Report 2019-102 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2019-102: Department of Industrial Relations: Its Failure to Adequately Administer the Qualified Medical Evaluator Process May Delay Injured Workers' Access to Benefits (Release Date: November 2019)

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Recommendations to Industrial Relations, Department of
Number Recommendation Status
3

To ensure that DWC appoints enough QMEs to keep up with the demand for QME services, it should, by April 2020, develop and implement a plan to increase the number of QMEs commensurate with demand. The plan should describe how DWC will actively recruit for and increase the pool of QMEs, prioritizing specialties with the greatest shortages relative to demand. It should also use QME data trends to project the necessary QME supply to meet demand. The plan should include continuing negotiation with medical groups to allow their physicians to become QMEs, as well as establishing goals for recruiting new QMEs in specific specialties.

4

To ensure consistency and transparency in overseeing QMEs, DWC should, by April 2020, develop and implement written policies and procedures that define and specify its internal processes for disciplining QMEs, including timelines for taking disciplinary action and for scheduling hearings or responding to settlement proposals.

5

To ensure consistency and transparency in overseeing QMEs, DWC should, by April 2020, develop and implement written policies and procedures that define its internal process for reappointing QMEs and how that process should proceed if any disciplinary investigations are pending.

6

To ensure that DWC monitors and reviews QME report quality and timeliness and to ensure the efficient resolution of workers' compensation claims, DWC should, by April 2020, create and implement a plan to continuously review the quality and timeliness of QME reports, including time frames for review, methodology for selecting reports to review, and the minimum number of reports to be reviewed annually.

7

To ensure that DWC monitors and reviews QME report quality and timeliness and to ensure the efficient resolution of workers' compensation claims, DWC should, by April 2020, develop and implement a process for annually reporting to DWC's administrative director its findings on the quality and timeliness of QME reports and recommended improvements to the QME system.

8

To ensure that DWC monitors and reviews QME report quality and timeliness and to ensure the efficient resolution of workers' compensation claims, DWC should, by April 2020, create written policies and implement a consistent process for ensuring that workers' compensation judges and the Appeals Board inform DWC of QME reports they rejected for not meeting minimum standards.

9

To ensure that DWC monitors and reviews QME report quality and timeliness and to ensure the efficient resolution of workers' compensation claims, DWC should, by April 2020, create written policies and implement a process for tracking QME reports rejected by workers' compensation judges and the Appeals Board for not meeting minimum standards. DWC should consider and include these reports in its annual review of report quality and recommend improvements to the QME system.

Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status
1

To ensure that DWC maintains a sufficient supply of QMEs and appropriately compensates these individuals, the Legislature should amend state law to specify that DWC review and, if necessary, update the medical-legal fee schedule at least every two years based on inflation. DWC's review of the medical-legal fee schedule should be separate from its review of the Official Medical Fee Schedule.

2

To reduce the delays that replacement panels cause in resolving workers' compensation claims, the Legislature should revise state law to increase the number of QMEs on the panels DWC provides. Specifically, unrepresented employees should continue to choose from a panel of three QMEs, and represented employees should be provided with a panel of five QMEs, of whom the employee and the employer can each strike one, leaving both parties with the same number of QMEs to choose from as unrepresented employees. The party—the worker or the employer—that did not request the panel would select the final QME. If the selected QME is unavailable, the parties would then select from among the two remaining QMEs until they find one that is available.



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