Rule Making Authority of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation
Nov. 15, 2021
An area of great concern for a lot of us lawyers who represent the injured worker is the Rulemaking authority of the Chief Judge of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
The State Board can only create a Rule (for instance regarding nurse case managers or the panel of doctors) that is within the law that guides the State Board. Increasingly, over the last 4 years, the Chief Judge would issue a Rule that would go beyond his authority. These Rules are extremely hard to fight.
The worst example is giving nurse case managers the right to a private meeting with the injured workers’ authorized treating physician. While the nurse must notify the worker’s lawyer of this meeting, how many lawyers can afford to drop everything and attend such a meeting? Not many. So, the nurse case manager meets privately with the doctor and my client has no clue what is spoken.
A possible solution: when a new Rule comes from the Chief Judge, any lawyer may file a Declaratory Judgement with the Superior Court to have a hearing to determine whether the Rule violates and/or goes beyond the law as set forth by the legislature. This would be a swift opportunity to prevent excessive rules that usually weigh against the injured worker. The Legislature could easily pass such a law.