Proposed Changes to Maryland Workers’ Compensation Regulations are Back
Included in the Maryland Register dated September 9, 2011 is a proposed change to amend regulations .01 an .19 under COMAR 14.09.01 governing workers’ compensation settlements. As you will recall, similar changes were proposed in 2010 through emergency regs that were extended once then finally expired. The State legislature did not take action on the proposed changes, likely because they attempted to mandate under state law participation in the voluntary federal WCMSA review program for which there is no appeal of the determinations made by CMS. Well it appears that this time around they’ve lessened the all or nothing requirement and achieved a much more reasonable standard. You must still state how Medicare’s interests were handled and clearly identify what portion of the settlement was allocated to future medical expenses. However, the most notable change is section .19(B)(5) which essentially permits the parties to the settlement to forego CMS approval, even when available, so long as they acknowledge that availability, election and awareness of the ramifications. I believe the Maryland workers’ compensation community will be able to live with this version.
The Notice of Proposed Action is available at: http://www.dsd.state.md.us/MDRegister/3819/Assembled.htm#_Toc303081772. Public comment period runs through 10/11/11. As always, MEDVAL thanks Frank Lipshultz for keeping us apprised of the progress on this issue. He is a valuable resource for the Maryland workers’ compensation community.