(a) A medical provider network shall file a written continuity of care policy with the administrative director.
(b) If approved by the administrative director, the provisions of the written continuity of care policy shall replace all prior continuity of care policies. A medical provider network shall file a revision of the continuity of care policy with the administrative director if it makes a material change to the policy.
(c) The medical provider network shall provide all employees entering the workers’ compensation system notice of the medical provider network’s written continuity of care policy and information regarding the process for an employee to request a review under the policy and, upon request, a copy of the medical provider network’s written continuity of care policy.
(d) (1) At the request of an injured employee, completion of treatment shall be provided by a terminated provider as set forth in this section.
(2) The completion of treatment shall be provided by a terminated provider to an injured employee who, at the time of the contract’s termination, was receiving services from that provider for one of the conditions described in paragraph (3).
(3) The employer or its claims administrator shall provide for the completion of treatment for the following conditions subject to coverage through the workers’ compensation system:
(A) An acute condition. An acute condition is a medical condition that involves a sudden onset of symptoms due to an illness, injury, or other medical problem that requires prompt medical attention and that has a limited duration. Completion of treatment shall be provided for the duration of the acute condition.
(B) A serious chronic condition. A serious chronic condition is a medical condition due to a disease, illness, or other medical problem or medical disorder that is serious in nature and that persists without full cure or worsens over an extended period of time or requires ongoing treatment to maintain remission or prevent deterioration. Completion of treatment shall be provided for a period of time necessary to complete a course of treatment and to arrange for a safe transfer to another provider, as determined by the employer or its claims administrator in consultation with the injured employee and the terminated provider and consistent with good professional practice. Completion of treatment under this paragraph shall not exceed 12 months from the contract termination date.
(C) A terminal illness. A terminal illness is an incurable or irreversible condition that has a high probability of causing death within one year or less. Completion of treatment shall be provided for the duration of a terminal illness.
(D) Performance of a surgery or other procedure that is authorized by the employer or its claims administrator as part of a documented course of treatment and has been recommended and documented by the provider to occur within 180 days of the contract’s termination date.
(4) (A) The employer or its claims administrator may require the terminated provider whose services are continued beyond the contract termination date pursuant to this section to agree in writing to be subject to the same contractual terms and conditions that were imposed upon the provider prior to termination. If the terminated provider does not agree to comply or does not comply with these contractual terms and conditions, the employer or its claims administrator is not required to continue the provider’s services beyond the contract termination date.
(B) Unless otherwise agreed by the terminated provider and the employer or its claims administrator, the services rendered pursuant to this section shall be compensated at rates and methods of payment similar to those used by the medical provider network for currently contracting providers providing similar services who are practicing in the same or a similar geographic area as the terminated provider. The employer or its claims administrator is not required to continue the services of a terminated provider if the provider does not accept the payment rates provided for in this paragraph.
(5) An employer or its claims administrator shall ensure that the requirements of this section are met.
(6) This section shall not require an employer or its claims administrator to provide for completion of treatment by a provider whose contract with the medical provider network has been terminated or not renewed for reasons relating to a medical disciplinary cause or reason, as defined in paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 805 of the Business and Professions Code, or fraud or other criminal activity.
(7) Nothing in this section shall preclude an employer or its claims administrator from providing continuity of care beyond the requirements of this section.
(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 542, Sec. 2. (SB 542) Effective January 1, 2016.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018