WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., August 3, 2014 - The County of Orange (OCFA) will be launching a new Workers' Compensation ADR program for the firefighters. Adams, Ferrone & Ferrone, representing the Orange County Fire Fighter's Association, negotiated with the OCFA to create a workers’ compensation ADR carve-out for resolving work comp disputes
The Law Offices of Adams, Ferrone & Ferrone today announced that its labor and workers' compensation law firm successfully negotiated with the OCFA to establish a new Worker's Compensation Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process for the 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 ADR program has additional features including nurse-care managers and mediation. The Labor-Management Agreement was submitted for approval by the Administrative Director on July 30, 2104.
Firefighters in OCFA 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 County, which is required to cover 100% of employee salaries during the lengthy dispute. The new ADR process should increase morale, lower costs, increase productivity, dramatically shorten the life of a claim, and resolve disputes faster.