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Georgia’s Expedited Dispute Resolution

• Oct 19th, 2013

The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation has made it more convenient for attorneys to submit requests for workers’ comp coverage approval. The board has implemented a new policy for the “Expedited Resolution of Issues”. The policy provides claimant’s attorneys with the opportunity to schedule a conference call with an administrative law judge (ALJ). The purpose of this is discussing an issue that has been raised by the claimants attorney.

Issues of compensability, change of physician requests or issues which would require presentation of evidence will not be raised during these conference calls. This option is available if the need for a resolution arises on matters that have not been disputed. They must be able to be resolved within the scope of an evidentiary hearing. Some matters that could be resolved in this manner include, but not limited to, all matters pertaining problems obtaining authorization to treat with a panel of other authorization for diagnostic testing recommended by the authorized provider, unpaid medical bills, or accidental or improper suspension of benefits. This option is not available for change of physician requests or issues that may require evidentiary hearing.

If you are granted a conference call the board will order the call to be set for a specific time. If you do not participate the judge can consider the action a “willful refusal’ of a board order and may impose civil penalties. There are no specific guidelines for a specific period of notice before the call is to take place. You will be receiving an email notifying you as to when the call will be initiated.

There are basically three options available:

  1. Attempt to resolve the issue with the claimant’s counsel before the call.

  2. hire counsel to represent you during the conference call

  3. Conduct the conference call without the help of council. If you decide it appropriate to retain counsel, it is recommended you contact defense counsel and provide some background information in order to prepare your attorney to defend you.

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