Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fifth Time in 6 Years

CT Worker's Comp Commission Mandates Electronic First Reports Effective 2009

The Text of Commissioner Mastropietro's Memorandum reads as follows:

WCC Electronic Filing of First Reports of Injury Memorandum - September 17, 2008


TO: Commissioners, District Administrators, Self-Insureds, Insurance Carriers, Attorneys, Unions, Legal Advisory Panel and Advisory Board Members
FROM: John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
DATE: September 17, 2008
RE: Electronic Filing of First Reports of Injury Mandated

Effective January 1, 2009 the Workers' Compensation Commission is instituting a policy that all First Reports of Injury filed pursuant to § 31-316 must be transmitted electronically to the Chairman's Office.

Prior to the effective date of the above policy, the Workers' Compensation Commission has accepted both electronic and hard copy submissions of First Reports of Injury. However, recognizing that business communications are now largely accomplished through electronic transfers, the Workers' Compensation Commission is mandating that First Reports of Injury be filed electronically with the Chairman's office. We believe this step will help reduce costs and will expedite the forwarding of information that may be necessary for claims processing. This will also allow us to better meet the mandate of Public Act 08-03, the new statute requiring notification of claim filing information.

Access to web based filing is an available alternative for low volume submitters.

In the event you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact this office.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Costs Increase Approved For certain WC Claim case exoenses

WCC Revised Professional Guide Memorandum - September 17, 2008


TO: Commissioners, District Administrators, Workers' Compensation Advisory Board, Legal Advisory Panel, Medical Advisory Panel, Medical Practitioners, Self-Insureds, Insurance Carriers, Attorneys, and Unions
FROM: John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
DATE: September 17, 2008
RE: REVISED Professional Guide for Attorneys, Physicians and Other Health Care Practitioners; Guidelines for Cooperation

By memorandum dated September 27, 2002, the Workers' Compensation Commission adopted and issued the Professional Guide for Attorneys, Physicians and Other Health Care Practitioners; Guidelines for Cooperation.

The following revisions to the guidelines are effective October 1, 2008:

  1. Where appropriate, photocopy charges for physicians will increase to 65 cents per page;
  2. Deposition fees will increase to $500 per hour;
  3. Fees for Formal Hearing Testimony for the Treating Physician will increase to $550 per hour;
  4. Fees for Formal Hearing Testimony for the Employer/Respondent's Examiner will increase to $650 per hour.


For your convenience, copies may be downloaded from (the Connecticut WCC) website at:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Changes made Eliminating Revisions to medicare set-Asides

AttorneyAngelo Sevarino, the "Medicare Guru" for those of us in the field of WC law, has advised the Connewcticut Bar Association Worker's Compensation Section menbership of the following important update regarding Medicare set-asides.

"CMS has just released memorandum #11 dated August 25, 2008 and effective immediately it is no longer possible to petition CMS for a reduction or termination of an established set-aside. Previously we had the ability after 5 years to have CMS take a "second look" but that option is now" no longer available.

As always, if you think this change applies to your situation, feel free to contact the office.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Breaking: Connecticut District Court Judge Holds Portions of New Bankruptcy Law Unconstitutional

In a significant decision, a Connecticut Federal District Judge has ruled that portions of the revised Bankruptcy Act implemented in 2005 are unconstitutional. Specifically, Judge Christopher Droney has ruled that the requirement that attorneys designate themselves as "Debt Relief Agencies" is an unconstitutional restriction on the right of free speech.

The Bankruptcy Act provides that as attorneys, we are what Congress called "Debt Relief" agencies, and accordingly, we had to include the statement: "we have been designated by Congress as a 'Debt Relief Agency. We help people obtain relief from their debts through the use of the United States Bankruptcy Code." I have always thought this to be a bit of insanity codified, but that's just my Libertarian streak.

In Connecticut, at least, I have been proven correct.

In other parts of the Opinion, Judge Droney does rule that other portions of the revised Bankruptcy Act are Constitutional so it is not a total victory but at least it is a foot in the door.

The name of the case is Connecticut Bar Association, et al vs. United States of America. If anyone is interested, please contact me and I can forward them a copy of the decision at no charge.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Course And Scope Honored By Lexis Nexis

We have been advised by Lexis Nexis, the preeminent legal ranking firm that publishes Martindale- Hubbel, that Course and Scope has been designated as one of the top 25 Worker's Compensation Blogs the United States for 2008. Whoo hoo!

Medical Treatment: CRB Affirms Employer's Responsibility For Cardiac Evaluation Bills After Chest Injury

In March of 2005, Claimant Edit Pue sustained injuries while working to her shoulder, breast bone and rib cage. Her case was accepted by her employer as compensable.

Two weeks later, after experiencing chest pains, the Claimant presented to the Emergency Room where, hearing a complaint of chest pain, the ER docs set her up for a full cardiac evaluation---good medicine.

Sadly, the WC carrier did not see it that way and refused to pay the bills for this and several subsequent ER evaluations for chest pain.

At trial, the Commissioner ordered the respondents to pay for these bills. Thereafter the Employer appealed to our Compensation Review Board.

The CRB decision, released on August 22nd holds:

the fact that the medical personnel at (the ER) referred the claimant for a cardiac diagnostic work-up supports an inference that the referral was reasonable medical treatment. Such action was consistent with accepted medical procedures in instances where a patient complains of chest and left arm pain and should satisfy the statute’s requirements as to what constitutes reasonable and necessary medical treatment. That inference is further buttressed by the opinion of the respondents’ examiner, Dr. Edward Staub, indicating that when a patient complains of chest pain the proper medical protocol is to rule out a heart condition. See Findings, ¶¶ 33, 34, and X, Y, FF, GG. The claimant’s complaint of pain in her chest and related body parts was the causal impetus for the claimant’s visit to the ER. Those complaints were ultimately diagnosed as a medical condition causally related to her March 1, 2005 injury. It therefore logically follows that diagnostic testing consistent with established medical procedures to determine what was the source of claimant’s pain constitutes reasonable and necessary medical care.

Hooray for the CRB on this one, as this is a more frequent than you might expect scenario. The complete decision can be read here.

I've been a Bad, Bad Blogger

So Sorry to have been gone so long. I have been plagued over the past 45 days with unwanted health issues and a long overdue vacation. Between the two I have barely had enough time to keep myself above water never mind blog. Oh well. Back to it now!