Determination of Medical Issues; Information that can be provided to Medical Evaluator
(a) Any party may provide to the qualified medical evaluator selected from a panel any of the following information:
(1) Records prepared or maintained by the employee's treating physician or physicians.
(2) Medical and nonmedical records relevant to determination of the medical issue.
(b) Information that a party proposes to provide to the qualified medical evaluator selected from a panel shall be served on the opposing party 20 days before the information is provided to the evaluator. If the opposing party objects to consideration of nonmedical records within 10 days thereafter, the records shall not be provided to the evaluator. Either party may use discovery to establish the accuracy or authenticity of nonmedical records prior to the evaluation.
(c) If an agreed medical evaluator is selected, as part of their agreement on an evaluator, the parties shall agree on what information is to be provided to the agreed medical evaluator.
(d) In any formal medical evaluation, the agreed or qualified medical evaluator shall identify the following:
(1) All information received from the parties.
(2) All information reviewed in preparation of the report.
(3) All information relied upon in the formulation of his or her opinion.
(e) All communications with a qualified medical evaluator selected from a panel before a medical evaluation shall be in writing and shall be served on the opposing party 20 days in advance of the evaluation. Any subsequent communication with the medical evaluator shall be in writing and shall be served on the opposing party when sent to the medical evaluator.
(f) Communications with an agreed medical evaluator shall be in writing, and shall be served on the opposing party when sent to the agreed medical evaluator. Oral or written communications with physician staff or, as applicable, with the agreed medical evaluator, relative to nonsubstantial matters such as the scheduling of appointments, missed appointments, the furnishing of records and reports, and the availability of the report, do not constitute ex parte communication in violation of this section unless the appeals board has made a specific finding of an impermissible ex parte communication.
(g) Ex parte communication with an agreed medical evaluator or a qualified medical evaluator selected from a panel is prohibited. If a party communicates with the agreed medical evaluator or the qualified medical evaluator in violation of subdivision (e), the aggrieved party may elect to terminate the medical evaluation and seek a new evaluation from another qualified medical evaluator to be selected according to Section 4062.1 or 4062.2, as applicable, or proceed with the initial evaluation.
(h) The party making the communication prohibited by this section shall be subject to being charged with contempt before the appeals board and shall be liable for the costs incurred by the aggrieved party as a result of the prohibited communication, including the cost of the medical evaluation, additional discovery costs, and attorney' s fees for related discovery.
(i) Subdivisions (e) and (g) shall not apply to oral or written communications by the employee or, if the employee is deceased, the employee's dependent, in the course of the examination or at the request of the evaluator in connection with the examination.
(j) Upon completing a determination of the disputed medical issue, the medical evaluator shall summarize the medical findings on a form prescribed by the administrative director and shall serve the formal medical evaluation and the summary form on the employee and the employer. The medical evaluation shall address all contested medical issues arising from all injuries reported on one or more claim forms prior to the date of the employee's initial appointment with the medical evaluator.
(k) If, after a medical evaluation is prepared, the employer or the employee subsequently objects to any new medical issue, the parties, to the extent possible, shall utilize the same medical evaluator who prepared the previous evaluation to resolve the medical dispute.
(l) No disputed medical issue specified in subdivision (a) may be the subject of declaration of readiness to proceed unless there has first been an evaluation by the treating physician or an agreed or qualified medical evaluator.
(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 363, Sec. 30.)