Sec. 31-280. Chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Powers and duties. Budget. Report of expenses. (a) There shall continue to be a chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission selected by the Governor as provided in section 31-276. The chairman may not hear any matter arising under this chapter, except appeals brought before the Compensation Review Board and except as provided in subdivision (14) of subsection (b) of this section. The chairman shall prepare the forms used by the commission, shall have custody of the insurance coverage cards, shall prepare and keep a list of self-insurers, shall prepare the annual report to the Governor and shall publish, when necessary, bulletins showing the changes in the compensation law, with annotations to the Connecticut cases. The chairman shall be provided with sufficient staff to assist him in the performance of his duties. The chairman may, within available appropriations, appoint acting compensation commissioners on a per diem basis from among former workers’ compensation commissioners or qualified members of the bar of this state. Any acting compensation commissioner appointed under this subsection shall be paid on a per diem basis in an amount to be determined by the Commissioner of Administrative Services, subject to the provisions of section 4-40, and shall have all the powers and duties of compensation commissioners. The Workers’ Compensation Commission shall not be construed to be a commission or board subject to the provisions of section 4-9a.
(b) The chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission shall:
(1) Establish workers’ compensation districts and district offices within the state, assign compensation commissioners to the districts to hear all matters arising under this chapter within the districts and may reassign compensation commissioners once each year, except that when there is a vacancy, illness or other emergency, or when unexpected caseload increases require, the chairman may reassign compensation commissioners more than once each year;
(2) Adopt such rules as the chairman, in consultation with the advisory board, deems necessary for the conduct of the internal affairs of the Workers’ Compensation Commission;
(3) Adopt regulations, in consultation with the advisory board and in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to carry out his responsibilities under this chapter;
(4) Prepare and adopt an annual budget and plan of operation in consultation with the advisory board;
(5) Prepare and submit an annual report to the Governor and the General Assembly;
(6) Allocate the resources of the commission to carry out the purposes of this chapter;
(7) Establish an organizational structure and such divisions for the commission, consistent with this chapter, as the chairman deems necessary for the efficient and prompt operation of the commission;
(8) Establish policy for all matters over which the commission has jurisdiction, including rehabilitation, education, statistical support and administrative appeals;
(9) Appoint such supplementary advisory panels as the chairman deems necessary and helpful;
(10) Establish, in consultation with the advisory board, (A) an approved list of practicing physicians, surgeons, podiatrists, optometrists and dentists from which an injured employee shall choose for examination and treatment under the provisions of this chapter, which shall include, but not be limited to, classifications of approved practitioners by specialty, and (B) standards for the approval and removal of physicians, surgeons, podiatrists, optometrists and dentists from the list by the chairman;
(11) (A) Establish standards in consultation with the advisory board for approving all fees for services rendered under this chapter by attorneys, physicians, surgeons, podiatrists, optometrists, dentists and other persons;
(B) In consultation with employers, their insurance carriers, union representatives, physicians and third-party reimbursement organizations establish, not later than October 1, 1993, and publish annually thereafter, a fee schedule setting the fees payable by an employer or its insurance carrier for services rendered under this chapter by an approved physician, surgeon, podiatrist, optometrist or dentist, provided the fee schedule shall not apply to services rendered to a claimant who is participating in an employer’s managed care plan pursuant to section 31-279. The fee schedule shall limit the annual growth in total medical fees to the annual percentage increase in the consumer price index for all urban workers. Payment of the established fees by the employer or its insurance carrier shall constitute payment in full to the practitioner, and the practitioner may not recover any additional amount from the claimant to whom services have been rendered;
(C) Issue, not later than October 1, 1993, and publish annually thereafter, guidelines for the maximum fees payable by a claimant for any legal services rendered by an attorney in connection with the provisions of this chapter, which fees shall be approved in accordance with the standards established by the chairman pursuant to subparagraph (A) of this subdivision;
(12) Approve applications for employer-sponsored medical care plans, based on standards developed in consultation with a medical advisory panel as provided in section 31-279;
(13) Establish procedures for the hiring, dismissing or otherwise disciplining and promoting employees of the commission, subject where appropriate to the provisions of chapter 67;
(14) Control the hearing calendars of the compensation commissioners, and if necessary, preside over informal hearings in regard to compensation under the provisions of this chapter in order to facilitate the timely and efficient processing of cases;
(15) Enter into contracts with consultants and such other persons as necessary for the proper functioning of the commission;
(16) Direct and supervise all administrative affairs of the commission;
(17) Keep and maintain a record of all advisory board proceedings;
(18) Assign and reassign a district manager and other staff to each of the commission’s district offices;
(19) Collect and analyze statistical data concerning the administration of the Workers’ Compensation Commission;
(20) Direct and supervise the implementation of a uniform case filing and processing system in each of the district offices that will include, but not be limited to, the ability to provide data on the number of cases having multiple hearings, the number of postponed hearings and hearing schedules for each district office;
(21) Establish staff development, training and education programs designed to improve the quality of service provided by the commission, including, but not limited to, a program to train district office staff in the screening of hearing requests;
(22) Develop standard forms for requesting hearings and standard policies regarding limits on the number of informal hearings that will be allowed under this chapter, and limits on the number of postponements that will be permitted before a formal hearing is held pursuant to section 31-297;
(23) Develop guidelines for expediting disputed cases;
(24) Establish an ongoing training program, in consultation with the advisory board, designed to assist the commissioners in the fulfillment of their duties pursuant to the provisions of section 31-278, which program shall include instruction in the following areas: Discovery, evidence, statutory interpretation, medical terminology, legal decision writing and the purpose and procedures of informal and formal hearings;
(25) Evaluate, in conjunction with the advisory board, the performance of each commissioner biannually and, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of section 1-210 and chapter 55, make the performance evaluation of any commissioner available only to the Governor, the members of the joint standing committee on the judiciary and the respective commissioner prior to any public hearing on the reappointment of any such commissioner. Any information disclosed to such persons shall be used by such persons only for the purpose for which it was given and shall not be disclosed to any other person;
(26) (A) In consultation with insurers and practitioners, establish not later than October 1, 1993, and publish annually thereafter, practitioner billing guidelines for employers, workers’ compensation insurance carriers and practitioners approved by the chairman pursuant to subdivision (10) of this subsection. The guidelines shall include procedures for the resolution of billing disputes and shall prohibit a practitioner from billing or soliciting payments from a claimant for services rendered to the claimant under the provisions of this chapter (i) during a payment dispute between the practitioner and the employer or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier, or (ii) in excess of the maximum fees established pursuant to subparagraph (B) of subdivision (11) of this subsection;
(B) In consultation with practitioners and insurers, develop not later than July 1, 1994, practice protocols for reasonable and appropriate treatment of a claimant under the provisions of this chapter, based on the diagnosis of injury or illness. The commission shall annually publish the practice protocols for use by approved practitioners, employers, workers’ compensation insurance carriers and commissioners in evaluating the necessity and appropriateness of care provided to a claimant under the provisions of this chapter;
(C) In consultation with practitioners and insurers, develop not later than July 1, 1994, utilization review procedures for reasonable and appropriate treatment of a claimant under the provisions of this chapter. The chairman shall annually publish the procedures for use by approved practitioners, employers, workers’ compensation insurance carriers and commissioners in evaluating the necessity and appropriateness of care provided to a claimant under the provisions of this chapter.
(c) The chairman, as soon as practicable after April first of each year, shall submit to the Comptroller an estimated budget of expenditures which shall include all direct and indirect costs incurred by the Workers’ Compensation Commission for the succeeding fiscal year commencing on July first next. The Workers’ Compensation Commission, for the purposes of administration, shall not expend more than the amounts specified in such estimated budget for each item of expenditure except as authorized by the Comptroller. The chairman shall include in his annual report to the Governor a statement showing the expenses of administering the Workers’ Compensation Act for the preceding fiscal year.
(d) The chairman and the Comptroller, as soon as practicable after August first in each year, shall ascertain the total amount of expenses incurred by the commission, including, in addition to the direct cost of personnel services, the cost of maintenance and operation, rentals for space occupied in state leased offices and all other direct and indirect costs, incurred by the commission during the preceding fiscal year in connection with the administration of the Workers’ Compensation Act and the total noncontributory payments required to be made to the Treasurer towards commissioners’ retirement salaries as provided in sections 51-49, 51-50, 51-50a and 51-50b. An itemized statement of the expenses as so ascertained shall be available for public inspection in the office of the chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission for thirty days after notice to all insurance carriers, and to all employers permitted to pay compensation directly affected thereby.
(1949 Rev., S. 7438; September, 1957, P.A. 11, S. 13; 1958 Rev., S. 31-144; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 6; 1969, P.A. 696, S. 3; 1971, P.A. 366; 639, S. 7; P.A. 77-614, S. 130, 610; P.A. 78-303, S. 32, 136; P.A. 79-376, S. 39; 79-540, S. 2; P.A. 80-414, S. 3; P.A. 90-116, S. 3; P.A. 91-339, S. 6, 55; P.A. 93-228, S. 4, 35; P.A. 97-205, S. 2.)
History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; 1969 act deleted requirement that chairman publish a digest of compensation decisions and added Subsecs. (b) and (c) re budget and record of expenditures; 1971 acts substituted “disposition” of business for “dispensation” of business in Subsec. (a) and required inclusion of “noncontributory payments required to be made to the treasurer towards commissioners’ retirement salaries” as part of expenses incurred under Subsec. (c); P.A. 77-614 transferred power to appoint at-large commissioner from personnel policy board to commissioner of administrative services “subject to the provisions of section 4-40”; P.A. 78-303 specified that commission is not a commission or board subject to Sec. 4-9a in Subsec. (a); P.A. 79-376 replaced “workmen’s compensation” with “workers’ compensation”; P.A. 79-540 specified that chairman of board of compensation commissioners is also chairman of compensation review division in Subsec. (a); P.A. 80-414 clarified duties of chairman as administrative, granting him powers to control hearing calendars to expedite processing of claims and power to hear matters and required that chairman be provided with sufficient staff to perform his duties in Subsec. (a); P.A. 90-116 amended Subsec. (a) to allow for the appointment of temporary commissioners at the discretion of any commissioner within available appropriations; P.A. 91-339 changed “board of compensation commissioners” to “workers’ compensation commission”, deleted provisions re chairman of the compensation review division, added provisions re hearing of matters by the chairman, and deleted provisions re administrative nature of the chairman’s duties, commissioners at large and the chairman’s control over the hearing calendars of the commissioners in Subsec. (a), added new Subsec. (b) re powers and duties of the chairman of the workers’ compensation commission, redesignated existing Subsec. (b) as Subsec. (c) and required estimated budget to include all direct and indirect costs incurred by the commission, redesignated existing Subsec. (c) as Subsec. (d) and made technical changes; P.A. 93-228 amended Subsec. (b) to apply provisions to optometrists, to require chairman to establish medical fee schedule, attorney fee guidelines, commissioner training program, medical billing guidelines, practice protocols and utilization review procedures, to evaluate commissioners’ performance and, when necessary, to preside over informal workers’ compensation hearings, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 97-205 amended Subdiv. (1) of Subsec. (b) to permit the chairman to reassign compensation commissioners.
See Sec. 31-277 re salaries of compensation commissioners.
Cited. 232 C. 758.
Cited. 36 CA 150. Section provides a broad grant of power to chairman to adopt regulations to carry out his responsibilities under the act. 55 CA 129.
Commissioner is authorized to make a determination on case which he has presided over even after he has been transferred to another district. 47 CA 391.