Important Notice to Carriers & Self-insured Employers: This Notice supersedes the April 20, 2005 Notice and May 18, 2005 Notice (changes to be implemented...) :
The Commission has recently made changes to its docketing system in order to provide hearing notices as quickly as possible. After issues are filed, a hearing notice will be generated on the day that the case is put in line. Claims involving priority one and two issues ( #' 1-2-3-4-6-7-8-10-16 & 17) will be set beginning 45 days from the issue filing date; and cases involving priority three issues (# 5-9-11-12-13-14 & 15) will be set beginning 65 days from the issue filing date.
When a hearing notice is received, it is important for carriers and self-insured employers to apprise their attorney of this hearing date if the attorney's appearance has not yet been entered. In any event, upon entering his/her appearance, an attorney has the responsibility to check the Commission's file (via WFMS Online Services or telephone IVR) to see if a hearing date has been scheduled. The Commission has taken other steps to streamline the process so that attorneys have as much notice as possible of the case.
The continuance policy that was in effect under the previous docketing system will be modified as follows: Requests for a continuance within 20 days of the hearing date will only be approved under exigent circumstances. Requests for a continuance outside of 20 days of the hearing date will only be granted for just cause.
An exception to this general continuance policy involves priority 1 & 2 issues in which medical records have been requested by the Employer/Insurer (E/I). While the E/I is charged with the responsibility of requesting medical records in a timely fashion, the claimant is similarly charged with the responsibility of assisting the E/I may secure such records in a timely manner. That responsibility includes providing the E/I with a properly executed medical release for relevant medical records upon request. The Commission has provided an acceptable medical release on our Forms page: Authorization for Release of Medical Information, (WCC A25 4/28/04).
[Click here for the FORMS & INSTRUCTIONS page]
The E/I may continue to use the subpoena to gather relevant medical records, although a continuance may not be granted if the E/I fails to receive subpoenaed medical records prior to a scheduled hearing. Alternatively, the E/I may request the claimant to provide a medical release pursuant to the Code of Maryland Regulations 14.09.01.10 (C). In that case, if the claimant fails to, forthwith, provide the E/I with a medical release that had been requested in a timely manner, a request for continuance on the part of the E/I will be granted.
The Commission WILL continue to send out a "notice of issues filed" letter.