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CASE NO. 3913 CRB-04-98-10
COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION
AUGUST 30, 1999
DR. CHARLES GIANETTI
AETNA LIFE & CASUALTY
The named claimant did not appear.
The appellant medical provider appeared on his own behalf.
The respondents were represented by James Pomeranz, Esq. and Margaret Corrigan, Esq., Pomeranz, Drayton & Stabnick, 95 Glastonbury Boulevard, Glastonbury, CT 06033.
This Petition for Review from the October 5, 1998 Finding and Dismissal of the Commissioner acting for the Fourth District was heard April 30, 1999 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of Commission Chairman Jesse M. Frankl and Commissioners Angelo L. dos Santos and Stephen B. Delaney.
JESSE M. FRANKL, CHAIRMAN. The appellant Dr. Charles Gianetti has petitioned for review from the October 5, 1998 Finding and Dismissal of the trial commissioner acting for the Fourth District. In that decision the trial commissioner determined that the Workers’ Compensation Commission did not have jurisdiction over the appellant medical provider’s claim for medical costs because the named claimant had never filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in Connecticut. In support of his appeal, the appellant contends that jurisdiction should be found because the claimant was provided with medical treatment and thus is not required to file a notice of claim. We find no error.
The trial commissioner found the following relevant facts. On September 25, 1986, John DelGardo was brought to the emergency room of Park City Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where Dr. Gianetti performed emergency surgery on his left hand. The total charges for Dr. Gianetti’s services were $1970.00, which was billed to Aetna Insurance Company, the carrier for ARRA Construction (the employer of John DelGardo). Aetna, citing the fee schedule, paid to Dr. Gianetti the sum of $1520.00 and Dr. Gianetti now seeks the balance of $450.00. The trial commissioner specifically found that “[T]here is no claim that has ever been commenced in this District or in any District in the State of Connecticut wherein John DelGardo is seeking or has sought adjudication of a claim for a work related compensable injury. This file was created when Dr. Gianetti first sought assistance from this Commission to get his bill paid.” The trial commissioner noted that John DelGardo filed a workers’ compensation claim against ARRA Construction in New York state.
In Figueroa v. C&S Ball Bearing, 237 Conn. 1 (1996), our Supreme Court held that a medical provider “does not have standing to invoke the jurisdiction of the commission by giving notice on behalf of the employee or by independently filing a claim.” Id. at 9. The court explained that the filing of a workers’ compensation claim is not required of an injured employee, and that an injured employee may choose to pay for medical treatment personally or through other means rather than filing a claim. Id.; See also In re: Veterans Memorial Medical Center, 3063 CRB-8-95-5 (decided May 20, 1996) (hospital had alleged insufficient jurisdictional facts to warrant a hearing on the subject matter jurisdiction of this Commission).
In support of his appeal, the appellant contends that pursuant to § 31-294c, the furnishing of medical care is sufficient to invoke the jurisdiction of the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Section 31-294c, which sets forth the statute of limitations for the filing of workers’ compensation claims, provides in pertinent part:
No proceedings for compensation under the provisions of this chapter shall be maintained unless a written notice of claim for compensation is given within one year from the date of the accident or within three years from the first manifestation of a symptom of the occupational disease, as the case may be, which caused the personal injury....
Section 31-294c(c) provides an exception to the requirement that a notice of claim be filed within one year, if “within the applicable period an employee has been furnished, for the injury with respect to which compensation is claimed, with medical or surgical care as provided in 31-294d.” The medical care exception is “based upon the fact that if the employer furnishes medical treatment he must know that an injury has been suffered which at least may be the basis of such a claim.” Galgano v. Torrington, 11 Conn. Workers’ Comp. Rev. Op. 133, 136, 1280 CRD-5-91-8 (June 30, 1993), quoting Gesmundo v. Bush, 133 Conn. 607, 612 (1947); see also Kulis v. Moll, 172 Conn. 104 (1976).
In the instant case, the trial commissioner found that the named claimant chose to bring a workers’ compensation claim in New York, but has not filed a claim in Connecticut. As explained by our Supreme Court, it is within the discretion of an injured employee to choose not to file a workers’ compensation claim. Figueroa, supra, at 9. Where, as here, the claimant has chosen to file a claim in another state rather than in this state, it would contradict the court’s reasoning in Figueroa, supra, to allow a medical provider to invoke jurisdiction based upon the alleged furnishing of medical care by the employer.
The trial commissioner’s decision is affirmed.
Commissioners Angelo L. dos Santos and Stephen B. Delaney concur.
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