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High court adopts COA opinion in billing dispute

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Wednesday in a dispute over who bears the burden to prove "pecuniary liability" under the Worker's Compensation Act, and adopted the Indiana Court of Appeals' opinion on the matter.

Pursuant to Indiana Appellate Rule 58(A)(1), the high court adopted and incorporated the Court of Appeal's opinion in Washington Township Fire Department v. Beltway Surgery Center, No. 93S02-1002-EX-115, in which the appellate court held an employer, not a medical provider, bears the burden of proving whether the charges for medical services provided to an employee exceed the employee's liability to pay under the act.

Beltway Surgery Center provided medical services to a Washington Township Fire Department employee and then submitted a bill to the township's worker's compensation insurance carrier. After a review to determine Washington Township's pecuniary liability under the act, the insurer decided to only pay part of the bill. Beltway filed an application for adjustment of claim with the Worker's Compensation Board. The board ordered the township to pay the remaining balance and concluded the township has to prove its pecuniary liability to Beltway was less than Beltway's billed charges.

The COA upheld the board's decision and held that where an employer refuses to pay in full a medical provider's billed charges, and the provider files a claim with the Worker's Compensation Board and establishes the charges for services to an employee, it's up to the employer to prove the charges exceed the employer's liability under the act. The board may also require that an employer who doesn't meet this burden must pay the medical provider's full bill.

The Court of Appeals judges concluded that placing the burden of proof on the employer is more consistent with Indiana law generally and with the act itself. They also ruled it would be up to the General Assembly to amend state statute so that medical providers would have to bear the burden of establishing that their bills fall outside certain guidelines.

This is the same issue in five other cases pending before the Supreme Court. In a footnote in the opinion, the justices noted they denied transfer to the other five cases based on its adoption and agreement with the Court of Appeals' opinion in Beltway. Those other cases are Onward Fire Department v. Clarian Health Partners, No. 93A02-0811-EX-1007; Adecco, Inc. v. Clarian Health Partners, No. 93A02-0811-EX-1008; Morgan County Commissioners v. Clarian Health Partners, No. 93A02-0811-EX-1009; City of Michigan City v. Memorial Hospital, No. 93A02-0811-EX-1010; and Wayne Township Fire Department v. Beltway Surgery Center, No. 93A02-0811-EX-1011.

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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