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§ 133.307. MDR of Fee Disputes

(a) Applicability. The applicability of this section is as follows.

(1) This section applies to a request to the division for medical fee dispute resolution (MFDR) as authorized by the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act that is filed on or after June 1, 2012. Dispute resolution requests filed prior to June 1, 2012, shall be resolved in accordance with the statutes and rules in effect at the time the request was filed.

(2) In resolving disputes regarding the amount of payment due for health care determined to be medically necessary and appropriate for treatment of a compensable injury, the role of the division is to adjudicate the payment, given the relevant statutory provisions and division rules.

(3) In accordance with Labor Code § 504.055 a request for medical fee dispute resolution that involves a first responder’s request for reimbursement of medical expenses paid by the first responder will be accelerated by the division and given priority. The first responder shall provide notice to the division that the request involves a first responder.

(b) Requestors. The following parties may be requestors in medical fee disputes:

(1) the health care provider, or a qualified pharmacy processing agent, as described in Labor Code § 413.0111, in a dispute over the reimbursement of a medical bill(s);

(2) the health care provider in a dispute about the results of a division or insurance carrier audit or review which requires the health care provider to refund an amount for health care services previously paid by the insurance carrier;

(3) the injured employee in a dispute involving an injured employee’s request for reimbursement from the insurance carrier of medical expenses paid by the injured employee;

(4) the injured employee when requesting a refund of the amount the injured employee paid to the health care provider in excess of a division fee guideline; or

(5) a subclaimant in accordance with § 140.6 of this title (relating to Subclaimant Status: Establishment, Rights, and Procedures), § 140.7 of this title (relating to Health Care Insurer Reimbursement under Labor Code § 409.0091), or § 140.8 of this title (relating to Procedures for Health Care Insurers to Pursue Reimbursement of Medical Benefits under Labor Code § 409.0091), as applicable.

(c) Requests. Requests for MFDR shall be filed in the form and manner prescribed by the division. Requestors shall file two legible copies of the request with the division.

(1) Timeliness. A requestor shall timely file the request with the division’s MFDR Section or waive the right to MFDR. The division shall deem a request to be filed on the date the MFDR Section receives the request. A decision by the MFDR Section that a request was not timely filed is not a dismissal and may be appealed pursuant to subsection (g) of this section.

(A) A request for MFDR that does not involve issues identified in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph shall be filed no later than one year after the date(s) of service in dispute.

(B) A request may be filed later than one year after the date(s) of service if:

(i) a related compensability, extent of injury, or liability dispute under Labor Code Chapter 410 has been filed, the medical fee dispute shall be filed not later than 60 days after the date the requestor receives the final decision, inclusive of all appeals, on compensability, extent of injury, or liability;

(ii) a medical dispute regarding medical necessity has been filed, the medical fee dispute must be filed not later than 60 days after the date the requestor received the final decision on medical necessity, inclusive of all appeals, related to the health care in dispute and for which the insurance carrier previously denied payment based on medical necessity; or

(iii) the dispute relates to a refund notice issued pursuant to a division audit or review, the medical fee dispute must be filed not later than 60 days after the date of the receipt of a refund notice.

(2) Health Care Provider or Pharmacy Processing Agent Request. The requestor shall provide the following information and records with the request for MFDR in the form and manner prescribed by the division. The provider shall file the request with the MFDR Section by any mail service or personal delivery. The request shall include:

(A) the name, address, and contact information of the requestor;

(B) the name of the injured employee;

(C) the date of the injury;

(D) the date(s) of the service(s) in dispute;

(E) the place of service;

(F) the treatment or service code(s) in dispute;

(G) the amount billed by the health care provider for the treatment(s) or service(s) in dispute;

(H) the amount paid by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier for the treatment(s) or service(s) in dispute;

(I) the disputed amount for each treatment or service in dispute;

(J) a paper copy of all medical bill(s) related to the dispute, as originally submitted to the insurance carrier in accordance with this chapter and a paper copy of all medical bill(s) submitted to the insurance carrier for an appeal in accordance with § 133.250 of this chapter (relating to General Medical Provisions);

(K) a paper copy of each explanation of benefits (EOB) related to the dispute as originally submitted to the health care provider in accordance with this chapter or, if no EOB was received, convincing documentation providing evidence of insurance carrier receipt of the request for an EOB;

(L) when applicable, a copy of the final decision regarding compensability, extent of injury, liability and/or medical necessity for the health care related to the dispute;

(M) a copy of all applicable medical records related to the dates of service in dispute;

(N) a position statement of the disputed issue(s) that shall include:

(i) the requestor’s reasoning for why the disputed fees should be paid or refunded,

(ii) how the Labor Code and division rules, including fee guidelines, impact the disputed fee issues, and

(iii) how the submitted documentation supports the requestor’s position for each disputed fee issue;

(O) documentation that discusses, demonstrates, and justifies that the payment amount being sought is a fair and reasonable rate of reimbursement in accordance with § 134.1 of this title (relating to Medical Reimbursement) or § 134.503 of this title (relating to Pharmacy Fee Guideline) when the dispute involves health care for which the division has not established a maximum allowable reimbursement (MAR) or reimbursement rate, as applicable;

(P) if the requestor is a pharmacy processing agent, a signed and dated copy of an agreement between the processing agent and the pharmacy clearly demonstrating the dates of service covered by the contract and a clear assignment of the pharmacy’s right to participate in the MFDR process. The pharmacy processing agent may redact any proprietary information contained within the agreement; and

(Q) any other documentation that the requestor deems applicable to the medical fee dispute.

(3) Subclaimant Dispute Request. The requestor shall provide the appropriate information with the request that is consistent with the provisions of § 140.6 or § 140.8 of this title. A request made by a subclaimant under Labor Code § 409.009 shall comply with § 140.6 of this title and submit the documents to the Division required thereunder. A request made by a subclaimant under Labor Code § 409.0091 shall comply with the document requirements of § 140.8 of this title and submit the documents to the Division required thereunder.

(4) Injured Employee Dispute Request. An injured employee who has paid for health care may request MFDR of a refund or reimbursement request that has been denied. The injured employee’s dispute request shall be sent to the MFDR Section in the form and manner prescribed by the division by mail service, personal delivery or facsimile and shall include:

(A) the name, address, and contact information of the injured employee;

(B) the date of the injury;

(C) the date(s) of the service(s) in dispute;

(D) a description of the services paid;

(E) the amount paid by the injured employee;

(F) the amount of the medical fee in dispute;

(G) an explanation of why the disputed amount should be refunded or reimbursed, and how the submitted documentation supports the explanation for each disputed amount;

(H) proof of employee payment (including copies of receipts, health care provider billing statements, or similar documents); and

(I) a copy of the insurance carrier’s or health care provider’s denial of reimbursement or refund relevant to the dispute, or, if no denial was received, convincing evidence of the injured employee’s attempt to obtain reimbursement or refund from the insurance carrier or health care provider.

(5) Division Response to Request. The division will forward a copy of the request and the documentation submitted in accordance with paragraph (2), (3), or (4) of this subsection to the respondent. The respondent shall be deemed to have received the request on the acknowledgment date as defined in § 102.5 of this title (relating to General Rules for Written Communications to and from the Commission).

(d) Responses. Responses to a request for MFDR shall be legible and submitted to the division and to the requestor in the form and manner prescribed by the division.

(1) Timeliness. The response will be deemed timely if received by the division via mail service, personal delivery, or facsimile within 14 calendar days after the date the respondent received the copy of the requestor’s dispute. If the division does not receive the response information within 14 calendar days of the dispute notification, then the division may base its decision on the available information.

(2) Response. Upon receipt of the request, the respondent shall provide any missing information not provided by the requestor and known to the respondent. The respondent shall also provide the following information and records:

(A) the name, address, and contact information of the respondent;

(B) a paper copy of all initial and appeal EOBs related to the dispute, as originally submitted to the health care provider in accordance with this chapter, related to the health care in dispute not submitted by the requestor or a statement certifying that the respondent did not receive the health care provider’s disputed billing prior to the dispute request;

(C) a paper copy of all medical bill(s) related to the dispute, submitted in accordance with this chapter if different from that originally submitted to the insurance carrier for reimbursement;

(D) a copy of any pertinent medical records or other documents relevant to the fee dispute not already provided by the requestor;

(E) a statement of the disputed fee issue(s), which includes:

(i) a description of the health care in dispute;

(ii) a position statement of reasons why the disputed medical fees should not be paid;

(iii) a discussion of how the Labor Code and division rules, including fee guidelines, impact the disputed fee issues;

(iv) a discussion regarding how the submitted documentation supports the respondent’s position for each disputed fee issue; and

(v) documentation that discusses, demonstrates, and justifies that the amount the respondent paid is a fair and reasonable reimbursement in accordance with Labor Code § 413.011 and § 134.1 or § 134.503 of this title if the dispute involves health care for which the division has not established a MAR or reimbursement rate, as applicable.

(F) The response shall address only those denial reasons presented to the requestor prior to the date the request for MFDR was filed with the division and the other party. Any new denial reasons or defenses raised shall not be considered in the review. If the response includes unresolved issues of compensability, extent of injury, liability, or medical necessity, the request for MFDR will be dismissed in accordance with subsection (f)(3)(B) or (C) of this section.

(G) If the respondent did not receive the health care provider’s disputed billing or the employee’s reimbursement request relevant to the dispute prior to the request, the respondent shall include that information in a written statement.

(H) If the medical fee dispute involves compensability, extent of injury, or liability, the insurance carrier shall attach a copy of any related Plain Language Notice in accordance with § 124.2 of this title (relating to Carrier Reporting and Notification Requirements).

(I) If the medical fee dispute involves medical necessity issues, the insurance carrier shall attach a copy of documentation that supports an adverse determination in accordance with § 19.2005 of this title (relating to General Standards of Utilization Review).

(e) Withdrawal. The requestor may withdraw its request for MFDR by notifying the division prior to a decision.

(f) MFDR Action. The division will review the completed request and response to determine appropriate MFDR action.

(1) Request for Additional Information. The division may request additional information from either party to review the medical fee issues in dispute. The additional information must be received by the division no later than 14 days after receipt of this request. If the division does not receive the requested additional information within 14 days after receipt of the request, then the division may base its decision on the information available. The party providing the additional information shall forward a copy of the additional information to all other parties at the time it is submitted to the division.

(2) Issues Raised by the Division. The division may raise issues in the MFDR process when it determines such an action to be appropriate to administer the dispute process consistent with the provisions of the Labor Code and division rules.

(3) Dismissal. A dismissal is not a final decision by the division. The medical fee dispute may be submitted for review as a new dispute that is subject to the requirements of this section. The division may dismiss a request for MFDR if:

(A) the division determines that the medical bills in the dispute have not been submitted to the insurance carrier for an appeal, when required;

(B) the request contains an unresolved adverse determination of medical necessity;

(C) the request contains an unresolved compensability, extent of injury, or liability dispute for the claim; or

(D) the division determines that good cause exists to dismiss the request, including a party’s failure to comply with the provisions of this section.

(4) Decision. The division shall send a decision to the disputing parties or to representatives of record for the parties, if any, and post the decision on the department’s website.

(5) Division Fee. The division may assess a fee in accordance with § 133.305 of this subchapter (relating to MDR–General).

(g) Appeal of MFDR Decision. A party to a medical fee dispute may seek review of the decision. Parties are deemed to have received the MFDR decision as provided in § 102.5 of this title. The MFDR decision is final if the request for the benefit review conference is not timely made. If a party provides the benefit review officer or administrative law judge with documentation listed in subsection (d)(2)(H) or (I) of this section that shows unresolved issues regarding compensability, extent of injury, liability, or medical necessity for the same service subject to the fee dispute, then the benefit review officer or administrative law judge shall abate the proceedings until those issues have been resolved.

(1) A party seeking review of an MFDR decision must request a benefit review conference no later than 20 days from the date the MFDR decision is received by the party. The party that requests a review of the MFDR decision must mediate the dispute in the manner required by Labor Code, Chapter 410, Subchapter B and request a benefit review conference under Chapter 141 of this title (relating to Dispute Resolution–Benefit Review Conference). A party may appear at a benefit review conference via telephone. The benefit review conference will be conducted in accordance with Chapter 141 of this title.

(A) Notwithstanding § 141.1(b) of this title (relating to Requesting and Setting a Benefit Review Conference), a seeking review of an MFDR decision may request a benefit review conference.

(B) At a benefit review conference, the parties to the dispute may not resolve the dispute by negotiating fees that are inconsistent with any applicable fee guidelines adopted by the commissioner.

(C) A party must file the request for a benefit review conference in accordance with Chapter 141 of this title and must include in the request a copy of the MFDR decision. Providing a copy of the MFDR decision satisfies the documentation requirements in § 141.1(d) of this title. A first responder’s request for a benefit review conference must be accelerated by the division and given priority in accordance with Labor Code § 504.055. The first responder must provide notice to the division that the contested case involves a first responder.

(2) If the medical fee dispute remains unresolved after a benefit review conference, the parties may request arbitration as provided in Labor Code, Chapter 410, Subchapter C and Chapter 144 of this title (relating to Dispute Resolution). If arbitration is not elected, the party may appeal the MFDR decision by requesting a contested case hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings. A first responder’s request for arbitration by the division or a contested case hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings must be accelerated by the division and given priority in accordance with Labor Code § 504.055. The first responder must provide notice to the division that the contested case involves a first responder.

(A) To request a contested case hearing before State Office of Administrative Hearings, a party shall file a written request for a State Office of Administrative Hearings hearing with the Division’s Chief Clerk of Proceedings not later than 20 days after conclusion of the benefit review conference in accordance with § 148.3 of this title (relating to Requesting a Hearing).

(B) The party seeking review of the MFDR decision shall deliver a copy of its written request for a hearing to all other parties involved in the dispute at the same time the request for hearing is filed with the division.

(3) A party to a medical fee dispute who has exhausted all administrative remedies may seek judicial review of the decision of the Administrative Law Judge at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. The division and the department are not considered to be parties to the medical dispute pursuant to Labor Code § 413.031(k-2) and § 413.0312(f). Judicial review under this paragraph shall be conducted in the manner provided for judicial review of contested cases under Chapter 2001, Subchapter G Government Code, except that in the case of a medical fee dispute the party seeking judicial review must file suit not later than the 45th day after the date on which the State Office of Administrative Hearings mailed the party the notification of the decision. The mailing date is considered to be the fifth day after the date the decision was issued by the State Office of Administrative Hearings. A party seeking judicial review of the decision of the administrative law judge shall at the time the petition for judicial review is filed with the district court file a copy of the petition with the division’s chief clerk of proceedings.

(h) Billing of the non-prevailing party. Except as otherwise provided by Labor Code § 413.0312, the non-prevailing party shall reimburse the division for the costs for services provided by the State Office of Administrative Hearings and any interest required by law.

(1) The non-prevailing party shall remit payment to the division not later than the 30th day after the date of receiving a bill or statement from the division.

(2) In the event of a dismissal, the party requesting the hearing, other than the injured employee, shall reimburse the division for the costs for services provided by the State Office of Administrative Hearings unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

(3) If the injured employee is the non-prevailing party, the insurance carrier shall reimburse the division for the costs for services provided by the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

The provisions of this §133.307 adopted to be effective December 31, 2006, 31 TexReg 10314; amended to be effective May 25, 2008, 33 TexReg 3954; amended to be effective May 31, 2012, 37 TexReg 3833.

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At a Glance:

Title:

§ 133.307. MDR of Fee Disputes

Title:

Title 28. Insurance

Status:

Current

Usage:

New Law Rule

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