Spinal Surgery Requests Pre-1/1/13 Dates of Injury and the SB 863 Gap

by Timothy W. Rose, Esq.
In an attempt to simplify the ever-confusing Workers’ Compensation world in the great State of California, our legislative branch drafted SB 863 in 2012.  With the stroke of his pen, Governor Brown enacted sweeping legislation, with effective and varying start dates for various provisions of the new law.  However, with varying start dates comes confusion regarding various provisions.  A spinal surgery request is one of the areas which appears to have a problem with the implementation date of 7/1/13.

Effective 1/1/13, provisions under Labor Code § 4062(b) pertaining to the spinal surgery second opinion process have been eliminated from the Labor Code.  Overall, this is a positive result for the Defendant from SB 863.  The new independent medical review (IMR) process kicks in on 7/1/13, for dates of injury prior to 1/1/13.  However, a new question has surfaced as a result of this substantial change.  How do we address spinal surgery requests for dates of injury prior to 1/1/13?