Recent hearing portends impending changes to California workers comp system


By Stephen M. Pfeiffer, PhD

Last month, the California Assembly conducted a hearing regarding proposed overhauls to the state’s workers compensation system. According to the

Sacramento Bee, critics of current

California workers comp

regulations proposed modifications including greater compensation for disabled workers, less rigid control over medical care and improved security for insurers. Such changes would alter provisions of the system’s 2004 overhaul, during which former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger enforced cost-cutting measures that reduced expenses for employers. However, some contend that workers and insurers suffered unfairly as a result of these changes– both financially and, in the case of some disabled employees, physically and emotionally – and that more spending is needed to ensure adequate care.

In the midst of statewide economic troubles, many employers resist the notion of increased expenses on behalf of workers compensation. Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown -- who is no stranger to California’s ongoing push for change to the workers comp system – may side with employers this time around despite past efforts to raise worker benefits at their expense. According to experienced lobbyist Carl Brakensiek, who works on behalf of work comp medical providers, lawmakers will need to work together to reach a fair compromise. In working to reform unfair aspects of worker’s compensation legislation, however, it is important for all concerned to take the full spectrum of care and security into consideration – and to balance the needs of both injured workers and employers when altering compensation laws.

Expert assessment and fair treatment: the role of a Qualified Medical Evaluator in workers comp cases

Workers compensation cases present a challenge for everyone involved, from lawmakers seeking to regulate the system to the employers, injured parties, doctors, lawyers and jurors involved in deciding each individual worker’s fate. With so much at stake and so much room for error, it is important for a Qualified Medical Evaluator to assess tough cases and offer an informed and unbiased opinion to ensure the fairest possible treatment for all concerned.

As an effective

Qualified Medical Evaluator

with experience in forensic psychology, I can provide knowledge and apply data to the tricky equation of both protecting injured workers’ medical needs and guaranteeing that the system does not unfairly burden employers with unfounded medical costs. To learn more about my services or to schedule a consultation, contact me via email at

or visit my website: