>Medical Bills- How To Get Paid In Pennsylvania When Treating A Workers’ Comp Patient

>I represent injured workers in Pennsylvania. In addition, I represent doctors and other medical providers, in getting their medical bills paid by the work comp insurers.

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act has specific requirements that must be met in order for work-related medical treatment to be paid by an insurer. The following will explain these technical requirements and will also address Fee Review procedures.

Forms

Please be advised that any medical bills for work-related treatment must be made on either a HCFA form 1500 or the UB92 (HCFA form 1450), or any successor forms, required by HCFA for submission of Medicare claims. Until a medical provider submits bills on one of these forms, insurers are not required to pay for the treatment billed.

Further, providers who treat injured employees are required to submit periodic medical reports to the employer, commencing 10 days after treatment begins and at least one month thereafter as long as treatment continues. If the employer is covered by an insurer, the provider shall submit the report to the insurer.

The medical reports referenced above shall be submitted on a form prescribed by the Bureau for that purpose. The report shall include the history, a description of the treatment and services rendered, the physical findings and the prognosis, including whether or not the claimant can return to pre-injury work without limitations. Reports are not required to be submitted for months in which no medical treatment has been rendered. Once again, if a provider does not submit the required medical reports on the prescribed form, the insurer is not obligated to make payment.

Payments

Payments for treatment must be made within 30 days of receipt of the bill and report submitted by the provider. Insurers shall supply a written explanation of benefits (EOB) to the provider, describing the calculation of payment of medical bills submitted by the provider. If an insurer fails to pay the entire bill within 30 days of receipt of the required bills and medical reports, interest shall accrue on the due and unpaid amounts at 10% per annum.

Balance Billing- Prohibited

A provider may not hold an employee liable for costs related to care or services rendered in connection with a compensable injury under the Act. A provider may not bill for, or otherwise attempt to recover from the employee, the difference between the provider’s charge for treatment and the amount paid by an insurer. This holds true for treatment determined to be unreasonable or unnecessary.

Fee Review

A provider who has submitted the required bills and reports to an insurer and who disputes the amount or timeliness of the payment made by an insurer, shall have standing to seek review of the fee dispute by the Bureau. Providers must apply for fee review within 30 days following notification of a disputed treatment or 90 days following the original billing date of the treatment which is the subject of the fee dispute, whichever is later. For more information, please see Section 127.252, et seq of the Medical Cost Containment Regulations under the Act.

In summary, you must use the proper HCFA form and submit this with the bill and a legible, detailed medical report, for each month in which treatment is rendered, if you want to get paid.

Please feel free to ask me questions concerning any unpaid bills. You may reach me, Michael W. Cardamone, at (215) 206-9068 or via email at mcardamone@krasno.com

Thank you for reading my blog.

>Respect

>Respect. Something that isn’t as pervasive in society as it should be. Something that comes with experience, but something that should be an inalienable right just like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As a basic, fundamental principle, I respect my clients; and I respect my counterpart in every case; I respect judges and the court reporters. But what I don’t respect is a lack of respect- without serious justification, for my clients- injured workers.

I recently had a case where my client was testifying at a first hearing for a claim this his employer denied. The attitude of defense counsel was horrendous- nasty, jaded, short, condescending, presumptuous, and unjustified. Although I understand that defense counsel has an ethical obligation to represent his clients’ interests zealously, that doesn’t mean that counsel needs to treat a claimant like he’s 2 years old. One can represent their client with aggressiveness but be respectful of the other party.

I am often tempted to point out to counsel that I thought his behaviour was unnecessary, but I stop myself. I realize that the Judge is hopefully picking up on the same thing as I am, and to my counterpart’s detriment. Further, saying something will normally turn into an argument which will heighten the negativity. So, I end up protecting my client by staying silent.

Some special cases will require a chip on the shoulder, but most times, a lawyer can do a great job representing their client without the nasty attitude.