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

March 11, 2011  ›

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March 11, 2011

A meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioners was held on Friday, March 11, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. at the Office of the Chairman, 21 Oak Street, 4th Floor, Hartford, CT.

Agenda Topics

  1. Social Networking with Attorneys/State of Kentucky
  2. Medicare Set-Asides and the Connecticut Practitioner Fee Schedule
  3. Commissioner’s Examinations
  4. Penalties and Attorney’s Fees
  5. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  6. Medical Reports
  7. Medical Protocols
  8. Security at Hearings
  9. Payor and Medical Provider Guidelines
  10. Chairman’s Update
  • Executive Session

Minutes

A regular meeting of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioners was held on Friday, March 11, 2011 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 Commissioners Vargas, Walker, Salerno and Goldberg. Also present were Marvin Smernoff, Nancy Bonuomo, Vincent Flynn, Madeleine Lemieux, Connie Rue and Nancy Cowell of the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

  1. Social Networking with Attorneys/State of Kentucky
    1. The Chairman discussed the issue of social networking with attorneys, indicating that Commissioners must maintain a certain professional distance. The subject arose not as a result of any activity in Connecticut but rather due to articles published from other states outlining difficulties that had arisen.
  2. Medicare Set-Asides and the Connecticut Practitioner Fee Schedule
    1. The Commissioners reviewed Attorney Sevarino’s concerns regarding the problems facing claimants with self-administered Medicare set-asides based upon the Connecticut Practitioner Fee Schedule, which is presently not available on-line.
  3. Commissioner’s Examinations
    1. Billing:
      1. The Chairman discussed the ongoing problem of physicians not being paid for Commissioner’s examinations and suggested a change in procedure whereby the examiner’s bill would be sent directly to the respondent’s attorney (or the respondent if unrepresented). The Commissioners will review the proposed revised procedure and examiner’s letter and advise the Chairman of any objection.
    2. Increased Fee:
      1. The Chairman indicated that an increased fee requested by the examiner may be approved by the Commissioner based on the complexity of the matter, not simply on the volume of the medical records.
    3. Duplicate records:
      1. When ordering a Commissioner’s examination, the Commissioner should advise the party responsible for accumulating the medicals that no duplicates are to be submitted.
    4. “No Show” Fee:
      1. In the event of a “no show,” except for limited circumstances, the examiner may receive a fee of $250, which the respondent should be ordered to pay. If the respondent disputes the obligation, a hearing should be held where the Commissioner will determine if there is good cause for reimbursement from the claimant by way of a credit against future benefits. If the respondent believes the doctor to be at fault, e.g., the doctor’s being at a different location, a hearing may also be held.
  4. Penalties and Attorney’s Fees
    1. At a recent seminar Commissioner Cohen noticed a trend among claimant’s attorneys calling for Commissioners to be more aggressive in imposing penalties against respondents and awarding attorney’s fees. Discussion was held. Discretion remains with the trier of fact.
  5. Payor and Medical Provider Guidelines
    1. Commissioner Cohen related the concern expressed by members of the Bar that Commissioners will not be aggressive enough in enforcing the Payor and Medical Provider Guidelines. The Chairman noted the positive impact of the Guidelines and the informational seminars held on March 4th and 22nd for medical office staff to clarify same. He noted that with treaters no longer needing pre-authorization for accepted claims/body parts, there has been a significant decrease in the number of hearings. Although progress has been made, the Commissioners should continue to monitor the performance of both the payors and providers and rule accordingly.
  6. Proposed Legislation
    1. The Commissioners reviewed the following proposed legislation:
    1. S.B. 986 setting forth additional requirements concerning an employer’s notice to contest medical treatment;
    2. S.B. 23 concerning Social Security offsets for employees injured between 1993 and 2006.
  7. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    1. The Commissioners were provided with correspondence from Dr. Marvin Arons, a member of the Medical Advisory Panel, regarding electro-diagnostic studies, the gold standard for confirming the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  8. Medical Reports
    1. The Chairman has received a number of complaints concerning treaters at the University of Connecticut Health Center not providing timely medical reports. The Commissioners will provide specific examples so that the Health Center may determine where the holdup may be and formulate a more timely procedure.
  9. Medical Protocols
    1. The medical protocols, originally published in 1996, are in the process of being revised. Sub-committees have been formed, initially focusing on the spine and shoulder.
  10. Security at Hearings
    1. Commissioner Senich discussed a recent request from an attorney asking for permission to provide his own security (at his own expense) at a hearing. The Chairman expressed concern with the unilateral determination by a respondent that security is needed. He indicated that the need for security should be addressed on a case by case basis and that the individual determining if a legitimate security risk exists should be the Commissioner.
  11. Liens
    1. The Claims Committee has suggested that only the latest amount of a lien be displayed in the system rather than the progression of updated amounts. The Commissioners agreed that only the latest amount need be displayed.
  12. Indrek, Melder, M.D.
    1. The Commissioners were provided with the bio of Dr. Indrek Melder, board certified in preventative/occupational medicine, who has indicated an interest in performing Employer/Respondent’s examinations, Commissioner’s examinations, etc.
  13. Chairman’s Update
    1. The Chairman discussed the following:
    1. Chairman’s Long Term Planning Task Force, chaired by Jeam Bonzani;
    2. Galllagher Bassett training held on March 8th;
    3. Commissioner’s Practice Book (draft near completion with a goal of mid-April for distribution to Committee members);
    4. E-filing Committee (Commissioner Barton’s participation in a recent Webinar).
  14. Listing of Employer Medical Care Plans
    1. Commissioner Schoolcraft requested computer access to the listing of employers with medical care plans. At the present time it is necessary to contact CRB staff for said information.

There being no further business, Commissioner Delaney made a motion to adjourn to Executive Session. Commissioner Mlynarczyk seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. The meeting was adjourned to Executive Session at 10:45 a.m.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: July 13, 2012

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