The Evolution of Liens

by David F. Mahjoubi (October 10, 2017)

When I started working in workers’ compensation I was a hearing representative traveling throughout the State to every Board as a lien claimant. There were far fewer liens in Northern California. It was not uncommon to see just one or two liens associated with a claim. At the same time, in Southern California there were to be a ridiculous number of liens associated with every claim. It seemed the more frivolous the claim (e.g. post term denied with a $5,000 C&R), the more liens there were.

Most sections of SB 899 became effective on April 19, 2004

In an attempt to bring Southern California more in line with Northern California, the legislature has increasingly made it more difficult for suspect liens to be paid. This started with SB 899 in 2004 which repealed the PTP’s presumption. “Reasonable treatment” based on guidelines adopted by the Administrative Director and ACOEM implemented the 24 visit cap rule, Medical Provider Networks and instituted the Lien Filing Fee.

However, SB 899 didn’t go far enough. Providers continued to game the system resulting in more creative treatments such as Positional MRI’s, Compound Medications, “by report (BR)” charges for reports generated in boilerplate analytics; studies and treatment for sexual dysfunction and sleep deprivation. The list goes on.