City of Bakersfield Establishes New Workers' Compensation ADR Carve-Out for Police and Fire

The Law Offices of Adams, Ferrone & Ferrone have successfully negotiated with the City of Bakersfield to establish a new Worker’s Compensation Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process for police and firefighters.  The ADR process established a list of Independent Medical Evaluators (IMEs) who have agreed to evaluate the public safety officer within 30 days of a dispute and issue the medical report 30 days later. The goal of the new ADR program is to compress the time in resolving a workers’ compensation dispute to 60 days. The Labor-Management Agreement was approved by the Administrative Director on March 27, 2015.

Public safety officers in Bakersfield have experienced lengthy delays in receiving medical treatment because of the “utilization review” and “independent medical” review (IMR) process required under the current Workers’ Compensation system, which has prolonged medical treatment disputes. As a result, the current system has contributed to increased costs and lost productivity for the City, which is required to cover 100% of employee salaries during the lengthy dispute.

The new ADR process will lower costs, increase productivity, dramatically shorten the life of a claim, and most importantly resolve disputes faster.  AFF first began implementing ADR Workers’ Compensation programs in 2008 with the City of Long Beach.  The results have, and continue to exceed all expectations.  Bakersfield is the latest in a growing number of California municipalities opting for the AFF “Carve-Out” model in order to streamline the Workers’ Compensation process for their members.  

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