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Updates to California's Guidelines for the Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule (MTUS)

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) recently made two important announcements concerning the Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule (MTUS).

First, the DWC announced that medical providers will have free access to evidence-based medical guidelines. The second covers updates to several sections of the MTUS.

Free Online MTUS Access for Providers

In News Release 2019-14, the DWC’s Administrative Director, George Parisotto, released the MTUS guidelines free of charge to California medical providers. The stated rationale was to reduce friction in the utilization review process and improve the quality of care. This move effectively consolidates all sources for the MTUS in one place and increases access to the most current evidence-based guidelines.

Providers can sign up for free access by following this link.

Previously, providers needed to obtain a copy of the American College of Occupational and Emergency Medicine (ACOEM) guidelines and cross-reference the relevant MTUS regulations in the California Code of Regulations (8 CCR §9792.20-9792.27.23).

MTUS Updates

The latest round of updates to the MTUS, announced in Newsline 2019-24, correspond to recent updates in ACOEM’s treatment guidelines and will replace any preceding editions. The new guidelines will go into effect on April 18, 2019. The sections of MTUS that will be updated are:

  1. Ankle and Foot Disorders Guideline (ACOEM July 16, 2018)
  2. Cervical and Thoracic Spine Disorders Guideline (ACOEM October 17, 2018)
  3. Elbow Disorders Guideline (ACOEM August 23, 2018)
  4. Hand, Wrist, and Forearm Disorders Guideline (ACOEM January 7, 2019)
  5. Workplace Mental Health: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder Guideline (ACOEM December 18, 2018)

Be sure to sign up for free access to the MTUS guidelines and familiarize yourself with the new updates. The MTUS will give you clues as to what procedures are likely to be authorized without significant hassle as well as provide information about which treatments or procedures should be attempted first.

Also, those interested should attend the DWC public hearing on Monday, May 6, on the proposed evidence-based updates for the following:

  • Low Back Disorders Guideline (ACOEM March 7, 2019)
  • Introduction to the Workplace Mental Health Guideline (ACOEM March 13, 2019)

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