Recently, a company representing a carrier contacted Boehm & Associates; the carrier sought to negotiate global resolution of outstanding lien claims in workers’ compensation cases and claims they administered.
Conceptually, we believe this fresh approach to a longstanding problem has merit and is worth a try. Although AOE/COE denied claims and other types of cases are ill-suited for this approach, there are many claims where compensable workers’ compensation liens for reasonable and necessary treatment in accepted claims (or claims that have closed by way of settlement) are simply ignored and left to accumulate interest and other potential penalties.
We suggest that the approach of global resolution could produce substantial savings in time and money, among other benefits such as:
- reducing related attorney fees associated with individually litigating each lien claim in each case,
- minimizing exposure to accumulated interest pursuant to Labor Code Section 4603.2(b), as well as other potential penalties,
- freeing employers’ reserves,
- eliminating minor “loose ends,” which prolong and add expense to claim administration, and
- expediting revenue to medical provider and health plan lien claimants.
The Board and ADR need not be the only venue for lien claim resolution. Boehm would be pleased to offer its offices in order for interested carriers and defendants to meet and discuss informal bulk resolution of lien claims (i.e. not formal lien consolidation at the WCAB). We would likewise be willing to meet at the offices of the claims administrators or attorneys at their convenience.
Boehm extends this suggestion and offer to the workers’ compensation community at large in an effort to expedite the recoveries of its clients while reducing the burdens imposed on the WCAB. Furthermore, we invite the beginning of a dialogue regarding this and other innovative solutions and recommendations to progressively reduce the burden of medical treatment lien claims on the system, and to realize genuine benefits for carriers, providers, and private health plans.