In an effort to “expedite” the resolution of certain issues, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation has recently implemented a “conference call” vehicle to assist injured workers and insurers.
Essentially, attorneys may call the Board and request a conference call with the presiding administrative law judge (ALJ) assigned to the claim. If there is no ALJ assigned to the case, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation will assign a case accordingly. These ALJ’s are empowered to address the resolution of medical issues or other claims that have NOT been “controverted” by the Employer/Insurer. The primary purpose of this vehicle is to reach an answer without an evidentiary hearing. The Board has included issues such as problems obtaining medication prescribed by the authorized treating physician; payment of unpaid medical bills; or accidental suspension of benefits. The Board also indicated that this conference call vehicle should NOT be used for change of physician requests or other issues where the submission of evidence is required.
If one party requests the conference call, the other party’s participation is mandatory unless otherwise excused by the presiding judge. Once the conference call is scheduled and the parties are notified via email to initiate the call, failure to participate may result in monetary penalties. The Board requires 24-hour prior notice and a valid reason to avoid potential sanctions. The workers’ compensation board “encourages” all parties to work together with the judge’s calendar.
It is the Ramos Law Firm’s hope that this new vehicle will assist injured workers’ in securing prompt medical treatment or resolution of a pending issue in his or her workers’ compensation claim.