Home > Medical Provider Network, Tactics and Strategy > Another Pro-Medical Provider Network Panel Decision

Another Pro-Medical Provider Network Panel Decision

California’s Medical Provider Network is regularly the subject of both applicant attorneys’ and lien claimants’ raids.  But, just as walls well guarded do not fall, the MPN still has some stiffness in it left.

The recent panel opinion of Breanna Clifton v. Sears Holding Corporation shows the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board’s resistance to applicant’s efforts to overwhelm the defense with burden after burden of proof.

Applicant self-procured treatment outside of defendant’s MPN, claiming she was entitled to temporary disability payments and reimbursement for treatment based on the opinion of this out-of-network chiropractor.

Defendant pointed out that the report was inadmissible and the claim for reimbursement barred in accordance with Valdez.  Applicant responded by claiming that defendant had not proven that the MPN was valid.

Defendant filed for reconsideration following the workers’ compensation judge’s award of everything under the sun to applicant.  In an act of moderation, the WCJ declined to order the executives of Sears Company to personally apologize to applicant in the form of a choreographed dance and song routine for daring to invoke a defense.  (Some day…)

Although the defense did not contest the finding of injury, it did object to the admission of the reports and the reimbursement for treatment expenses.

The panel held that “a defendant may satisfy its burden of proving it has a properly established and noticed MPN by asserting that it has an approved MPN and requesting judicial notice of the inclusion of its MPN in the list of approved MPNs on the [Administrative Director’s] Web site, and by offering unrebutted evidence that it provided the required notices.”

Lien claimants have threatened to demand I prove every element and procedural requirement necessary for a valid MPN – now, the AD’s website is all the proof any attorney needs.

But what do you do when the applicant claims the notices were never provided?  Or, perhaps, after X years with his or her employer, the applicant suddenly doesn’t understand English?  The injury, you see, limited the applicant to his or he native tongue.

This can happen, of course, and the deposition will likely tip you off.  But be prepared with affidavits, witnesses, etc. – perhaps even a note in the employment file that applicant also speaks another language, so that the Medical Provider Network administrator can provide notices in English and the other language as well.

In any case, the MPN is a great wall against bad reports and inflated billing – when applicants and lien claimants try to push it down, don’t be afraid to push back!

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