Thursday, October 04, 2007

Colorado Medical Fee Schedule

I am providing a link below to the medical fee rule but must tell you that it is a long pdf (Adobe Acrobat) document. As of January 1. 2008 these will be the new fees chargable by physicians and other providers. From my perspective I watch the charges for meetings with doctors and testimony at a hearing. The current rate is that a doctor called to testify in a workers comp proceeding in Colorado can charge $400.00 an hour portal to portal. That means from the time he leaves his office until he returns so it includes travel and waiting around time. The new rate will be $450.00 an hour. So when an injured worker has to call a doctor to testify the expense will usually exceed $1200 and often reaches $2000.00 but it all depends on the time involved. Come January it will be a 12% higher expense. This expense is charged to the person calling the doctor. So you pay it if you call the doctor. Fortunately in many cases we can set aside some extra funds to help cover this but in the end it all is charged to the client. It is something to avoid if possible but at times it is necessary. If the attorney just meets with a doctor it is billed at $300 an hour. I realize the doctor has to charge. My concern is that I feel all this is caused by the insurer disputing something and burdening the claimant. It really should be part of the covered costs and paid by the insurer. This can raise insurance rates but it could equalize the legal fight since insurers often spend quite a bit to fight on medical issues. Especially with an unrepresented claimant they can overwhelm his resources to fairly fight. To have the insurer bring one or two doctors to a hearing and the claimant have nobody can mean an unfair advantage. I expect insurance people would strongly disagree with me as many seem to think an injured worker is costly enough but to me due process is important and I believe in a fair fight when there is a dispute. Justice should not be based on the size of your wallet. One last item mileage reimbursement for medical related travel by the claimant is going to .40 a mile.

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