State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Public Meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioners

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September 4, 2009  ›

December 4, 2009

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September 4, 2009

A meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioners was held on Friday, September 4, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. at the Office of the Chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission, Capitol Place, 21 Oak Street, Hartford, Connecticut.

Agenda Topics

  1. Workers’ Compensation Payments Offset with the State Employees Retirement System
  2. What Language Is/Is Not Appropriate for Stipulations Approved under a Commissioner’s Signature
  3. Appropriate Signatories to a Voluntary Agreement
  4. Medicare Denial of Claims of Patients Who Have Had Workers’ Compensation Injuries
  5. Compensation Quarterly Article
  6. Medicare Set-Asides Attorney’s Fees
  7. Commissioner’s Examinations Medical Packets
  8. Commissioners’ Meeting Schedule (2010)
  9. Seminars
  10. Chairman’s Update
  • Executive Session

Minutes

A regular meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioners was held on Friday, September 4, 2009 at the office of the Chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission, Capitol Place, 21 Oak Street, Hartford, Connecticut. The meeting convened at 9:30 a.m. with all Commissioners present except Commissioner Cohen. Also present were Marvin Smernoff, Nancy Bonuomo, Vincent Flynn, Madeleine Lemieux, Connie Rue, Sandra Cunningham, and Nancy Cowell of the Workers’ Compensation Commission; Linda Passanisi of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board; Kia Murrell of CBIA; Helen Kemp of the Office of the State Comptroller; John Del Vecchio and Stephanie Messina of SEIU 1199; and William Lawler.

  1. Workers’ Compensation Payments Offset with the State Employees Retirement System
    1. Attorney Helen Kemp of the Retirement and Benefit Services Division of the Office of the State Comptroller provided an overview of the interplay of various workers’ compensation benefits and state disability retirement benefits.
  2. What Language Is/Is Not Appropriate for Stipulations Approved under a Commissioner’s Signature
    1. Commissioner Truglia provided an example of language being included in stipulations which is outside the jurisdiction and scope of responsibility of the Commissioners. She indicated that such language would more appropriately be included in an Addendum to the stipulation with signatures of the parties but not of the Commissioner. This issue will be discussed with the Legal Advisory Panel at their next meeting.
  3. Appropriate Signatories to a Voluntary Agreement
    1. An insurance carrier has asked if there is any prohibition against designating clerical staff to sign Voluntary Agreements on their behalf. It was the consensus of the Commissioners that such a practice would be acceptable as the company would remain responsible for the practices of its designees.
  4. Medicare Denial of Claims of Patients Who Have Had Workers’ Compensation Injuries
    1. The Chairman has received a number of complaints from physicians indicating that Medicare has been denying claims for patients with prior workers’ compensation injuries even if the body parts are different. This practice has put an added burden on physicians. The Commission will take no action at the present time but will monitor the situation.
  5. Compensation Quarterly Article
    1. In the Spring 2009 issue of Compensation Quarterly a draft (rather than the final version) of an article concerning structured settlements was inadvertently printed. The Commissioners were provided with the final version of this article.
  6. Medicare Set-Asides Attorney’s Fees
    1. Recent correspondence from Attorney Stephen Embry concerning Medicare set-asides and attorney’s fees was provided to the Commissioners for their review. The matter was tabled to the December 4th Commissioners’ meeting for further discussion.
  7. Commissioner’s Examinations Medical Packets
    1. The Commissioner’s Examination procedure as drafted by the Practice Book Committee was distributed to the Commissioners for review and discussion. It was agreed that a firm date for submission of medical packets will be established by the Commissioner at a hearing with sanctions to be imposed on the parties for failure to comply.
    2. Commissioner Salerno advised that the first draft of the Commissioner’s Practice Book will be provided to the Commissioners in the near future.
  8. The Need for a Stipulation to Memorialize a Moratorium in Third Party Actions
    1. The Chairman questioned the practice of attorneys who utilize stipulations to memorialize a moratorium in third party actions. The Commissioners were in agreement that there is no need for a stipulation in such matters. A letter signed by the parties and included in the Commission’s file would be sufficient.
  9. Commissioners’ Meeting Schedule (2010)
    1. The Commissioners were polled concerning the frequency of Commissioners’ meetings to be held in 2010. The majority voted for meetings to continue to be held four times during the year. A schedule will be forthcoming.
  10. Workers’ Compensation Seminar
    1. A seminar sponsored by the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Bar Association will be held on November 6, 2009 at the Rocky Hill Marriott. The Section is seeking a few Commissioners to participate in a roundtable discussion concerning Heart and Hypertension cases. Any Commissioner interested in participating should contact the Chairman.
  11. Chairman’s Update
    1. Projects
    2. The Chairman reported on the status of the following projects:

      1. Payor-Provider Task Force
        1. The Payor-Provider Task Force has completed the draft of its handbook of recommended practices in workers’ compensation and will be meeting in the near future. It is anticipated that the final document will be completed early next year.
      2. Pain Management
        1. Due to lack of funding, the pain management project with the University of Connecticut Health Center will not go forward at the present time.
      3. Practitioner Fee Schedule
        1. The latest update to the fee schedule was issued on July 15, 2009. The next update, originally scheduled for release on January 1, 2010, may be delayed due to budgetary considerations.
      4. Hearing Cancellation Committee
        1. Commissioner Delaney reported that when polled it was the consensus of the Commissioners that no changes be made to the present policy of requiring three days notice for a hearing cancellation. If a hearing is not cancelled due to the lateness of the request, the Commissioners will accept a report from one party (the party who is the cause of the late cancellation request.)
      5. Hospital Reimbursement
        1. § 31-294d provides that hospitals be reimbursed for their actual costs but does not provide a definition of same. Hospitals have routinely negotiated their bills for services with the payors rather than provide information as to how their actual costs are calculated. The issue of hospital reimbursement remains unresolved and may be the subject of a number of cases coming before the Commission.
    3. Budget Update
      1. The Chairman discussed the state’s proposed budget and its potential impact on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

There being no further business, Commissioner Delaney made a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Vargas seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: August 31, 2011

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State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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