(a) A disqualifying association is any association that may reasonably be perceived as having potential to influence the conduct or decision of a designated doctor. Disqualifying associations may include:
(1) receipt of income, compensation, or payment of any kind not related to health care provided by the doctor;
(2) shared investment or ownership interest;
(3) contracts or agreements that provide incentives, such as referral fees, payments based on volume or value, and waiver of beneficiary coinsurance and deductible amounts;
(4) contracts or agreements for space or equipment rentals, personnel services, management contracts, referral services, billing services agents, documentation management or storage services or warranties, or any other services related to the management or operation of the doctor’s practice;
(5) personal or family relationships;
(6) a contract with the same workers’ compensation health care network certified under Chapter 1305, Insurance Code or a contract with the same political subdivision or political subdivision health plan under Labor Code §504.053(b)(2) that is responsible for the provision of medical benefits to the injured employee; or
(7) any other financial arrangement that would require disclosure under the Labor Code or applicable division rules, the Insurance Code or applicable department rules, or any other association with the injured employee, the employer, or insurance carrier that may give the appearance of preventing the designated doctor from rendering an unbiased opinion.
(b) For examinations performed after January 1, 2013, a designated doctor shall also have a disqualifying association relevant to an examination or claim if an agent of the designated doctor has an association relevant to the claim that would constitute a disqualifying association under subsection (a) of this section.
(c) A designated doctor shall not perform an examination if that doctor has a disqualifying association relevant to that claim. If a designated doctor learns of a disqualifying association relevant to a claim after accepting the examination, the designated doctor must notify the division of that disqualifying association within two working days of learning of the disqualifying association. A designated doctor who performs an examination even though the doctor has a disqualifying association relevant to that claim commits an administrative violation.
(d) Insurance carriers shall notify the division of any disqualifying associations between the designated doctor and injured employee because of the network affiliations described under subsection (a)(6) of this section within five days of receiving the division’s order of designated doctor examination under §127.5(b) of this title (relating to Scheduling Designated Doctor Appointments).
(e) If the division determines that a designated doctor with a disqualifying association performed a designated doctor examination, all reports produced by that designated doctor as a result of that examination shall be stripped of their presumptive weight.
(f) A party that seeks to dispute the selection of a designated doctor for a particular examination based on a disqualifying association or to dispute the presumptive weight of a designated doctor’s report based on a disqualifying association must do so through the division’s dispute resolution processes in Chapter 410, Labor Code and Chapters 140-144 and 147 of this title (relating to Dispute Resolution processes, proceedings, and procedures).
(g) This section will become effective on December 6, 2018.
The provisions of this §127.140 adopted to be effective September 1, 2012, 37 TexReg 5422; amended to be effective November 4, 2018, 43 TexReg 7149.