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May 19, 2020
California Division of Workers’ Compensation Emergency Rulemaking Regulations for Medical-Legal Reporting in Response to COVID-19 are in Effect

May 12, 2020
California Division of Workers’ Compensation Posts Additional Adjustments to Official Medical Fee Schedule Including Expansion of Telehealth to Address COVID-19 Emergency (Physician and Non-Physician Practitioner Services)

May 11, 2020
California Division of Workers’ Compensation Update on Proposed Emergency QME Regulations: Comments Accepted through Tuesday, May 12

May 6, 2020
California Division of Workers’ Compensation Posts Additional Adjustment to Official Medical Fee Schedule (DMEPOS) to Adopt Medicare Fee Schedule Increase Required by the CARES Act

Furloughs and Lay-Offs Strike Claims Professionals as Claims Volumes Decrease
By Lonce Lamonte - May 21, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has been brutal in most sectors of the economy.  Businesses are presently operating so slowly they have been pushed into reducing staff levels.  

Employees that do remain employed are afraid of being laid-off.  Many fear filing workers’ compensation claims for legitimate job-related injuries.   Due to these conditions, claims volumes have fallen in the past three months in a dramatic fashion.

There were nationwide furloughs at third-party-administrator (TPA) Sedgwick CMS at the beginning of May.  Sedgwick cited the economic slow-down and claims-drops in their emails.  Two employees were let go from the Brea, California, office and 10 from the Rancho Cucamonga, California office. 

There were lay-offs or furloughs at TPA Gallagher Bassett on or about May 1st.  Five claims professionals were let go in the GB Orange, California office.  These cuts at Gallagher were deep and some claims professionals cut were claims supervisors.  Some refused to sign waivers and, thus, said good-bye to increased severance packages. 

On Tuesday, May 19th, AmTrust announced they had seen a reduction in both new cases and pending inventories.  The business need arose to significantly alter the staffing levels and a portion of the staff was furloughed.   Two staff members were furloughed in Irvine and most of the staff in Covina.  Affected staff members must take many unpaid weeks during this difficult transition period until claims volumes rebound.  AmTrust will continue to pay furloughed employees’ benefits coverage. 

AIG and Keenan & Associates also conducted furlough sweeps.  The dates are unknown. 

This information was reported by a claims professional requesting not to be named.

Paralegals and legal assistants throughout the state working for diverse applicants’ attorneys have been furloughed on account of the WCAB having limited availability and claim volume drop off. Instead of rushing to the Board, applicants’ attorneys are doing the work of their paralegals (from home).

According to the same anonymous claims professional witness, the defense attorneys appear the most unscathed. They are able to fill required billable monthly hours.  A by-product is that they seem to now know their files a lot better than before.  However, some like Hanna & Brophy have discontinued the use of contract attorneys. 

More furloughs could happen in the months ahead if the volume of injuries keeps dropping. 

Lonce Lamonte, journalist, adjustercom.  Copyright by Lonce Lamonte, all rights reserved.  



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