California Labor Codes 4603.2 471

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§ Initial report by physician

(a) Upon selecting a physician pursuant to Section 4600,

the employee or physician shall forthwith notify the employer of the name and address of the physician. The physician shall submit a report to the employer within five working days from the date of the initial examination and shall submit periodic reports at intervals that may be prescribed by rules and regulations adopted by the administrative director. (b) Payment for medical treatment provided or authorized by the treating physician selected by the employee or designated by the employer shall be made by the employer within 60 days after receipt of each separate, itemized billing, together with any required reports and any written authorization for services that may have been received by the physician. If the billing or a portion thereof is contested, denied, or considered incomplete, the physician shall be notified, in writing, that the billing is contested, denied, or considered incomplete, within 30 working days after receipt of the billing by the employer. A notice that a billing is incomplete shall state all additional information required to make a decision. Any properly documented amount not paid within the 60-day period shall be increased by 10 percent, together with interest at the same rate as judgments in civil actions retroactive to the date of receipt of the bill, unless the employer does both of the following:

(1) Pays the uncontested amount within the 60-day period.

(2) Advises, in the manner prescribed by the administrative director, the physician, or another provider of the items being contested, the reasons for contesting these items, and the remedies available to the physician or the other provider if he or she disagrees. In the case of a bill which includes charges from a hospital, outpatient surgery center, or independent diagnostic facility, advice that a request has been made for an audit of the bill shall satisfy the requirements of this paragraph.

If an employer contests all or part of a billing, any amount determined payable by the appeals board shall carry interest from the date the amount was due until it is paid.

An employer's liability to a physician or another provider under this section for delayed payments shall not affect its liability to an employee under Section 5814 or any other provision of this division. (c) Any interest or increase in compensation paid by an insurer pursuant to this section shall be treated in the same manner as an increase in compensation under subdivision (d) of Section 4650 for the purposes of any classification of risks and premium rates, and any system of merit rating approved or issued pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 11730) of Chapter 3 of Part 3 of Division 2 of the Insurance Code. (d) (1) Whenever an employer or insurer employs an individual or contracts with an entity to conduct a review of a billing submitted by a physician or medical provider, the employer or insurer shall make available to that individual or entity all documentation submitted together with that billing by the physician or medical provider. When an individual or entity conducting a bill review determines that additional information or documentation is necessary to review the billing, the individual or entity shall contact the claims administrator or insurer to obtain the necessary information or documentation that was submitted by the physician or medical provider pursuant to subdivision (b).

(2) An individual or entity reviewing a bill submitted by a physician or medical provider shall not alter the procedure codes billed or recommend reduction of the amount of the bill unless the documentation submitted by the physician or medical provider with the bill has been reviewed by that individual or entity. If the reviewer does not recommend payment as billed by the physician or medical provider, the explanation of review shall provide the physician or medical provider with a specific explanation as to why the reviewer altered the procedure code or amount billed and the specific deficiency in the billing or documentation that caused the reviewer to conclude that the altered procedure code or amount recommended for payment more accurately represents the service performed.

(3) Unless the physician or medical provider has billed for extraordinary circumstances related to the unusual nature of the medical services rendered pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 5307.1, this subdivision shall not apply when a bill submitted by a physician or medical provider is reduced to the amount or amounts specified in the Official Medical Fee Schedule, preferred provider contract, or negotiated rate for the procedure codes billed. (4) The appeals board shall have jurisdiction over disputes arising out of this subdivision pursuant to Section 5304.History: Amended by Stats. 2001, C. 240 (AB 1179) ;Amended by Stats. 2000, C. 887 (SB 1732)