Sec. 31-298a. Use of medical panel. Duties of commissioner and panel. Appeal. Regulations. (a) A medical panel shall be established for use in solving controverted medical issues in claims for workers’ compensation due to occupational lung disease. The American College of Chest Physicians shall submit to the chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission by October 10, 1981, and annually thereafter a list of five to ten physicians who are expert in the diagnosis, care and treatment of occupational lung disease for membership in the panel. In the event that no such list is submitted, the chairman shall appoint to the panel five to ten licensed physicians who are expert in the diagnosis, care and treatment of such diseases.
(b) In each occupational lung disease claim for workers’ compensation where there are controverted medical issues, the commissioner hearing the case may choose three members of the medical panel for assistance in the case. The commissioner shall submit, at his discretion and within thirty days after choosing said panel, interrogatories concerning the controverted medical issues to such three-member panel, along with whatever evidence and materials the commissioner deems necessary for their consideration. The three-member panel may examine the employee, who shall submit to any examination such panel may require. Within sixty days of the submission of such interrogatories to it, the three-member panel shall file with the commissioner its answers, report and findings on all such medical issues, along with any records generated from its work in the case. The answers to the interrogatories and the contents of the report shall be determined by majority vote of the three panel members.
(c) The answers to the interrogatories, report, findings and records of the three-member panel shall become part of the record of the hearing before the commissioner. In making his decision in such a case, the commissioner shall conform his decision or award to the findings of such panel as to medical issues. Either party may appeal the decision of the commissioner to the Compensation Review Board according to the provisions of section 31-301.
(d) The chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 to establish a fee schedule for the payment of medical panel members. Sufficient funding for the payment of such fees shall be supplied from the administrative costs fund, as provided in section 31-345.
(P.A. 81-392, S. 1-4; P.A. 91-339, S. 18, 55.)
History: P.A. 91-339 changed “compensation review division” to “compensation review board” in Subsec. (c) and changed “workers’ compensation commissioners” to “the chairman of the workers’ compensation commission” in Subsec. (d).