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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December 4, 2009

A meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioners was held on Friday, December 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. Presentation re: Psychiatric Injuries, Treatment, etc.
  2. Medicare Set-Asides: Attorney’s Fees
  3. Delay in Receipt of Medical Reports
  4. Representation of Minors in a Full and Final Settlement
  5. Commissioner’s Examinations: Pre-Payment
  6. Qualified Assignments
  7. Chairman’s Update
  • Executive Session

Minutes

A regular meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioners was held on Friday, December 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. Also present were Marvin Smernoff, Nancy Bonuomo, Vincent Flynn, Madeleine Lemieux, Connie Rue and Nancy Cowell of the Workers’ Compensation Commission; Gardner Wright and Linda Passanisi of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board; Elizabeth Krueger of CBIA; John Del Vecchio and Stephanie Messina of SEIU 1199; Lucien Parrillo, M.D. and Donald R. Grayson, M.D.

  1. An Overview of Malingering
    1. Dr. Donald R. Grayson provided a comprehensive overview of “Malingering”, defining same and discussing other conditions/disorders that may resemble malingering, motivating factors, symptoms, red flags, steps for clinicians and commissioners to take, treatment, etc.
  2. Medicare Set-Asides: Attorney’s Fees
    1. The commissioners reviewed Attorney Embry’s August 27, 2009 analysis of the federal code indicating that Medicare set-asides are subject to attorney’s fees. They were in agreement that this is the appropriate position to be taken for self-administered Medicare set-asides. For other scenarios a determination will be made by the commissioners on a case by case basis.
  3. Delay in Receipt of Medical Reports
    1. In response to Commissioner Engel’s concern about the delay in receiving a Commissioner’s examination report, the Chairman indicated that his office would follow up with the physician.
  4. Representation of Minors in a Full and Final Settlement
    1. Discussion was held concerning full and final stipulations involving a surviving spouse and minor children. The Chairman reported that there was no consensus from the Probate Court as to whether minors should be represented in such cases. If the estate is closed, the Probate Court does not have jurisdiction. It was the consensus of the commissioners that they could not assume the role of the Probate Court as it relates to minor children; however, they can make inquiry of the surviving spouse, who would receive the proceeds of the stipulation, to ensure his or her competency and understanding.
  5. Commissioner’s Examinations: Pre-Payment Disallowed
    1. In response to Commissioner Delaney’s query, the Chairman confirmed that physicians cannot require pre-payment for Commissioner’s examinations, citing the Professional Guide for Attorneys, Physicians and Other Health Care Practitioners: Guidelines for Cooperation.
  6. Orthopedic Associates of Hartford
    1. Commissioner Vargas indicated that despite his Order directing the Respondent to pay for an office visit, Orthopedic Associates of Hartford would not schedule the appointment. The Chairman suggested that he contact the group’s Practice Administrator.
  7. Qualified Assignments
    1. At a meeting with representatives from AIG on November 24, 2009, the Chairman reiterated the Commission’s concerns regarding the use of structured settlement annuities to fund lump sum settlements when those annuities are funded by entities other than the insurer for the respondent-employer. As the Commission has no ability to regulate a third party, it is the Commission’s policy that any such settlement must include language stating that the ultimate liability for payment of the agreed upon benefits remains with the primary workers’ compensation obligor in the event the annuity funding agent becomes insolvent or is unable to make the agreed upon payments.
  8. Chairman’s update
    1. The Chairman discussed the following:
    1. Attorney Occupational Tax Return (Form 472)
      1. All commissioners should have received Form 472, which must be filed with the Department of Revenue Services by January 15th.
    2. Advisory Board
      1. There will be a significant change in the Advisory Board’s membership with the vacancy of Michael Consevich (representing the injured worker) and upcoming retirements of Marvin Morganbesser and William Ridolfi (representing employers).
      2. At the November 2nd meeting, the Advisory Board voted unanimously to recommend the reappointment of Commissioners Barton and Mastropietro, whose terms expire in 2010.
    3. Legal Advisory Panel
      1. The next meeting of the Legal Advisory Panel will be held on January 14th at 1:00 p.m. All commissioners are welcome. Any commissioner wishing to attend should inform their district administrator so that afternoon hearings on that date may be rescheduled.
    4. Payor-Provider Task Force
      1. The Payor-Provider Task Force continues its charge of drafting a handbook of recommended practices in workers’ compensation. It is anticipated that the final document will be completed in mid-February.
    5. Practitioner Fee Schedule
      1. The next update to the fee schedule is expected to be released on April 1, 2010.
    6. Hospital Reimbursement
      1. Cases concerning the issue of hospital reimbursement (i.e., the determination of “actual costs”) are resolving prior to the formal hearing. As such, there appears to be no need for legislative action at this time.
    7. Joint Enforcement Commission on Employee Misclassification
      1. Established by the Legislature to address the problem of employee misclassification, the Commission consists of the Labor Commissioner, the Commissioner of Revenue Services, the Chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission, the Attorney General, the Chief State’s Attorney, and a subgroup of their representatives. The Chairman requested that the commissioners provide any real-life examples to Attorney Bonuomo or Attorney Lemieux, who are members of the subgroup.
    8. Liberty Mutual
      1. Past problems have been resolved and there appear to be no present difficulties.
    9. Budget
      1. The Chairman discussed the state’s financial crisis and its impact on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
  9. Official Disability Guidelines
    1. The commissioners reviewed (1) correspondence from Attorney Shafner objecting to the Workers’ Compensation Trust’s use of the “Official Disability Guidelines” published by the Work Loss Data Institute and (2) the response from Diane Ritucci clarifying the Trust’s utilization of evidence based guidelines in managing patient care.
  10. Commissioner’s Practice Book
    1. Commissioner Salerno reported on the status of the Commissioner’s Practice Book.
  11. Training/Speakers for Commissioners
    1. The Chairman requested that the commissioners provide him with suggestions for future training/speakers.
  12. Commissioner Reassignments
    1. In anticipation of commissioner reassignments on September 1, 2010, the Chairman requested that the commissioners give some thought to their top three district choices.

There being no further business, Commissioner Delaney made a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Walker seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 12:25 p.m.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: August 31, 2011

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/public-meetings/wc-commissioners/2009/12-04-2009.htm

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