lawyers have the professional experience and legal expertise that you can rely on for guidance with a workers’ compensation claim. Contact us now to set up a fully confidential initial consultation with an experienced attorney. From our office in Sacramento, we provide workers’ compensation defense representation all over the Sacramento Valley.