The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) does not have to reveal the name of the Independent Medical Reviewer
- Posted By: Harvey Brown
- February 1, 2018
This is an appellate decision
This is a very significant case for workers’ compensation principles.
The applicant had a work related injury that resulted in several surgical procedures. The applicant saw a pain-management specialist who prescribed a pharmaceutical regimen. Five of the prescriptions were approved and four were denied.
The applicant appealed the decision through the Independent Medical Review (IMR) process. IMR organization approved one of the four prescriptions and rejected the other three.
The applicant appealed and a Workers” Compensation Judge (WCJ) reversed the IMR decision and sent it back to the organization for review by a different reviewer.
While it was up for second review the applicant asked the Board to reveal the identity of the first and second reviewer. Before the hearing, the second reviewer issued an opinion.
A hearing was held to reveal the names of the reviewers. The WCJ denied the request to reveal the names based on section 4610.6, subdivision (f). On petition for reconsideration the WCAB agreed with the WCJ and denied the request to reveal the names of the reviewers.
The appellate court reviewed the confidentiality provision of section 4610.6, subdivision (f). The confidentiality section ensures that reviewers are independent and unbiased. This section prevents the Board from revealing the names and does not violate due process.
Case: Zuniga v. WCAB (Interactive Trucking )